Case Study: Business Process Improvement


Business process improvement is often undertaken by businesses to stream line existing processes for efficiency and efficacy. The organisation in this study provides machinery parts to industry and as such maintains an inventory of items likely to be requested by local businesses. The organisation was in the process of moving from their current warehouse to a newer and larger warehouse. As part of the move, they engaged their warehouse staff to analyse the current warehouse processes so that streamlined processes could be architected to take greater advantage of the additional amenities offered by the new warehouse.

Collaboration & Sense-making

The process of improving the existing processes started with first analysing the current processes. This involved in-depth discussions on how the process was currently and how it was meant to be. It also detailed activities that were sometimes done that broke the traditional process as certain events had not been considered when the warehouse was first established. Whilst these discussions were occurring, their content was placed into an Oystr-styled map. The participants had an active part in organising the map so that the conceptual structure properly aligned with distinct process areas. An extract of one of these maps can be seen at the following link.

Discussion on What Constitutes a Good "Inwards Process"

After discussing and analysing the existing processes, discussions were held to determine principles and constraints for deciding upon a new set of processes. The analysis done as part of the exploration of the current process, was then re-structured with these principles in mind to form the new process. As with the analysis of the processes, the discussion around principles and constraints was also captured in an Oystr-styled map so that they could be used as a reference for designing of the new process. An extract of one of these maps can be seen at the following link.

Discussion on Tasks Completed During the "Inwards Process"

Report & Decide

Once the existing process architecture was detailed, the group began designing the new process structure. During this process, the participants actively used the rationale captured by the Oystr-styled maps to help inform decisions in the process design. The design was completed using business process model notation as it is a notation familiar to most professionals and was to be provided as an artefact to the project manager and project directors. A link to a sample of one such process that was designed collaboratively by the group is provided below. This process depicts a business process for getting a truck from the security gates to the dock.

Security to Dock Process