Episode 521: What is Automation of Business Process (Part 4)

Monday, February 6, 2017
In the last three articles of

I mentioned the difference and respective implementation method of
  • A) Automatically advance to the "next Step" in the Business Process
  • B) Make "certain Step" within a Business Processes to be processed unattended
regarding automation within a "Business Process".

In this (final) article, I am going to organize about the automation between Business Processes.

Connection between Business Processes

Positions of Business Processes

Until now, we discussed focusing on "individual Business Processes" such as "Estimate Approval process" and "Order Receipt process". However, in order to promote automation (improvement of productivity) in the company-wide, we must consider about "connectivity between Business Processes".

On such a stage, it is a shortcut for improvement discussion that enumerating the internal "Business Processes" as much as possible in advance.

That is, the overall viewing would reveal the position and dependency of each Business Process, and the way it should be of the "inputs" and "outputs" of each Business Process would become clear. Along with, it would also clarify the operation method and direction of improvement that the responsible person (Process Owner) of the Business Process should aim for.

Enumerating Business Processes

So, what kind of "Business Processes" are there inside the company?

It goes without saying that it varies greatly depending on the business contents and organization size. At the same time, you should suppose that there is no one who can grasp all the business details in the company. In other words, regardless of who is in charge of "enumerating Business Processes", on-site hearings in certain extent will be required.

And when enumerating the survey results, it is important to enumerate by categories so as to make it easy to see the whole.

As a methodology in practice, it is necessary to map in-house Business Processes utilizing the cost categorization upon calculating the profit and loss of the compan such as "manufacturing cost", "selling expenses" and "general administrative expenses", in addition to the Process classification method of the research institution.

[APQC Process Classification Framework]
  1. Develop Vision and Strategy
  2. Develop and Manage Products and Services
  3. Market and Sell Products and Services
  4. Deliver Products and Services
  5. Manage Customer Service
  6. Develop and Manage Human Capital
  7. Manage Information Technology
  8. Manage Financial Resources
  9. Acquire, Construct, and Manage Assets
  10. Manage Enterprise Risk, Compliance, and Resiliency
  11. Manage External Relationships
  12. Develop and Manage Business Capabilities

[Quote Creation and Approval-Order Report launcher]

[Order Report-Launched by Quote flow]

Organizing Data Items to connect

When the enumeration of Business Processes is completed, it can be seen that there are strong continuity in the two Business Processes, for example, "Quotation approval process" and "Order report process". (Of course, if it is a relation between quote and order receipt, it is obvious before enumeration...)

In such a case, you should consider automatic passing over Issue data from "Quote approval process" to "Order receipt process". In other words, it is possible to save time and labor of inputting data by making the system that an Issue which became "ordered" in the "Quote approval process" to start flowing to the "Order reporting process" automatically.

In addition, for the data items to be inherited, it is a good idea to select the data required for the work in the perspective looking from the subsequent process (child process) toward the previous process (parent process).

(Of course, there are cases where want necessary data for a child process "to be acquired at Steps within the parent process".)

Specific connection setting example

In this example, the "Throwing Message Event" is placed at the end of the Quote Creation and Approval process, and the content to be connected to the "Message Start Event" at the head of the Order Report process is set.

And it has been set the following five data to be passed over.
  • "Customer Company name" in Quote Creation and Approval-Order Report launcher as "Company name" in Order Report-Launched by Quote flow
  • "Name of Customer's Representative and Department" in Quote Creation and Approval-Order Report launcher as "Name of representative and Department" in Order Report-Launched by Quote flow
  • "Person in charge of Quotation" in Quote Creation and Approval-Order Report launcher as "Sales staff in charge" in Order Report-Launched by Quote flow
  • "Details Table" in Quote Creation and Approval-Order Report launcher as "Table of details" in Order Report-Launched by Quote flow
  • "Process ID" in Quote Creation and Approval-Order Report launcher as "Remarks" in Order Report-Launched by Quote flow

<Throwing Message Event setting screen>

About the size of Business Processes

"Why don't you put it together into one?"

Certainly, if you define it as a "long Business Process", you do not need to connect between Business Processes. In this example, you can combine the "Quote Creation and Approval" and the "Order Report" into the "Quotation submission and Order reporting process".

However, there are some problems with this "long Business Process".
  • The scope of responsibility of the responsible person (process owner) is widened.
  • The number of concerning person increases and it takes time to form consensus on improvement change.
  • Time and labor for testing operation increases.
  • The number of data items increases, making it difficult to aggregate.
  • The number of administrators to control error Issues increases, responsibility becomes obscure.

In other words, if day-to-day Process improvement is expected for the responsible person (process owner), it can be said that it is necessary to classify the Business Processes in small units to some extent.

Significance of automation of Business Process

Joseph Schumpeter, an economist, said there is five types of "Innovation".
  1. The introduction of a new good
  2. The introduction of a new method of production.
  3. The opening of a new market.
  4. The conquest of a new source of supply of raw-materials or half-manufactured goods.
  5. The carrying out of a new organization.

It is a classification that is still widely used, although it was advocated over 100 years ago. And it can be said that the business improvement on a daily basis would only lead to "#2 The introduction of a new method of production," and "#5 The carrying out of a new organization."

In order to make Business Processes themselves a source of competitiveness of the company, we would like to constantly carry out business process improvement on a daily basis, including "automation". (Improvement cycle / PDCA cycle)

[Order Report-Launched by Quote flow:"1. Order registration" screen]

[Data Items list]

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