Improving Business Processes

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IMPROVING BUSINESS PROCESSES

Business Processes is defined as “a set of logically related tasks or activities performed to achieve a defined business outcome.” For our purposes, these outcomes can be physical, informational, or even monetary in nature. Physical outcomes might include the manufacture and delivery of goods to a customer; an informational outcome might be registering for college courses; and, finally, a monetary outcome might include payment to a supply chain partner for services rendered. Of course, many business processes have elements of all three. In recent years, corporate executives and management theorists alike have recognized the importance of putting in place business processes that effectively manage the flow of infor¬mation, products, and money across the supply chain. One reason is the dollars involved: Experts estimate that total supply chain costs represent the majority of the total operating budget for most organizations; in some cases they may be as high as 75 percent. Let’s see the idea of improving business processes with an example many college students are familiar with: enrolling in classes each semester. Not too long ago students had to interact with three distinct functional areas in order to register: the individual col¬leges or departments (which granted permission to take classes), the registrar’s office (which managed the actual enrollment process), and the cashier’s office (which handled tuition payments). A student would first visit his home college or department to pick up the proper permission forms, and then schedule his classes, and finally pay tuition. Of course, any problem in the system could force the student to revisit one or more of these areas.

This process was convenient for everyone but the students. Now many colleges and universities have reorganized these activities into a single process with a focus on speed, accuracy and convenience to the students. Students can now register and pay tuition all...
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