Business Process Improvement, BPI enables an organization and its leadership to continuously improve all areas of performance, including decision-making, ongoing investment, profitability, customer and partner services and human resources capabilities. Business Process Improvements is the foundation to build operationally excellent processes and structures—or the “intangible assets”—that give and organization the visibility, control, tools, and management practices necessary to drive greater operational effectiveness and efficiency.
In 2012 the Norwegian corporation Sønnico started its Business Process Improvement program by implementing Lean Management in the organisations. Dr. Hole was hired as chief process officer to lead the Lean Management process within Sønnico.
From Lean Management Process in Sønnico:
To deliver continuous improvement in the marketplace among competitors and customers required Sønnico to identify, understand and create the capabilities, behaviors and focuses necessary for repeatable, continuous and measurable operational improvement in the organization.
Road-map for operational excellence
To build operational excellence within Sønnico required a focus on management capabilities to develop and promulgate standards within work processes such as project management, procurement, coordinated decision-making, optimizing service deliveries within the organizations. To orchestrating these capabilities required a unification of cross-functional management disciplines. These capabilities were organized around the following core characteristics within Sønnico:
- Visualize the key operational work processes. The Lean Management Teams worked to identify the key operational processes within Sønnico, including those that create value, growth or innovation as well as those that consume the most resources, time and assets. Through the Lean Management program, it was visualized through operating models that showed the linkages both inside the enterprise as well as outside, to customers, suppliers and partners.
- Designing workflow and predefined work response. The Lean Management teams designed the workflow for each key process, by identifying the actions, resources and workers required for each step. Then one defined a standard work response to handle large variations in workflow volume outputs or inputs.
- Develop Metrics and Gauges. The Lean Management teams established measurements for normal workflow and developed methods that report workflow volume outside the normal ranges. Each regional team ensured that workflow was reported within the organization and was received by the stakeholders responsible for each operation inside Sønnico.
- Operate Functionally, Measure Systemically. Each regional functional operating manager within Sønnico was responsible for the workflow, using the predefined responses, operate the workflow by making any changes necessary to adapt to changing volume, inputs or outputs. Functional managers interact with upstream and downstream operating mangers to ensure optimal end-to-end performance.
- Drive continuous improvement program.As time went and one worked with Lean Management inside Sønnico, the operating experience grew within the organization. Due to this one were needed to make adjustments to the workflow design, predefined responses and performance measures, to continuously improve the overall system performance of the organizations. If business agility enables rapid adjustments to effect change, and sustained innovation allows an organization to stay ahead of the competition and market dynamics, then operational excellence is the epitome of fiscal discipline, maximizing the use of resources and the assurance of revenue sustainability and, ultimately, profitability.