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Identifying The Business Processes of Company A, Assessing & Enhancing Them Via Workforce Synergy
This proposal is to investigate the current problems faced by Company A in terms of its business processes. Company A has 44 employees ; 18 full time and 26 part-timers and its primary area of business is on ICT networking. Among others, Company A provides consultation on ICT network and at the same time, if so needed, also does the actual implementation of the networking end at the physical level. In many cases, Company A also supplies the hardware and software component of the entire network. In some cases, Company A has to work in partnership with one or more entities to complete an assignment within the (clients ¡¦) stipulated time-frames and on a cost-effective measure.
While Company A has been progressing on a gradual scale in terms of securing profitable businesses, the main issues at hand would include shortage of competent workers who are willing to be employed on a lower rate, coordination between the accounts and purchasing unit, coordination between the ground workers and project manager, variation within the price / fee structure among different customers/clients, issues related to customer/clients satisfaction, after-service follow-up and its measurements.
A business process is a recipe for achieving a commercial result. Each business process has inputs, method and outputs. The inputs are a pre-requisite that must be in place before the method can be put into practice. When the method is applied to the inputs, then certain outputs will be created. A business process is a collection of related structural activities that produce something of value to the organization, its stake holders or its customers. It is, for example, the process through which an organization realizes its services to its customers. A business process can be part of a larger, encompassing process and can include other business processes that have to be included in its method. In that context a business process can be viewed at various levels of granularity. The linkage of business process with value generation leads some practitioners to view business processes as the workflows which realize an organization's use cases.
Business processes can be thought of as a cookbook for running a business and reaching business goals defined in organization's business strategy. There are three types of business processes:
X Management processes - the processes to run the operation, and comply to all relevant requirements. Typical management processes include "Corporate Governance" and "Strategic Management";
X Operational processes - these processes deliver the customer value, they are part of the core business. For example: "Deliver goods";
X Supporting processes - these support the core processes. Examples include "Accounting", "Recruitment", "IT support".
Business process consists of subprocesses, decisions and activities. Subprocess is a part of higher level process which has its own goal, owner, inputs and outputs. Activities are parts of the business process that do not include any decision making and thus are not worth decomposing (although decomposition would be possible), such as "Answer the phone", "produce an invoice".
A business process is usually the result of a business process design1 or business process reengineering activity. Business process modeling is used to capture, document and reengineer business processes. To visualize a business process, one of the graphical notations can be used such as Business Process Modeling Notation.
The term Business Process (BP) refers to activities performed by businesses to optimize and adapt their processes. Although it can be said that organizations have always been using BP, a new impetus based on the advent of software tools (business process management systems or BPMS) which allow for the direct execution of the business processes without a costly and time intensive development of the required software. In addition, these tools can also monitor the execution of the business processes, providing managers of an organization with the means to analyze their performance and make changes to the original processes in real-time. Using a BPMS the modified process can then be merged into the current business process atmosphere.
Where Business Process Reengineering (popular in the 1990s) dealt with one-off changes to the organization, Business Process Management deals with the continuity and embedding of process orientation in the organization. Business Process Management has evolved as technology has caught up with management processes to the point that technology should no longer be the limiting factor in BPM.
Business Process Management encompasses other process elements, such as Total Quality Management (TQM), Six Sigma, Performance Management, etc.. The activities which constitute business process management can be grouped into three categories: design, execution and monitoring.
Process design encompasses either the design or capture of existing processes. In addition the processes may be simulated in order to test them. The software support for these activities consists of graphical editors to document the processes and repositories to store the process models. An emphasis on getting the design of the process right will logically lead to better results as the flow on effect of problems at the design stage logically affects a large number of parts in an integrated system.
Evolution of business processes requires a change to the process design to flow on into the live system. Integrating business process is also a current research area. Integration of software for process design to be used both for creating graphical representations of workflows and implementing and maintaining these workflows makes evolution of business processes less stressful, given that requirements are not as static as information systems.
Process execution is a traditional way to achieve the automatic execution of processes is that an application is developed or purchased which executes the steps required. However, in practice, these applications only execute a portion of the overall process. Execution of a complete business process can also be achieved by using a patchwork of interfacing software with human intervention needed where applications are not able to automatically interface. In addition, certain process steps can only be accomplished with human intervention (for example, deciding on a major credit application). Due to the complexity that this approach engenders, changing a process is costly and an overview of the processes and their state is difficult to obtain.
Process monitoring, on the other hand, encompasses the tracking of individual process so that information on their state can be easily seen and the provision of statistics on the performance of one or more processes. An example of the tracking is being able to determine the state of a customer order (e.g. ordered arrived, awaiting delivery, invoice paid) so that problems in its operation can be identified and corrected. In addition, this information can be used to work with customers and suppliers to improve their connected processes. Examples of the statistics are the generation of measures on how quickly a customer order is processed, how many orders were processed in the last month etc.. These measures tend to fit into three categories: cycle time, defect rate and productivity.
More advanced forms are in supporting the complex interaction between human workers in performing a workgroup task. In the latter case an emerging class of BPM software known as the Human Interaction Management System is used to support and monitor these processes as well as to permit their ongoing redefinition at runtime.
BPMS can be used to understand organizations through expanded views that would not otherwise be available to organise and present4. These views include the relationships of processes to each other which, when included in the process model, provide for advanced reporting and analysis that would not otherwise be available. BPM is regarded to be the crucial backbone of enterprise content management.
It is often argued that business processes are subjected to the nature of business. Business processes are also often associated with a company¡¦s business values, principles and strategic orientation. Noting all this, how relevant or crucial is it for Company A to have a standard business process or a unique process which can generate growth? How important it is for all the employees (regardless of their employment status) to hold on to a set of business principles / values? What are the crucial elements needed to strengthen the coordination and internal communication between the employees which then can be actually translated into net profit?
Those are among the problems statements which the researcher would use as guideline to navigate this entire research process.
The main objective of this project is to identify and implement a best business process for Company A.
The sub-objectives of this project is :-
X To understand the problems faced by the employees in terms of work coordination and implementation
X To measure the skills, knowledge and attitude of employees towards a professional work environment and professional business processes
X To understand the impact of existing business processes on customer satisfaction and customer retention
X To identify the best practice or model of good practices
X To present 5 main suggestions which are directly business / management subject related
The researcher will design a questionnaire based on secondary input and, on an increasing fashion, will fine tune the questionnaire to be as friendly and effective to gauge the issues related to:-
X Standard Business Processes
X Unique Business Processes
X Internal Communication (of Company A)
X Distorting Factors (in terms of actual implementation of service)
X Ways to Increase Productivity
X Ways to strengthen the current process
X Ways to inculcate ownership & responsibility
X Element of Innovation & Creativity
X Open Questions to collect subjective ¡¥issues¡¦ related to the problems faced by the employees
The researcher will brief the respondents on the significance of the study and explain the right way of participating in the research exercise so as to avoid confusion and redundancy in terms of comprehension, answers and data collection process. The researcher will go through the questionnaire ¡V every single questions ¡V will ensure confidentiality of the respondents are respected and protected.
The respondents for this project will consist of 49 people (2 Managing Directors + 3 Shareholders + 44 employees).
Data Input & Analysis
Based on the data gathered, one scientific (quantitative) analysis will be done using SPSS (statistical software) to quantify the issues highlighted as per the objectives of this study. The analysis will, once again, be orientated towards answering the questions and objectives of this project.
Conclusions & Recommendations
Based on the findings and analysis, this project will identify the main issues faced by Company A in the context of its existing processes ; and will systematically recommend a plan of action to reduce the discrepancies and at the same time design a better system of business process for Company A with all the possible ¡¥counter-mechanisms¡¦ should the system go wrong. At this point of the proposal, the researcher anticipates certain areas of concern / suggestions which would be duly within the domain of or overlapping issues related to :-
X Process improvement
X Business reengineering6
X process management
X theory of constraints
X Six Sigma3
X ISO 9000
1. Adair, Charlene B. and Bruce A. Murray. Breakthrough process redesign: new pathways to customer value.
2. Bashein, Barbara J., M. Lynne Markus and Patricia Riley. Business reengineering: preconditions for BPR success and how to prevent failure. Information Systems Management 11(1994).
3. Behara, Ravi S., Gwen F. Fontenot and Alicia Gresham. Customer satisfaction measurement and analysis using six sigma. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management 12, no.3 (1995): 9-18
4. Belmiro, T. R., P. D. Gardiner and J. E. L. Simmons. Business process re-engineering - a discredited vocabulary? International Journal of Information Management 17, no.1 (1997): 21-33
5. Bemowski, Karen. Motorola's fountain of youth. Quality Progress 28, no.10 (October 1995): 29-31
6. Business Process Reengineering assessment guide. Washington: General Accounting Office, 1997.
7. Business resources. Accessible at http://lib-www.lanl.gov/infores/bus/bus.htm.
8. Caudle, Sharon L. Reengineering for results: keys to success from government experience. Washington: National Academy of Public Administration, 1994. http://www.dtic.dla.mil/c3i/bprcd/3002.htm).
9. Clark, Charles E., Nancy C. Cavanaugh, Carol V. Brown and V. Sambamuthry. Building a change-ready IS organization at Bell Atlantic. 1996
10. Collins, James C. and Jerry I. Porras. Building your company's vision. Harvard Business Review (September-October 1996)
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