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Expert Voice: Business Processes Analysis and Re-engineering - A new approach case to the assessment of business processes in IBM

22 April 2021


While the need for industrial companies to constantly improve and innovate practices is self-explanatory, such care is not usually extended to the public sector. Tried and true reigns king, and innovation in governmental work can sometimes be considered an oxymoron. The ICMPD project “EU Support for Integrated Border Management” (EU4IBM) serves as an exception by piloting the Business Processes Analysis and Reengineering (BPA&R) method to simplify processes related to Integrated Border Management in Ukraine.

By Arunas Adomenas

In the EU, public service organisations face constant pressure from stakeholders to reduce overhead and to use taxpayer money fastidiously, yet are tasked at the same time to provide more and more and higher quality services. Rather than reinventing the wheel (and without the resources to do so), organisations have begun looking to the private sector for inspiration. 

Enter “Business Processes Analysis and Reengineering” (BPA&R). BPA&R came to fruition in the car production industry many decades ago, working off the American Ford assembly line model and further improved by Toyota, to what is now understood as the “LEAN” method. Manufacturers constantly sought process improvements, while shaving excess, in order to create the most efficient system possible. The objectives of speed versus quality may seem contradictory, but in perfecting a methodology of continuous improvement, manufacturers were able to reduce costs and production time while improving quality. 

Delivering more with less

Are these competing objectives not similar to the plight of the early automotive industry? Taking cues from innovation-led industries, many EU Member States’ public administrations are now following suit by applying the LEAN methodology idea inwards.

With the support of the European Union, ICMPD is implementing the flagship EU4IBM project in Ukraine, which is designed differently from many other EU-funded projects by using this BPA&R roadmap. The new methodology has been introduced to simplify bloated bureaucratic processes within the area of Integrated Border Management by creating an analysis of all business processes and determining activities for their reengineering, to create the leanest, most efficient operation possible. This is a new approach in the area of border management, and – even for those active in the topic for many years – the concept and its methodology are not widely known.

 

How it works

(1) First, all processes are identified, and the most eligible processes that can be considered for analysis and reengineering are (2) selected and prioritised based on objective or subjective criteria. Both can be useful in their own ways, as long as the criteria is well-reasoned.

OBJECTIVE         =            long/slow processes, customer demand, etc.

SUBJECTIVE       =            sponsor/beneficiary wishes, opinions, expectations, etc.

Well-functioning processes are, of course, left well alone. In cases where processes were deigned fully obsolete or lacking, new processes were proposed and designed using the LEAN method from the start.

(3)That staff, mid-tier and top management all understand their specific roles and the big picture behind the analytical sessions is an integral factor in the success of the approach. To ensure everyone involved in the project BPA&R activities were well-versed in its objectives and implementation, the methodology was incorporated into internal training and adopted by the beneficiary organisations. 

The next step, called the ‘as-is’ process (4), continues with collecting data to identify the existing status quo. Statistical data and a detailed description of every step is added together to tally the expected amount of time and resources necessary to complete each process and achieve the expected result. This enables the main part of the analysis to follow – (5) the “value stream map”. The map provides an evaluation of each step in terms of providing value to the end-user and achieving the end result. If the step does not satisfy either goal, it is marked as redundant and subsequently removed, creating a new “to-be” process (6). The improved process is now therefore shorter and delivers the same (or better!) results. Recommendations on reengineering are presented for (7) approval, the bulk of which are normally related to removing/automating certain steps, or to a digital overhaul of entire processes, or otherwise to changes in legislation or reducing bureaucracy.

[As can be expected, there were cases where workers were reluctant to share details about the inner-workings of their service and were only participating as a prerequisite to their assigned work on project activities. Stiff, overly-formal responses to questions posed during such analytical sessions could not really lead to much. Open engagement and cooperation of the staff of the beneficiary service(s) are key for this type of project to succeed.]

(8) Finally, the most difficult part of the entire methodology is the implementation itself, starting with a detailed action plan.

While LEAN methodology’s benefits and objectives for the public sector and governmental institutions may not be as immediately apparent as for the private sector, in the case of EU4IBM, the application of BPA&R as an assessment tool for capacity building projects is a positive and effective new approach. Not only are processes made more efficient, but many EU good practices were able to be merged within the steps of BPA&R as well. Based on the internationally recognised LEAN methodology, the private sector has developed a roadmap that can be harnessed to great effect by public service organisations around the EU.

 

This is a short version of the article. For an in-depth read of the above EU4IBM project case in terms of BPA&R implementation, please click here for the full PDF.

 

Arunas Adomenas is Team Leader of EU4IBM project.