Organizations can be more effective and efficient with the proper alignment of operations management methods, such as Business Process Management (BPM) and Quality Management System (QMS). These two are typically viewed separately but do have commonalities.
BPM’s focal point is on business processes. While the QMS, more attention is paid to the various management techniques that increase productivity and quality. Alignment of these two can have benefits when following a horizontal approach, unlike traditional management process that tend to focus more on functions. With this approach, all sections — staff, customers, suppliers and clients — can be involved.
The biggest challenge is how to completely align the two. To answer that, here are the five focus points that should be taken into consideration, along with the advantages and negative points in each:
1. The Right Preparation
At this stage, the department responsible for managing the organization’s optimization goals make a decision to whether proceed with the alignment or not. This involves going through the necessary training to gain information about the entire process. The problem is initial training sessions may not be enough; thus, the need to opt for the expert advice of consultants outside of the organization. This may cost the organization more money.
The above processes must be followed by building the goals and visions related to the activity. All the outcomes of development should be broadcasted to the members of the organization in order to streamline information throughout. This is also the stage to determine where the needed resources must be sourced.
2. Setting the Plan
This is a focus point which should render importance. At this period, a specified implementation plan is prepared. Organizations, at times, experience conflicts in the following areas: scheduling, budget and infrastructure that will sustain the program.
For instance, an organization’s CEO stated that it should double the revenue in a four-year time frame. However, the forecast in its strategic plan fell below this particular objective. This scenario could lead to unfavorable circumstances and reactions from managers, clients, employees and all members, including clients. There can be an argument if the CEO failed to describe the drivers of growth and revenue, which may be the following: average sales for every client, number of new branches launched, percentage of new customers each year and others.
The way to break the hurdles is to come up with the right preparation, as stated in the first item above. Identify beforehand all the required resources and activities to ensure that the plan is secured and allocated. Failure to do so may compromise the success of the undertaking.
3. Execution Stage
This involves taking the crucial steps to start determining how the alignment actually works for the organization. There is no better way to know than to have a dry run — begin with the process. In this phase, the needed personnel are selected and trained to act according to Business Process Management and Quality Management System Principles.
Here, the workforce, including managers and higher officials, is put into training. This activity involves raising the awareness of all personnel of what the alignment actually entails and what are the benefits to them and the entire organization. The major difficulty at this point is how to explicate the roles of all members in the organization. This is also the right time to come up with expectations from every member and desired outcomes.
4. Return on Investment
Whether positive or negative, every organization's alignment of BPM with QMS should perform a methodical assessment to determine the return on investment. This task includes input from staff, clients and other personnel about the characteristics and qualities of the members of the organization, and as a whole.
This stage is about testing all the organization’s strategy — this tends to be a continuous process. All organizations should be able to determine in the execution phase whether the approach in aligning business processes is working or not. If things are not working, it is best to identify the reasons why in order to execute the processes under the right conditions. If yes, the company should remain prepared as business conditions constantly change and the place of operation may be too complex and turbulent.
5. Expanding Horizons
Alignment of business processes also entails the personnel or groups not within the organization itself, which include other organizations, distributors, suppliers and others who affects the overall growth of the organization. This is often neglected as most managers pay more attention inside of the organization.
To attain more growth and prevent conflicts, diversification activities must be conducted, and these can be any of the following: training, giving rewards and partnership with other groups that embrace the same business initiatives among others. Such activities require the managers’ successes, skills and experiences to develop positive relationships with the external people and groups.
Almost all organizations these days work under unstable environments and some strategies that were employed in the past may not be longer effective or valid as the business environment undergoes change. Hence, organizations should continually focus on these five points to ensure the validity of alignment processes.
6. Framework for Integrating BPM and QMS
The Integrated Enterprise Excellence (IEE) provides a framework for integrating BPM and QMS, as described in:
- A recorded webinar: "From Business Chaos to Competitive Advantage"