Why try to increase performance from a poor management system?

Once the design of the overall Business Model and supporting Process Overviews have been graphically represented, detailed process mapping can then commence.

Many companies now recognise that the design of the traditional document management system is inflexible and unable to cope with the demands of today’s multitude of text-based procedures, occasional flowcharts, isolated spreadsheets and a mountain of legacy documents inherited from recent QHSE regimes.

After years of operating document-based systems, the drive to increase process improvement across all company areas is often retarded by a poor legacy system. The reluctance to invest in this crucial area has a long history, however the combination of ISO compliance, particularly related to process, client expectations and a changing out of the old guard have negatively affected how the workforce consume their guidelines on work practices.

While Quality Management System and Safety Management System software is available to ease the discipline managers’ day job by recording audits, non-conformances, incidents, accidents and more, the core of the management system (namely the process, procedures and work practices) has been neglected.

With text-based documents still occupying the bulk of the content within many company management systems and the `process approach` as advocated in ISO 9001:2015 often being paid lip service to, the lack of investment in this area has become more apparent now that there is a pressing need to restructure the traditional system to the process-based model.

It is therefore not surprising that the young, techno-savvy professionals shake their head in disbelief when faced with a traditionally structured management system choked with documents.

So what does “the process approach” to Business Management Systems actually mean? 

The process-based management system (PBMS) manages all policies, processes, procedures and links to supporting databases and applications by creating an over-arching, holistic business model.

The model design should represent the unique way the company operates. This can include process overviews that graphically detail the end-to-end processes that deliver `strategy to task`.

The fundamental requirements of the process approach are to:

  • Provide discipline managers an efficient set of tools to manage their area of responsibility effectively
  • Ensure users can navigate to correct content to easily understand instructions
  • Design functionality that simplifies system administration for ongoing operations

Example: Business Model providing overview of company structure

Now for the buzzword bingo… The process-approach was often referred to as an Integrated Business Management System (iBMS) in the early 1990’s, however this has now morphed into a Business Management System (BMS). This relatively new model provides a central repository not only for Quality Management Systems, Safety Management Systems, Risk Management and Regulatory Compliance but also for the control of all business processes and related content across the organisation. The integrated framework helps reduce duplication that occurs in biblical proportions in many organisations and offers a platform for Continuous Improvement through use of Kaizen and creation of Lean Processes.

With the integrated Business Management System (iBMS) acting as an over-arching, holistic model to all Management System content, a strict governance standard allows for the overall framework to be managed by a core team while providing each discipline, department or region access to their own area of interest.

There are a number of benefits from becoming process based, such as:

  • Clarity of content: Process mapping presents the key stakeholders with visibility of ‘who does what, where and when’, and supports Kaizen and Continuous Improvement
  • Easier identification of improvements: Inaccuracies and wastage are reduced, and improvement becomes simpler when you can clearly see the process steps
  • Increased ownership: Improved visibility of individual role & responsibilities and greater understanding of user actions within each process
  • Quick Access: End to end process overviews guide users to the right document quickly and at the relevant time
  • Process Harmonisation: Remove duplicated processes by distilling into generic, lean processes for use across the organisation
  • Workforce Guidance: Providing clear guidelines of work activities to the workforce
  • Improved Efficiency: Highly visual Swim-lane Processes to drive optimisation

Benefits to Customers and Auditing Bodies:

Customers: Greater visibility of customer facing processes increases confidence and provides a platform for process change as market demands alter.

Auditing Bodies: Greater visibility of compliance obligations offers more transparency for both the internal managers of standards and regulations and the Auditing Bodies.

Adopting Business Process Management offers more benefits……

  • Provides quick access to required process & documents
  • Process Maps are easy to understand, (as opposed to text-based procedures)
  • One Stop Shop approach – Integrated Risks, links from processes to associated documents, databases and applications simplify access to key information

Our next blog will discuss the most efficient way to map your processes, saving time and energy!

Peter Shields, MD, BusinessPort Ltd

For more information on the Process-based Business Management System and how it will help increase your company’s performance, contact Daniel Christian at insight@businessport.net. 

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