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Business Process Management in a Manufacturing Enterprise - page 6 / 10





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In some companies this development process goes a long way to build what has been called the great IT divide – that no-mans-land between IT departments and the operational departments that rely on their expertise. A significant promise of BPM is to radically alter this very difficult relationship by

  • a)

    vastly shortening the process; b) putting the process more or fully in the hands of operations; and

  • c)

    building and implementing processes in a way that they can be easily and quickly designed,

developed, simulated, revised, implemented, and revised again and again as necessary to meet changing business needs.

BPM is a far advancement from hard programmed workflow systems but you are still NOT going to turn process development over to the janitor. This is very serious work that requires understanding the current state of existing processes within the company and being able to visualize the new. A key perspective here is to see BPM as an enabler of business unit processes, not as a technology. Where applications such as CRM, manufacturing execution systems or warehouse management systems are an assortment of technology functions, BPM is a tool that allows users to design, build, and implement functions and processes that suit their needs. As Microsoft Word is a tool to create and manage documents, BPM is a tool to create and manage processes.

With BPM process development is speeded up by system modules used to model the new process, identify the operations required, identify and locate the data sources and convert this to an operating process. The process can be simulated to identify any operational problems or design faults. The process can be revised with each change identified and tracked, thus building a process lifecycle history. Other versions of the same process could be used to accomplish other tasks. The beauty of this approach is the ease of process development and implementation. The ability to simulate the process and observe actual performance brings great real-time management control. Process changes do not require coding but are accomplished through applying icons from a palette. In fact it is likely that a large number of processes will be developed and applied with copies held in libraries for later use in other requirements. Another approach is to use slightly varied instances of a process such as order entry for a retail item, each designed to fit a specific customer or group of customers such as WalMart, Sears, Safeway, Albertsons, and Target. It is likely that each company would have its specific process or processes.


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