Process optimization describes the improvement process as well as the resulting improvement of an actual process in a company. The actual processes of a company are analyzed on the basis of their process models and their performance. These analyses help to identify optimization potentials. These are first incorporated into a target process. Process optimization is part of the Process Management Lifecycle and takes place after the process documentation.
Why do processes have to be optimized?
The main reason to optimize a process is that the process itself should run better. For instance, the process should run faster, cheaper or with fewer errors. But factors from the corporate environment can also be a reason for the need for optimization. Among other things, this can be a change in the company strategy and thus in the process strategy, the acquisition of a new IT system, the standardization of processes or changes in guidelines (legal or internal).
How are processes optimized?
First, the documented actual processes are analyzed on the basis of the models created. Potential weak points and bottlenecks can be derived from these analyses. Such bottlenecks can be excessive workloads or cycle times. Finally, the processes to be optimized must be prioritized, since not all can be optimized at the same time. The following points should be included in the prioritization: The entrepreneurial relevance of the process (a core process should be optimized before a support process), the costs incurred, the frequency of the process or the number of executions, or the criticality of the process. If a process has several optimization potentials that cannot be solved all at once, these must also be prioritized.
For comprehensive changes, a process optimization project may have to be initiated. This should be planned after prioritization. The planning also includes all points that have to be considered when planning a conventional project (organization, resources, goals).
Afterwards the process optimization can be carried out by the responsible persons. The execution can also be done using certain methods, such as Six Sigma. The aim is to find the causes of problems and to design revised target processes. Before implementation, the target model should also be subjected to an analysis in order to ensure that the optimization potential found is realized and that guidelines are adhered to. If there are several variants of a target process, these must be prioritized. In addition to the criteria already mentioned, the prioritization should also take into account the feasibility of the variants.
As soon as a target process has been analyzed and verified, it can be implemented. Through this implementation, the target process becomes the new actual process.
The sequence of a process optimization is thus as follows:
1. Analyzing the actual processes
2. Deriving process vulnerabilities
3. Prioritizing the processes to be optimized
4. If necessary, planning and initiating a process optimization project
5. Designing target processes
6. Checking and analysing the target processes
7. Prioritizing the target processes
8. Implementing the “best” target process