What is BPO? (Business Process Outsourcing)

Speaking of BPO in Japan, many people would imagine 'Customer-facing' and 'Orders management'. Words of
  • 'Customer-facing'->"Call center"
  • 'Orders management'=>"Fulfillment"

might be familiar for a business person who works in the BPO industry. Alone, each of these segments are growing up market size in about 3-5 billion US dollar.

However, I think these numbers a still small in comparison with the Economy-size of Japan. Plainly speaking, I think the numbers representing the reality that 'Japanese companies are reluctant to outsource'. In other words, outsourcer is always anxious against outsourcee, worrying about
  • Are they sure to treat gift-wrapping options?
  • How far did they process the order of 100, now?, etc..

The following is a Workflow of 'Pick, Pack and Ship' which would be outsourced from a mail-order company to logistic company. The mail-order company will put the shipping address data and Goods information data into the flow. In accordance with these shipping instructions, Pic, Pack and Ship will be performed in the logistic company. By the way, the operations of 'Order reception from consumer' and 'Billing to customer' are not outsourced in this example.

[Pick, Pack and Ship flow]

Although it's obvious if you look at the process diagram, the jobs that have been entrusted to the logistics company are "(4) Packing" and "(5) X-ray inspection". That is a split that, when packing apparel products, shoes and bags, etc., packing-boxes will be the subjects for X-ray examination after packing, and then put a sticker of "X-ray inspected' on them.

The job for the personnel in charge in the logistic company only checks the Packing task (Inspection task) one by one, and clicking on the 'Finish' button at its completion. The authorized workers in mail-order company and logistic company will be able to understand
  • who when performed "(4) Packing"
  • who when performed "(5) X-ray inspection", in real time.
In addition, there are some more ideas besides this such as "Automatic sending of payment completion mail", "Automatic generation of invoice", "Automatic sending of shipping completion mail", etc.. I guess there are possibilities of improvement from on-site point of view, such as who to be sent or the order of sending... Moreover, there may be more different room for improvement such as Intentional retention on the timer when 'the Specified delivery date' was optioned at the order reception or, automate until printing out of the invoices. In any case, we should actively discuss about "the optimal Business Processes" to every outsourcing contract, even after running it.

P.s.: Well, thinking in the standpoint of a logistic company which is an outsourcee, I want to put the requests from more than one mail-order companies into this workflow, naturally. However, there are likely to come out "Problem" on the data viewing authority... <a href="#">To be continued</a>

[Pick, Pack and Ship flow:'1. Enter Shipping instruction' screen]

[Data Items List]

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[Japanese Entry (ε’Œζ–‡θ¨˜δΊ‹)]
What is BPO? (Business Process Outsourcing)

It is, basically, 'to outsource' the so-called indirect business. Or, in some business conversation, it often refers to "a contracting service in response to the commission". Anyway, the company entrusts the duties such as general affairs, human resources, accounting and welfare and telephone correspondence to the trustee. These outsourced duties are essential, even though they do not produce any profit directly.

BPO in Japan, there are three major businesses which are "Customer service" "Order Management", and "ICT systems management".

The following workflow is "antivirus operations" which is the most costly in the "ICT systems management". Most notably point is that it admits use of personal belongings as an information terminal device, in order to ensure the convenience of employees. These are cases of companies in the so-called "BYOD" (Bring Your Own Device) framework, that are judged to be conducive to business improvement (quality / delivery / cost) in the core business even in light of the information leakage risk.

(However, "anytime email confirmation" has been realized in many companies nowadays. In that sense, I probably should not note it as "special mention".)

In this outsourcing operation, it has been devised to reduce the overall cost by the cooperation of commissioning side and the trustee side. To be specific, each user him/herself to actively report "security status" of the devices which have been registered in advance. For example, users can attach a screen capture of virus scan history, or describe the inconvenience and worries on the utilization. On the Trustee side, as well as checking the overview report of all employees, they would perform investigation and correspondence individually, if necessary. Really, it's sophisticated.

[Device Security Report flow]

The specific Business flow starts by 'certain movement' of human limbs...
  • When the Commander raises his hand for Advance, then report to the Headquarters...
  • When a bank clerk is holding up her hands and froze, then the Security system...
  • When a taxi driver makes an abrupt steering, then auto-detection report to the accident response team...

Well, in the first place, there aren't so many operations, which being started by 'Human behavior'. (I wonder why, dangerous scenes only come up when I try to think up some examples...) However, if 'Wearable sensors' become inexpensive, utilization methods as 'simple input device' will be considered.

For example, Moff Band, which is sold as a toy in about 50 USD, is an 'Input device'.

Using this product, even the people who are working on a job that impossible to type keyboards or tap the Smartphone would be able to send signals to IT system. Or, conversely, IT system would be able to detect an event that is difficult for automatic detection. I'm sorry for my 'odd delusion', but I have figured out some solutions for some operations.
  • A cashier in a supermarket slightly taps the floor with her foot when she felt congested. And then the Manager makes the instruction according to the situation.
  • When a hospitalized patient moves from the bed, a notification is sent to the nurse, and then the nurse will report it to the attending physician.

The following is a Business Process example, that to receive notification from the 'Motion sensor' (via Smartphone app), and to Start an Operation triggered by the notification. Of course, a variety of applications can be considered in the downstream process.

[Sensor Start Operation]
Isn't there any 'Fraud' in the reimbursement flow?

For sure, internal control which involves other sections is important, such as 'Job rotation' or 'strengthen the Auditing system'. However, fundamentally 'to steadily continue improving own operations on a daily basis' is the only thing that would raise the existence value of own.

In this article, I would like to consider how to lower the risk occurrence by the workers themselves.

First of all, 'activities to lower the risk occurrence' begins with 'activity of assuming the risks'. Let's make a list of 'Fraud' that could occur in reimbursement.

[Create] Insertion of Incorrect Data
  • Creating fictitious receipts in the computer!
  • Asking for making fake receipts to a familiar store!
  • Resale or return and refund, after actually paid out-of-pocket!!

[Update] Overwriting with Incorrect Data
  • Modifying the handwritten Price part of the receipt!
  • Miscalculation in summing plural receipts!
  • Entering larger amount than the price on the receipt into application data!!

[Delete] Deletion of Correct Data
  • Forgetting to make a request!
  • Missing the receipts in Accounting!
  • Boss covering-up his man's request deliberately!!

In fact, as you can feel it if you tried in "familiar workflow" such as Reimbursement Request practically, "assumption of risks" itself is not so difficult. For the people who are involved in the Business flow on the daily basis, it will be easy to list five ten risks.

Whereas, the bar will be raised when it comes to ""Controlling the Risks". (Basically, there is no choice but to diligently learning in the designing examples of Business process.)

The following Workflow is plotted Risk reduction by mutual restraint. The first major ingenuity is 'Requesting on the occurrence'. It will be checked while the memories of persons concerned are new because reimbursement requests are to be made on occurrence of payment made on behalf each time, rather than batch request at the end of the month. Another ingenuity is 'Scan & Save'. It will allow more people who concern to check concurrently, because the digital images of receipts which are paper evidence have been attached.

[Reimbursement Request for Out-of-pocket Expense]