How is process management applied in service organizations? Do service providers apply process management practices differently to manufacturers? Does firm size play a role? The brand new paper “Process Management Practices: Organizational (Dis-)Similarities” by D. Weitlaner and M. Kohlbacher, published in the The Service Industries Journal a few days ago, addresses these questions. The study empirically explores the adoption of BPM practices contingent upon different industry affiliations and firm sizes. The summarized findings are as follows:
Process management in service organizations vs. manufacturing companies:
The findings indicate that manufacturers are more process-oriented than service providers. In particular, manufacturing companies are more likely to apply continuous process improvement methods, to have a stronger management commitment toward process orientation, to have process owners on site, and to perform process performance measurement. In particular, the greatest difference between service providers and manufacturers is found in the process performance measurement practice. No significant difference is found in the context of process-supportive corporate culture as well as process documentation.
Process management in small vs. large organizations:
Large companies are more process-oriented than small ones. More specifically, they are more likely to apply continuous process improvement methods, to have a stronger management commitment toward the process view, to have implemented the process owner role, to measure process performance, and to exhibit a higher level of process documentation. However, process-supportive corporate culture seems to be independent from firm size.
Process mining techniques allow for extracting information from event logs. Process mining takes existing data records from your IT systems, extracts the business process (and its variations) and automatically generates understandable visualizations of the business process. Because existing IT records are the basis for process mining, objective visualizations of the real business process are obtained. The following video gives a short introduction on process mining:
See the following ressources for further information:
This year’s Business Process Management Conference (BPM 2014) will take place in Haifa, September 7-11, 2014. The BPM conference series embraces the diversity and richness of the BPM field and serves as a melting pot for experts from a mix of disciplines including Computer Science, Information Systems Management, Services Science and Technology Management.
Process modeling and theory (e.g. reference process models, process simulation and static analysis, business process quality, etc.)
Process model management (e.g. process model storage, process model indexing, etc.)
Process architectures and platforms (e.g. service-oriented architectures for BPM, workflow management systems, etc.)
Management of process execution data (e.g. process performance measurement, process mining, process data analytics and visualization, etc.)
Process flexibility and evolution (e.g. adaptive and context-aware processes, case handling, process change management, etc.)
Human-centric BPM (e.g. people-intensive processes, user-centric aspects of process management and use)
Doris Weitlaner presented her paper on “Intuitive Comprehensibility of Process Models” at the conference “S-BPM One 2013”.
The study empirically examines the use of semiformal process modeling languages in companies. It could be revealed that formal BPM has still not been accepted as a useful practice in firms. Corporations mainly rely on flowcharts in order to design processes. The study further investigates the comprehensibility of BPM languages. Based on empirical data the paper analyzes to what extent EPC, BPMN, UML and the storyboard design are understood by individuals. It was found that the comic representation “storyboard design” is broadly intuitive and easily understood. BPMN and UML also achieved good results, too, but only under certain restrictions. EPC and concurrency of activities in general caused some problems. The full paper is available here. View Doris’ presentation here:
An example for a process (in storyboard design) can be found below:
BPM 2013 is the 11th edition of the reference conference for researchers and practitioners in the field of Business Process Management (BPM). The conference covers all aspects of BPM, including theory, models, techniques, architectures, systems, and empirical studies, and engages the most renowned representatives of the BPM community worldwide in talks, tutorials, and scientific discussions.
BPM 2013 will take place in Beijing, August 26-30, and it will be the first edition of the BPM conference series in Asia. Topics include
Process modeling and theory (e.g. reference process models, process modeling languages, notations and methods)
Process model management (e.g. storage, indexing and retrieval of process models)
Process architectures and platforms (e.g. workflow management systems, service-oriented architectures for BPM)
Management of process execution data (e.g. process performance measurement, process mining)
Process flexibility and evolution (e.g. process change management)
Human-centric BPM (e.g. integrating strategy, processes, people and IT)
This article briefly summarizes the study “The Effects of Process-Oriented Organizational Design on Firm Performance”, by M. Kohlbacher and H. A. Reijers, which is to be published in the Business Process Management Journal.
The study investigates which process management components (i.e. process design and documentation, management commitment towards process management, process ownership, process performance measurement, corporate culture in line with the process approach, application of continuous process improvement methodologies, and organizational structure in line with the process approach) are important for improving customer satisfaction, product quality, time-to-market speed, delivery speed, delivery reliability, and financial performance.
The process owner role and continuous process improvement are two key components of business process orientation. The article investigates whether the implementation of these two concepts can improve the firms’ financial performance and customer satisfaction. The study is based on data from 840 Austrian manufacturing and service companies. The empirical evidence indicates that organizations that implement both concepts – process ownership and continuous process improvement – reap the fruits of process management in terms of higher financial performance and customer satisfaction.
The paper will be available via IEEE Xplore after the conference. The poster of the study can be found here.
The study investigates how individual components of process orientation (i.e. continuous process improvement, corporate culture in line with the process approach, management commitment towards the process program, the process owner role, process performance measurement as well as process knowledge and documentation) affect explorative and exploitative innovation. Exploitative innovations (or incremental innovations) refer to small-scale improvements and adjustments of existing goods/services of a company. In contrast, explorative innovations represent entirely new goods/services which are not inferred from the existing supply of a company.
The empirical study involves 840 Austrian enterprises operating in the manufacturing or service industry. The empirical findings reveal that continuous process improvement and a culture that is in line with the process approach are significantly and positively associated with both types of innovation. The empirical evidence also shows that a narrow focus on detailed process documentation may actually be cumbersome to explorative innovation.
The paper discusses the approach of process cascading and segmentation, a design principle which helps organizations to build its structure around its customer-oriented business processes. Cascading of processes is an approach where the organization’s business process design is based on internal customer-supplier relationships which ensure that every business process of the organization has a clearly defined (internal) customer which places an order and also receives the results. Segmentation of business processes refers to the idea of creating process variants of business processes which face heterogeneous market and/or customer requirements. Both principles – cascading and segmentation of business processes – complement each other. The paper shows how these design principles are applied in practice by using an Austrian manufacturing firm as a case study.
The poster of the presentation can be found here; the paper is available via IEEE Xplore.
This article gives a brief introduction into modeling business processes by using the Event-Driven Process Chain.
The Event-driven Process Chain (EPC) is a type of flowchart and was developed by Prof. Wilhelm-August Scheer at the Universität des Saarlandes in the early 1990s. There are four basic elements of the EPC:
Events: The event describes the incidence of a state. This state activates a function or is the result of a function. Events are passive elements in EPC. Every process begins and ends with one or more events.
Functions: Functions represent tasks or activities within the company. Functions describe transformations from an initial state to a resulting state. They are active elements in EPC. Functions consume resources and time. A verb should be used for the name of a function.
Logical Connectors: By using the three different logical operations (AND, OR, and XOR), branchings can be inserted between events and functions.
Control Flow: The control flow describes the chronological-logical dependency of events and functions and can be split up by using the logical connectors.