What’s the absolute best gift you can give yourself and your business for the summer holidays? More time. As many of us are planning our summer vacations or staycations, we know that we’ll be away from business, our desks, teammates, and our customers, for an extended period of time. As a business owner or manager, taking a summer vacation is pretty awesome, but it also means leaving your staff to ‘run the ship’ while you’re away.
What if you could easily automate your business processes when you’re not there and let your ERP system do the work for you? If it sounds easy – that’s because it is.
BPM: Your home away from home
Of all the countless modules and hundreds of features and functionality nestled inside a modern ERP, when a Business Process Management (BPM) module is integrated into an ERP system, it “adds” a layer of management and control for operational business workflows across your entire organization. Simply put, a BPM effectively links together entire processes, disparate business units, projects, teams, and their associated documents, and data.
BPM, often referred to as the ‘heart’ of an ERP, powers your operational business processes, and that YOU, or one of your employees, don’t have to actually, or even, virtually, be there to make it work. What’s more, it allows your employees to view all of the processes they are involved in, be it purchasing, invoicing, sales, inventory and warehousing, production, and more. Teams and individual employees can share processes across departments, across companies, and even with other stakeholders in the supply chain.
But BPM is not just about optimizing your business processes. It factors in your employees, those responsible for every stage of every process, and skillfully (and automatically) puts them into the equation. But what happens when employees are on holiday or out sick? Emails are not answered, communication with customers gets derailed, price quotes are piled high, and even production can grind to a halt.
How does BPM work?
BPM is more than a tool to manage and improve your business processes. Although this is what it’s designed to do, it also acts as a safety net. Think of it as your process library that hosts organizational policies, workflows, procedures, and forms, with powerful process mapping tools that you can define, manage, and control. This means you have the flexibility to modify your operational processes in accordance with market fluctuation, industry requirements, customer demands, and yes, even temporary adjustments to your workflows when you/your employees aren’t there.
BPM allows you capture your processes in their current state, assign levels of risk to various process steps to mitigate potential bottlenecks, and visually presents process steps by capturing and measuring time, effort, and cost data. BPM assigns who’s in charge, when, and where – citing responsibility, accountability, required approvals, and more, to your processes. Further, BPM’s process mapping tools allow you to set up statuses, set properties for each status, and define status rules. You can also set the status order and flow in the process, set rules to move to the next status, and even copy BPM workflows between companies, as illustrated below.
But what’s BPM’s crowning glory? An easy-to-configure, and even easier to use Business Rules Generator that helps you map your automation path. It allows you to control and set up alerts, define rules and PUSH notifications, warning and error messages, plus triggered emails and messages, all of which are seamlessly integrated into your BPM. Workflow not ‘working’ as it should? Shop floor manager forgot to sign off on spare parts? Missing a signature on an invoice? Your BPM will alert you when something’s amiss, all the time – every time.
Now, about that summer vacation…
With BPM integrated into your ERP system, your business processes are continuously and consistently optimized, and they’re all automated. When you need to make a temporary adjustment or modify a process for the long term, BPM ensures that you can do it yourself.
So, before you venture off to that tropical island, with just a few simple clicks, you can easily amend your processes. Here are some examples:
- Invoice approval process – When the CFO, is OOO, change the approval process, so that “from July 15-30, the Controller, needs to sign off”
- Work order execution – Your machine operator is out sick, send the work order to another employee with same experience/expertise who’s authorized to perform the task
- Raw materials management – Parts vendor on holiday for 2 weeks? Order from another supplier during this time period
- Communication with customers – Good ready for shipment? Send your customer an automated email with the delivery date, and the invoice and packing slip – as attachments
- Overdue invoices – Send your customers/suppliers automatic reminders at predefined intervals, e.g. after 5, 10, 30 days; escalate unpaid invoices and flag them for your finance team
BPM up and running? Don’t know what to do next? We recommend that you… get packing.