In response to work-style reform and the state of emergency, more companies have attempted to introduce new working styles, such as telecommuting. The introduction of telecommuting is said to increase the staff’s motivation and improve work efficiency. However, some say that productivity has declined due to the introduction of telecommuting, which has consequently increased staff working hours resulting in an extra burden on them. This means a system to increase work productivity is important when introducing new working styles.

The utilization of BPM tools is a good way to increase productivity. In this article, we introduce some examples of enhancing productivity via BPM tools and the key points in the creation of a system to enhance productivity.

Background of the need to improve productivity

Why is the improvement of productivity necessary while new working styles are introduced? There are two reasons.

The first reason is that promoting diverse working styles can lead to a decline in productivity. In the past it was common to work in an office and labor management was easy because managers could easily reach their staff. As today’s technology has been developed, you can access internal systems from home or places other than the office. However, if you don’t update business processes, in many cases, telecommuting doesn’t improve business efficiency.

A traditional working style – working in an office – allows you not only to manage your staff’s performance but to consult with them immediately if there is any trouble. On the other hand, telecommuting makes it difficult to keep track of each employee’s working hours and performance, so the progress of the staff’s work could be delayed. When introducing new working styles such as telecommuting, the first step is to consider how to eliminate the risks mentioned above. In addition, it is necessary to update traditional business processes to ones that are focused on various working styles.

The second reason is that factors such as the declining birthrate and aging population reduce the working-age population. The working-age population has declined significantly due to factors including the retirement of many baby boomers, therefore many companies are facing serious problems such as the aging of their staff. With these limited resources, it is essential for companies to strengthen productivity.

In order to deal with these major changes in the times, strengthening productivity is an essential challenge for every company.

Key points in establishing systems which increase productivity

What exactly should we do to improve productivity? We will describe some tips for productivity Improvements.

Visualization of business processes

The first tip is to visualize the business process. Visualization of business processes means to visualize the Tasks within the business processes. In other words, all Tasks within the business process should be enumerated and the order in which they are processed should be organized to draw them as a workflow diagram.

In addition to Tasks such as submission and approval, there are invisible Tasks that can only be done in the office environment, such as understanding the status of operations. Visualizing business processes including the invisible Tasks makes it possible to understand the reasons why current processes are working well and what the problems are. We recommend that you consider how you can improve productivity while continuing the current processes that are working well.

Prioritize Tasks within a process

The second tip is to prioritize which Tasks are important while visualizing business processes. Reviewing the priorities of the Tasks enables you to consider how much resources should be given to each Task and to eliminate unnecessary Tasks.

On the other hand, you can choose to automate processes that don’t require any resources. Visualizing the Tasks within the process, considering and implementing Tasks that can be automated will enable you to improve operational efficiency.

For that, BPM tools are useful elements to increase productivity. They not only visualize important business processes, which is important for BPM, but automate business processes. For example, Questetra BPM Suite from our company is suitable for that.

Questetra BPM Suite enables you to easily create workflow diagrams on the web and visualize the business. In addition to that, it can automate processes such as order fulfillment and approval flows along with other workflow diagrams. Utilizing BPM tools in this way will increase productivity.

Case studies of productivity improvement with BPM

50% increase in efficiency from preparation to the approval of construction execution budget

Doro Kensetsu Co., Ltd. has a rule in road construction – prepare an execution budget that includes the processes and estimates and obtain approval from more than 10 supervisors. Prior to the introduction of BPM tools the company obtained approval using Excel and e-mail. Thus there were some problems, such as not being able to check the current progress status, or an unclear process if there was a return.

Therefore, they installed a cloud-based BPM system, organized each Task in the business process and automated some Tasks as much as possible, which has improved the efficiency of the company’s approval process by more than 50%.

Reference: Doro Kensetsu Co., Ltd. (Japanese)

Succeeded in reducing the number of steps from 145 to 15 by automating the operation

LT Trust (former “Lincoln Trust Company”), which handles overseas trust business, had experienced a significant decline in business efficiency. This was because the company handled over 100,000 inquiries every month, including asset management and retirement allowance management inquiries from customers. Therefore, the company installed BPM tools to visualize business operations and convert all paper-based business processes into data that can be shared internally. The company also reduced the number of steps from 145 to 15 using automation. Consequently, the return on investment (Return on Investment – Wikipedia) of the company improved by 120% in a year, and the efficiency of the work which previously required three weeks to be done, improved by nearly 50%.

Reference: Impact 2011

Summary

For many companies, working on BPM will help solve the challenges they face. For that, visualizing current business processes to find existing problems is the first step. After that, you implement business improvement activities to solve the problems you have identified. Reiterating those steps enables you to increase your company’s productivity.

The cloud-based BPM system Questetra BPM Suite can visualize current business processes by utilizing its function of drawing a workflow diagram. You can also access the system via a smartphone or tablet, so it is suitable for telecommuting.

Why don’t you start by drawing a flow diagram of your current business?

Please try a free trial of Questetra BPM Suite!

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