We often forget that when we talk about simplification, we are talking about reducing the amount of something. Really?
Yes, see: What is the difference between a single room and a double room?
The double has 2 beds!
In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, we have this definition:
Simple: readily understood or performed.
Therefore, when it comes to business process simplification, the goal is to minimize activities and tasks, while being efficient, effective and productive, and also delivering value to the customer.
That’s the dilemma!
Because it’s tough to decide what can be suppressed without affecting the process.
In this context, some techniques can help to suppress some tasks and activities (those that do not add value).
In fact, these business process simplification techniques point to ways to reduce the tasks and activities that are most at risk of not being executed correctly.
Therefore, activities and tasks are not necessarily eliminated (some are, as we said: those that do not add value), but are performed in a different, more assertive way.
The result is business process simplification not necessarily by the drastic decrease in the number of activities, but by reducing risky activities from the process, by performing them in another way.
Business Process Simplification Techniques to Apply in Your Business
But staring blankly at a process map doesn’t show you where there’s risk or direct contact with the customer (which must always be Wow!).
So take a look at how to identify these opportunities to improve the organizational process.
1- Interaction between systems
When two systems or software suites interact with one another, there must be a data exchange. Most of the time this is done manually, subject to typos and even procrastination.
A classic way to reduce the risk of this data exchange is to create an integration interface between the two systems.
An example of the use of this business process simplification occurs very commonly in graphic design software.
There are several different programs on the market. And most of them have a feature called ‘file export’.
Therefore, software suites ‘speak to each other’. If the designer needs to import a file from an image created in other software to use in their system, they only need to use that command, and it will work without any problems.
2- Process automation
Automation is the control of ‘human’ and system activities.
Check out this video about business process automation:
3- Process standardization
One of the most objective ways to simplify organizational processes is to standardize recurring and identical processes.
For example: Imagine a law firm.
It has several different processes, each with distinct tasks and activities and their peculiarities, depending on the instance, cause, etc.
But in all of them, there will be a time when you need to collect and authenticate signatures. If this process is standardized, you will be able to greatly simplify the activities of the company, by merely replicating them whenever necessary.
4- Defining business rules
The primary purpose of a collection of business rules is to facilitate decision making. They should be simple, bypassing the flow of the process without delay or indecision.
A classic example is the definition of bank lending allocations. The business rule is simple: Up to the amount of X thousand dollars, the agency manager can grant the loan autonomously. Any amount above that though and they need to consult their manager.
Outsourcing has been widespread in the past, and today it has returned in another context: Due to the communication and integration facilities among professionals with the use of cloud computing technologies.
Two examples of this business process simplification are the dissemination of SaaS companies (who see a service that was previously done in the company) and the number of outsourced professionals who work in a home office, as freelancers.