Process analysis involves the series of events that result in an achievement. It tells you how this series of events occurred. Process analysis is of two types, informational and directional. Informational analysis asks the question,” How is this done?”
This analysis tells you how a certain thing was done or achieved. Directional analysis, on the other hand, asks the question, “How can you do this?” Here you examine how you can do a certain thing so that the process can be repeated. Directional analysis gives directions to a certain process.
The purpose of performing a process analysis is to understand how to do a certain thing or how it works, to ascertain how effective a process is or to argue about its significance. The goals of performing a process analysis are, to evaluate completeness, to identify the factors that make maps difficult to use, to isolate bottlenecks, to measure process time, to find redundancies, and to examine resource allocations.
While analyzing a process, you ensure that it is performing properly and giving maximum productivity with minimum bottlenecks. Process Mapping is the first step in process analysis, which involves creating a visual presentation of the entire process.
Once it is mapped, the process is methodically analyzed to identify the bottlenecks or the constraints that hinder the flow of the process (Belize 2011). According to the Theory of Constraints given by Goldratt in 1986, the main focus is to identify the bottleneck first, and then to ensure that the complete process is functioning at a speed to equal the bottleneck.
Philip Ullah and Mike Robinson suggest one particular technique of process analysis, the “Value-added Analysis”, which is performed at each step of the process. In this analysis, each step is categorized into one of three categories.
First category is the “step adds real value”, second is “step adds business value”, and the last is the “step adds no value”.
Once all the steps within the process are put into their categories, the next step of value-added analysis is to speed up the steps that fall into the first category, or those that add real value to the output of the process.
Then the business value steps are minimized or eliminated and the no-value steps are entirely eliminated. This is done through automation and process re-designs (Ullah & Robson 1996).
Another common technique used for process analysis is the “Cycle time analysis”. In this technique, distinct maximum and minimum processing times are allocated to each process step. Delay and lag times are also measured for each step.
This technique usually reveals that out of the entire process time only 5 or 10% is the only actual work time. Such findings help you to recognize areas that need improvement and suggest measures to make these improvements for the future. Cycle time can be reduced by electronic work flow and centralized data stores.
Other than these two techniques, there are other techniques that can be used for process analysis. The important ones are gap analysis, root-cause analysis, examining experience, and observation. Other common techniques are customer requirement analysis, Pareto analysis, Matrices analysis, supplier feedback, role playing, and so on (Long 2012).
The process scrutiny stage is frequently the stage that is not given much attention because of various reasons. Nevertheless, it is also the stage that is most likely to bring about the highest Return on Investment that all other phases.
- Belize, D. (2011). Process Analysis Tools and Techniques. Available: http://danielbelize.hubpages.com/hub/Process-Analysis Last accessed 6th February 2013.
- Robson, M. and Ullah, P. (1996). A Practical Guide to Business Process Re-engineering. England: Gower Publishing Ltd.
- Long,K.A.(2012). Outline of Common Procedure Analysis Techniques, Business Rules Journal, 13 (12). Available: http://www.BRCommunity.com/a2012/b679.html Last Accessed 6th February 2013.
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