Reducing the Rework

In a previous blog, I talked about getting back to basics with BPM and today I’d like to focus on one area in particular that every company has to deal with: rework. From a case that is missing a necessary document to a user forgetting to perform a required task to simply leaving a field blank, the amount of time and procedures required to handle a processing error are commonplace within all organizations.

Return to Sender

In any business process, there needs to be a check to make sure that as work goes through the process, there weren’t any errors from the previous step that prevents the work from being done in the next. This is represented by this simple flow chart:

While this is pretty easy for a simple two-step process, what if it’s a more complicated process with many steps? The error checks cumulatively build as you progress farther down the line.

As work enters a new step, you not only have to check for errors from the previous step but in every step that occurred prior the current one. By the time you get to Step 3, you are checking for errors in Step 1 and Step 2. If this was a 6 or 7 step process, you can see how cumbersome this can become and one that invites problems and increases the amount of processing time as the work makes its way through the workflow.

Not only does having checks for errors in each step of the process make that process more complicated it also means that organizations must provide rules and procedures to follow in the event that something must be returned. These procedures can be even more complex if the returns have to go outside the department from where the item is being worked. This means written procedures, training, audits, and additional overhead simply to handle the return of errors, let alone correcting them.

Enter BPMS

Business Process Management Software (BPMS) provides numerous ways to not only help speed up the rework process but also reducing the need for rework from the start. Depending on the software package provided by a BPM vendor, here are some common ways to avoid errors and eliminate the need for rework:

  • Automated checkpoints within a workflow – By utilizing key metadata that is stored within the work item, rules can key off this data to validate…

  • Required formatting of values

  • If any key fields are blank

  • Going against back end systems or databases to make sure the metadata is correct