Whether you are in a C-staff position, middle management or a line staffer in a business unit, many people are concerned about job security in today’s cost-cutting business environment. One strategy that everyone should embrace is to seize the opportunity to thrive, not just survive through distinguishing oneself through exceptional performance. One way to do this is to identify and drive a meaningful Business Process Improvement (BPI) activity.
Here’s a quick way to start: organizations can’t afford sloppy, unnecessary, inefficient or outdated business processes. How many times have you thought, “There has to be a better way of doing this!” or “Is this really necessary?” Chances are that your gut feelings are right! Many companies continue to do what they do because that is ‘the way things have always been done.’
But that doesn’t mean it’s right.
Whether we’re talking about a major initiative like replacing one’s entire backoffice system or automating and streamlining a process that has traditionally been done manually on spreadsheets, BPI can p lay a role. In fact, if your organization grapples with a once “best in breed” third party system, or with an outdated legacy system, now might be the best time to investigate BPI in earnest.
(Third-party systems cost companies a fortune to support and maintain over time, especially considering the numerous custom interfaces required, as compared to fully integrated systems, with no special interfaces, and requiring one skill set to support.)
Quite candidly, a BPI initiative might even be as simple as getting rid of the costly customizations in your current systems. The big ERP software systems are mature products now and it is likely that most, or even all, of the customization is no longer needed, due to the enhancements in functionality over the 15 or so years. The BPI initiative can be as large or small as you can identify and support, and your management might be surprised at how much money can be saved by eliminating no-longer-necessary customizations.
The best, and easiest, plan would be to select an initiative that has both an attractive and measureable ROI in order to have the desired effect on both the organization and your career path. If your choice does not have a good business case, with a clearly-definable ROI and built-in “self funding” over a reasonable time, it will not likely get approved and funded.
Examples of such initiatives with a clearly-definable ROI are: automation and implementing Supply Chain Management (SCM), e-Procurement, Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)/Asset Lifecycle Management (ALM). Most organizations that have not already done the above might be throwing money away everyday. The waste and missed opportunity is like water over a dam, which just keeps flowing. Once you begin to identify and put numbers to the water, you might be shocked. And you’ll have found your initiative’s ROI.
It is also important to note that automation and the streamlining of processes does not necessarily mean cutting head count, but instead cutting wasted and unnecessary cycles. It can also mean allowing employees to be more strategic and less tactical in their roles.
Having time to be more strategic means more meaningful jobs, more fun, less turn over, and a more efficient, profitable business.
E-Procurement is a good example. Most purchasing agents would be more effective and much more interested in negotiating a significant quantity purchasing agreement with a key supplier, rather than chasing down pieces of paper so that they can tell a unit where their material request is and when they will get the component they requested. Which do you think leads to more fulfilled employees?
Another example is ALM. An effective preventive maintenance program dramatically reduces the costs of expensive equipment and property, as opposed to the standard Break/Fix strategy coupled with the “squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Which maintenance organization would you bet your career on?
There is no time like the present. If you want to secure your position and enhance your career path, take the initiative to do something not everyone does every day, which your leadership will appreciate and recognize you for standing out among the crowd. Take the initiative to identify and drive a BPI initiative. If you are not moving forward, you are moving backward and losing ground to competition.
Be a change agent and take the lead. Secure your future.
MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management) and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.
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