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Achieving Business Process Standardisation

When you have 35 branches across two countries, and you want to provide your customers with the same level of high service – how do you do this?

How do you make sure they are all following the right way? See how Process Mining gives you a view into your business that no other technology does.

When your business is small and everyone is on the same site, it is easy to be consistent.  Often, standards will be unconsciously developed. A process one person does repeatedly, by default, becomes adopted as “the way” you do things.

But then you start to grow.  New staff come on board; you may not have the same time to train them all in “the way” you do things. Before you know it, “the way” you work has grown to any number of variations.  Some of these options may even work better than the original. However it is very hard to identify the subtle differences and why they are delivering a better outcome.

Next, you outgrow your physical location.  One site becomes two, then three, four and more.  You build training programmes for process standardisation – after all, this is an important part of your brand.  Standards are set and performance indicators implemented. But with dozens of staff and thousands of customers how can you see if core business processes are being delivered properly?

What is your norm?

It has now become difficult to understand exactly what “the way” you operate actually is and if it aligns to how you now want to operate. And if not, where those deviations are.  

According to the experts standardising your processes is not only increasingly difficult but exponentially more complex:  

Industry expert Steve Stanton, Managing Director, FCB Partners, says: 

“90 percent of the organisations I know have failed at standardisation. Doing business in our global, tech-driven and consumer-oriented world is becoming more and more complex.”  

Your staff can’t tell you. They may generally know what the process should be but aren’t consciously tracking the many variations of what they do.  In many cases they simply lack the ability to see the big picture. They can’t see if “the way” they have been taught and working to, is actually the best “way” or not.  

You are now trying to align dozens of “norms” across multiple sites with process deviations within each branch .  You know you could, and should, do better. But you can’t fix what you can’t see – and you still can’t see what is happening… or can you?

Creating business process standardisation

Arkturus has been working with Vulcan, a steel processing and delivery company. It has 35 branches in NZ and Australia, and its own fleet of delivery trucks. Now employing over a thousand staff Vulcan has grown consistently over the past two decades. It attributes a lot of this growth to a strong customer service culture.  

The company has always had a ‘laser focus’ on its operational efficiency. It had implemented a number of best-practice initiatives, including the implementation of an ERP system.  But still it acknowledges there are variances between how the branches operated and a strong desire to correct this.

Vulcan engaged Arkturus to use its business process mining tools to accurately visualise the order-to-fulfilment process using existing systems data.  From this, they quickly and accurately gain an understanding of how each branch is operating, at a detailed level, and can compare with other branches or a model pathway.

Process standardisation best practice

Vulcan has now been able to architect a best-practice approach across the business.  This will significantly speed up standardisation of its business processes according to CIO and Innovation Officer, James Wells:

“We estimate achieving our standardisation goals two or three times faster – no other tool can do this for us.”

The full case study provides more detail. One of the most exciting outcomes will be equipping each branch manager with a personalised dashboard.  This will give them a continuous view of what is going on in their own operation, including early warning notifications of the process variations they are trying to reduce.  

Managers will be able to define their own KPIs and metrics across their business without any coding.  They will also be able to define additional metrics. This will help measure the impact of their changes, without having to program any reports.  

Faster, easier process standardisation

It makes business process standardisation a whole lot easier and faster, to set and maintain. Even when you’re dealing with a diverse business across dozens of different sites.  It turns what was once highly complex and expensive, into something any growing business can implement – even yours.