August 10, 2020
Organizations invest a lot of time and effort in mapping business processes, however rarely is process analysis approached with the same rigor.
Optimum business improvement is a product of process analysis, not of process mapping alone. We have various techniques to analyses processes and one of them is standardisation. Here is the article to understand in detail what process standardisation is and what benefits it brings to an organization.
Imagine if your customer service department had no set guidelines for handling queries.
It would be like having random people working differently and then expecting to see the job perfectly done within a defined timeframe and providing the same customer experience every time customers interact with the team.
Instead, it would be chaos.
That’s what essentially happens in your organization when you do not have standardised processes. Every task regardless of how often you do it requires some rules and regulations that define the method to be followed, because having different approaches to various situations in a company translates into a lack of control.
The goal of standardisation is to make sure that every action taken generates the desired result and process standardization ensures that your customer has the same experience with your company regardless of the channel or the location from which the customer interacts with your organization.
What is Process Standardisation?
By definition, standardisation refers to the process of making something conform to a standard.
Standardisation can be best explained by sharing a recent experience. I was on-site at a government department that was composed of 11 business units. Although the core business of each department was different, all departments reimbursed staff expenses up to $100. However, nearly all departments performed the process of reimbursement differently. For example, some accepted receipts and performed the reimbursement in person, while others only accepted submissions via email. Another large variation was that some reimbursed in cash, regardless of the original payment method, while others reimbursed only through payroll.
Standardisation of the expense reimbursement process achieved many benefits. These included a clear audit trail for all expenses, the ability to share staff for this administrative process between business units and removed confusion for all. This example shows the opportunity of standardisation of processes across the organization. However, standardisation can also be applied to documents or systems used within the process. Recent experiences have highlighted that in large organizations, sometimes different systems are being used for common processes. QuickBooks was used by one business unit whilst the other was using MYOB as their accounting system. No doubt that the two business units were performing as separate accounting lines; however, this could have easily been achieved by simply setting up the two entities separate accounting entities in one system. This would enable job sharing and maybe a more competitive purchase on the annual software renewal!
Process standardization brings many benefits to an organization. Some of the major benefits are as follows:
- Reduction in operational cost
From sourcing raw material to delivering final products to the customers, all processes involved can be standardised to allow companies to use the same definitions and data points in order to lower production costs and trial and error exercise.
- Reduction in errors
Process standardisation requires a more general approach towards all the specific situations. Such an approach reduces the chances of human error as the dependency on the individual, suppliers, and systems get reduced.
- Brings consistency and transparency
Standardisation brings consistency in every repeatable process, irrespective of the person who carries out the tasks within the process.
- Satisfied Customers
The delivery of high-quality services with reduced time always translates into highly satisfied customers and helps companies achieve one of their major objectives of keeping the customers happy and loyal.
- Continuous improvement
Continuous improvement is one of the keys to the success of organizations and standardization is one of the most important tools that help organizations in the process of continuous improvement. Standardized work is one of the most powerful but not very frequently used lean tools. As the standard is improved, the new standard becomes the base for further improvement and makes continuous improvement a never-ending process.
How can PRIME BPM help you standardise the processes?
PRIME BPM gives you the ability to perform process comparison by a click of a button. Here you can compare different processes side by side to identify the differences. Say, for example, you want to compare the HR recruitment process in the UK with the same process in the USA. You can quickly compare those two separate processes, and besides, you can compare the information associated with each process such as process efficiency, process cost, etc. You can quickly see the gap, identify which process is more efficient, and investigate if there is any valid reason to do the same process differently. Driving process standardisation in your organization also results in improved productivity as staff can be easily swapped in and out of areas of the business.