In the world of business, time is a valuable commodity. Processes that can save time, minimise errors, and boost productivity are worth pursuing. According to the Research and Market Report, the global market for Business Process Management (BPM) is estimated at US$13.2 Billion in 2022. Based on the report, the market is projected to reach a revised size of US$31.2 Billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 11.3% from 2022 to 2030. The pressure of many organisations to enhance efficiency, reduce expenses, and increase profits has resulted in the growing demand for automation and optimisation of business processes across various industries. This rising demand for process automation will increase BPM during the forecast period.


Business efficiency is crucial for any organisation’s success as it directly impacts profitability, and one of the most effective methods for achieving business efficiency is business process optimisation. Business Process Optimisation (BPO) is an element of business process management, defined as optimising existing processes to make them more efficient, leading to more productive and cost-effective methods. It involves fine-tuning strategies or procedures to boost productivity and reduce costs. BPO is therefore regarded as a valuable practice for any business to improve its efficiency and reduce costs.


Steps of Business Process Optimisation



1. Identify/ Map Out the Processes that Need Optimisation

The first step in the Business Process optimisation journey involves a meticulous examination and mapping out the existing processes within the organisational framework. This exhaustive process is indispensable for discerning the nuances of each operation, identifying areas that impede organisational efficacy, and determining the requisite improvements. The mapping will unveil the structural details of the existing processes and also serve as a visual aid in decoding the interplay between different workflow components. This holistic understanding becomes the foundation for recognising inefficiencies, redundancies, and potential bottlenecks hindering the organisation’s optimal functionality.


Furthermore, empirical studies on process optimisation stress the importance of employee involvement in this phase. Research published in the Harvard Business Review indicates that organisations that actively engage employees in process improvement initiatives experience a 30% higher success rate. Therefore, collaborative efforts should be employed during the mapping process, harnessing the insights and perspectives of employees involved in the day-to-day operations to align with industry best practices. Simultaneously, analysing key metrics such as cycle time, error rates, and customer feedback adds quantitative depth to the qualitative observations.


In essence, this initial step transcends mere identification; it lays the groundwork for a comprehensive exploration into the intricacies of operational processes, anchoring insights in empirical evidence and industry best practices. This evidence-based approach ensures a targeted and effective optimisation journey and aligns with the evolving landscape of business process management.


2. Reconsider the Identified Processes

Following the comprehensive identification and mapping of processes needing optimisation, the second step delves into a strategic reconsideration of these identified processes. This pivotal phase represents a nuanced examination beyond surface-level assessments, fostering a deeper understanding of the intricate interplay between organisational workflows.


As organisations navigate this stage, they often uncover additional layers of complexity and opportunities for streamlining. According to a survey by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), 72% of high-performance organisations actively seek continuous process reconsideration to identify and eliminate inefficiencies. This data underscores the ongoing nature of process optimisation and its integral role in sustaining high-performance levels.


Strategically rethinking identified processes also opens avenues for resource optimisation. Research published in the Journal of Operations Management suggests that organisations can achieve a 20% reduction in operational costs through strategic process redesign. This financial incentive is a compelling motivator for businesses to critically evaluate existing workflows, seeking innovative solutions to enhance efficiency while minimising resource expenditure. Technology integration also emerges as a key consideration during this phase.


In addition, fostering a culture of creative problem-solving becomes paramount during this phase. Research in the Journal of Business Research highlights that organisations encouraging a culture of innovation and experimentation are more likely to uncover novel solutions during process reconsideration. This aligns with the notion that this second step is not merely a validation of the status quo but exploring alternative pathways for achieving operational excellence.


The strategic reconsideration of identified processes is a crucial juncture informed by empirical evidence and industry insights. Leveraging data-driven decision-making, embracing technology, and fostering a culture of innovation contribute to enhancing organisational efficiency and competitiveness.


3. Analyse and Redesign the New Processes

As organisations progress from the strategic reconsideration phase, the third step involves a meticulous analysis and redesign of the identified processes. This transformative stage is marked by a purposeful shift from the existing state to a carefully envisioned future, guided by empirical insights and industry best practices.


The redesign phase extends beyond merely restructuring processes; it is an orchestrated effort to instil innovation and efficiency. Studies in the International Journal of Business Process Integration and Management stress the need for organisations to foster a culture of continuous improvement during this phase. This cultural shift ensures that the redesigned processes are not static but adaptive to evolving organisational needs.


The selection of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is a critical aspect of this step, serving as a compass for measuring the impact of modifications. Studies in the Journal of Operations Management emphasise the need for organisations to align KPIs with strategic objectives to gauge the success of process redesign initiatives accurately. This strategic alignment ensures that the chosen indicators reflect the broader organisational goals and objectives.


Testing the redesigned processes before full-scale implementation is a best practice advocated by research in the Journal of Business Process Management. Organisations that rigorously test new processes witness a 25-35% reduction in error rates during the initial stages of implementation. This highlights the proactive nature of this phase, allowing organisations to identify and rectify potential issues before widespread integration.


In essence, the analysis and redesign of new processes represent a precision-driven approach informed by empirical evidence. The strategic selection of KPIs, rigorous testing methodologies, and technology integration enhance operational efficiency and position the organisation for sustained success.


4. Implementation

This step involves the practical application of the revised processes in a concerted effort to enhance overall efficiency and productivity within the organisation. The implementation process demands a strategic and well-coordinated approach to ensure a seamless transition from the existing to the improved workflows. As the new or modified processes are set into motion, a vigilant eye is kept on their execution, focusing on collecting real-time data and feedback. This granular scrutiny allows the organisation to gauge the immediate impact of the changes and make necessary adjustments on the fly. The implementation phase serves as a real-world litmus test for the effectiveness of the optimised processes. It is imperative to foster a culture of adaptability among employees, ensuring they are equipped with the necessary training and resources to navigate the changes seamlessly.


Additionally, the implementation stage acts as a critical juncture for garnering insights into the practicality and effectiveness of the improvements made. This iterative refinement process involves fine-tuning the processes based on ongoing observations, stakeholder feedback, and key performance indicators (KPIs). Organisations may need to recalibrate aspects of the newly implemented processes to align them more closely with the desired objectives and overarching goals.


As the organisation advances through the implementation phase, it gains valuable experiential knowledge to inform future optimisation endeavours. This holistic approach to implementation ensures the successful integration of enhanced processes and lays the foundation for a culture of continuous improvement within the organisational framework. By fostering adaptability, monitoring performance metrics, and promptly addressing challenges, the implementation phase becomes a dynamic and transformative stage in the broader landscape of business process optimisation.


5. Automation

As organisations continue on the Business Process Optimisation journey, the fifth step, Automation, is a pivotal phase characterised by the strategic infusion of technological advancements to propel streamlined operations.


Research from the British Journal of Management underscores the integral role of automation in the optimisation journey, revealing that organisations embracing automation witness, on average, a 30% reduction in operational costs. This financial efficiency, coupled with the tangible benefits of improved accuracy and decreased reliance on manual labour, positions automation as a cornerstone for enhanced organisational performance. A notable area of focus within automation lies in managing repetitive and time-consuming tasks. This not only enhances data accuracy but also mitigates the potential risks associated with manual data handling.


Additionally, implementing automated workflows holds the promise of heightened employee satisfaction. This empowers employees to focus on high-level tasks and creates a more fulfilling and productive work environment.


The holistic impact of automation extends beyond mere operational efficiency; it fosters an environment conducive to innovation. A study in the International Journal of Information Management suggests that organisations automating routine tasks have a 15-20% higher capacity for innovation. This underscores the liberating effect of automation, allowing employees to redirect their focus towards strategic thinking and creative problem-solving.


The Automation phase represents a strategic and data-backed technology integration, offering tangible benefits in cost reduction, error mitigation, and employee satisfaction. As organisations increasingly embrace automation, they position themselves for operational excellence and a continual innovation and adaptability culture.


6. Monitor the New Processes

Process optimisation is a continuous process. As the optimisation journey progresses, the sixth step, Monitoring the New Processes, is paramount in ensuring sustained operational excellence through continuous vigilance and refinement.


Continuous monitoring is key in fostering a culture of adaptability and innovation within organisations. Insights from the Journal of Organisational Change Management suggest that companies with robust monitoring mechanisms exhibit a 20% higher capacity to adapt to dynamic market conditions. This adaptability is crucial for organisations aiming to stay responsive and competitive in an ever-evolving business landscape.


Feedback loops, established during the monitoring phase, play a pivotal role in gauging the success of optimised processes. Studies from the Journal of Business Process Management Strategies indicate that organisations actively seeking and implementing feedback experience a 15-20% improvement in customer satisfaction. Customer-centric improvements, informed by feedback, are instrumental in enhancing overall stakeholder satisfaction and loyalty.


Furthermore, the monitoring phase is not solely retrospective but also prospective in nature. A study in the British Journal of Industrial Relations highlights that organisations proactively using predictive analytics during the monitoring phase achieve a 15-25% reduction in potential future bottlenecks. This forward-looking approach enables organisations to pre-emptively address emerging challenges, contributing to a smoother and more resilient operational framework.


In conclusion, integrating continuous monitoring and feedback mechanisms positions organisations for sustained success by adapting to changing conditions, improving customer satisfaction, and enhancing overall productivity.


Benefits of Business Process Optimisation


1. Improved Efficiency and Time Saving

The most significant benefit of business process optimisation is how it can improve the efficiency of business operations. By automating selected tasks and streamlining other processes, business process optimisation allows employees of an organisation to work more efficiently and focus more on tasks that will improve the organisation. Business process optimisation prevents inefficient processes from consuming budgets and vital resources while minimising the waste of resources, time, and materials. Streamlining business processes empowers employees to complete their tasks faster, and their output yields stronger results. Streamlining processes removes obstacles and eliminates repetitive and time-consuming tasks, providing more time to focus on important tasks and leading to a more efficient workflow.


One exemplary case of business process optimisation in action can be found in the story of Adidas, the renowned German sportswear giant. A few years back, Adidas recognised the pressing need to overhaul its traditional shoe manufacturing process, which had become increasingly inefficient. This realisation prompted the company’s top executives to embark on a journey to explore innovative technologies that could make their production processes more agile and responsive to the demands of athletes worldwide. The conventional method of crafting a single shoe could take up to 60 days, with a significant portion of the work done manually. Furthermore, the logistical challenges added another 60 days to the timeline for shipping the finished products from manufacturing centres in Asia to retail stores in the US and Europe.


Adidas’s solution to this challenge came in the form of the groundbreaking “Speedfactory” concept. Nestled in Ansbach, Germany, the Speedfactory represents a paradigm shift in athletic footwear production. Robots have taken centre stage, shouldering the bulk of the manufacturing tasks. This innovative approach has dramatically reduced production timelines, allowing Adidas to transform the process from taking months to as little as 45 days, including design and production phases. By implementing this transformation, Adidas has shortened the design-to-production timeline from a staggering 12-18 months to less than two months. The Speedfactory has proven to be a game-changer not only for Adidas but also for the fast-paced fashion and sports industries as a whole.


2. Greater Adaptability/ Agility

In today’s dynamic business environment, organisations must have the ability to implement changes effectively and stay ahead of the competition. Agility is now more important than ever before. To achieve this, organisations need to be flexible and adapt quickly. One effective way to do this is by optimising business processes, which helps identify potential opportunities and challenges. This enables organisations to take prompt action and be in the lead, allowing them to react quickly to market conditions, unforeseen setbacks, or innovative breakthroughs.


3. Improved Quality Results

The benefit of improving business processes through optimisation also includes enhancing the quality of the business workflow. The primary objective is to achieve better outcomes for the organisation. Optimised business processes ensure improved results and higher-quality customer service by addressing key internal issues. This strengthens the organisation’s reputation and helps retain existing clients and attract new ones. Simplifying business operations is crucial to increasing employee productivity and customer satisfaction, leading to higher profits. Organisations can reduce operating costs and improve profit margins by ensuring consistent and efficient internal processes.


4. Performance Monitoring and Accountability

Improved performance is achieved through monitoring. Business process optimisation facilitates the sharing and tracking of information across departments, allowing the business team to easily monitor and demonstrate accountability for their performance. Reporting and monitoring tools aid organisations in identifying potential hindrances, including strategic weaknesses, human error, and fraud, that may impede the organisation’s progress.


5. Cost Reduction

Organisations can improve efficiency by streamlining their processes. This enables them to identify areas that need improvement or elimination, such as errors, wastage of resources, or productivity bottlenecks. These improvements can lead to reduced expenses while still achieving better results. By optimising a critical process in an organisation’s workflow, they can save money and remain within their budget. Successful implementation of optimisation methods can lead to increased revenue and financial gains.


Organisations must optimise and automate their business processes to improve efficiency, increase productivity, and remain competitive. This can be achieved by creating a streamlined workflow, which enhances agility and provides a better working environment for employees or teams.


At pcl., we understand the advantages organisations can gain from optimising their business processes. Our team of experts, well-versed in various business process optimisation methods, stands ready to apply these insights to refine your business’s current processes and procedures. By aligning them with industry best practices, we not only enhance your business efficiency but also substantially decrease costs, ensuring a sustainable and competitive business model for the future.


Written by:

Mercy Akindele