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16 Examples of Business Processes Every Organization Should Know

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16 Examples of Business Processes Every Organization Should Know
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16 Examples of Business Processes Every Organization Should Know

Business processes work behind the scenes, keeping operations running smoothly while taking none of the credit.

There’s an air of mystery around what these business processes actually are.

While every action within a company, from onboarding a new employee to scheduling breaks, can be considered a process, not all are optimized for efficiency.

Instead of being a series of connected tasks, a business process is a meticulously designed system to avoid waste and be more efficient. This intentional design is what helps an organization to reduce costs, free up more time, and produce higher-quality work.

When these processes are neglected or become outdated, bottlenecks start to set in, and inefficiencies infect operations.

In this article, we will look at business process examples to give you a clear idea of how to create a more efficient work environment. We’ll discuss the most important business processes and help you master productivity.

Business Process

What is a Business Process?

A business process is a structured set of activities or tasks that lead to a specific organizational goal. It’s the roadmap that guides an employee from the beginning of a task to its completion.

They should be optimized to make the best use of available resources while achieving objectives in a timely manner without minimal disruption.

A business process is characterized by several key traits:

  • Purpose: Every process has a clear objective, whether delivering a product to a customer, resolving a client query, or launching a new marketing campaign.
  • Sequence: Processes are often sequential. They have a defined order of operations, ensuring tasks are carried out most efficiently.
  • Repeatability: Most business processes should be repeatable. They’re designed to be executed in the same way, time and time again, ensuring consistency and predictability.
  • Automation: Where possible, menial tasks should be automated. Doing so allows team members to focus on high-value work.
  • Stakeholders: Processes often involve multiple stakeholders, from team members and departments to external partners and customers.

Now, the concept of a business process seems fairly straightforward. A series of tasks that takes you from point A to point B.

However, not all processes are created equal. Most can be broken down into two categories: routine and non-routine processes. Let’s look at how they differ:

Routine Processes

Routine Processes are those that occur regularly within an organization. They’re predictable and, as the name suggests, routine.

For instance, invoicing clients at the end of each month, processing payroll, or restocking inventory are all examples of routine processes. These processes are often well-documented and follow a strict pattern, ensuring the same outcome is achieved each time.

Parts of these processes are primed for automation because they are repetitive, consistent, and follow a set pattern. Automating such tasks eliminates the possibility of human error and builds consistency into the process.

Non-routine Processes

Non-routine Processes are less predictable as they don’t occur on a regular basis. These might include handling a customer complaint that’s out of the ordinary, managing a crisis, or launching a new product.

Non-routine processes often require more flexibility and adaptability, as they might not follow a strict sequence and could vary based on the specific situation.

In these situations, automation has less maneuverability, but that’s not to say there isn’t a place for it. While automation might not drive the entire process, it can assist in areas like data collection, analysis, and communication, providing insights that can help inform and refine these non-routine processes.

Automation in Business Processes

The Role of Automation in Business Processes

Staying ahead often means finding ways to create a more lean operation.

Enter automation—a game-changer when creating business processes. Automation involves using technology to perform repetitive tasks without human intervention, thereby streamlining operations and enhancing productivity.

For instance, automation tools can instantly populate fields instead of manually entering data into spreadsheets, eliminating hours of manual labor.

Here are a few benefits of introducing automation to your business processes:

  • Efficiency: Automation speeds up processes, reducing the time from initiation to completion. Tasks that once took hours can now be completed in minutes, freeing up resources for other essential activities.
  • Accuracy: Human error is a natural part of any manual process. Automation, however, ensures that tasks are performed consistently and correctly every time, reducing the risk of mistakes that can be costly in terms of time, money, and reputation.
  • Scalability: As businesses grow, their processes can become more complex. Automation allows for scalability, ensuring that as the volume of tasks increases, they can still be handled efficiently without the need for proportional increases in resources.

Automation isn’t just a new trend that will fade out—it’s a necessity for modern businesses aiming for growth and sustainability.

By automating core and ancillary processes, companies operate at peak efficiency, maintain high levels of accuracy, and are poised for scalable growth in the future.

Create Business Processes

How To Create Business Processes

Every business process follows a similar design regardless of its complexity or domain.

Let’s break down the components involved in a typical business process:

  • Inputs: These are the raw materials or initial data required to kickstart a process. For a manufacturing process, inputs might be raw materials; for a digital marketing campaign, it could be customer data.
  • Resources: Resources are the tools, equipment, software, or even human resources needed to transform inputs into outputs. In a bakery, for instance, ovens, mixers, and bakers are the essential resources.
  • Guidelines: These are the set of rules, protocols, or standard operating procedures that dictate how the process should be carried out. Guidelines ensure consistency and quality across repeated executions of the same process.
  • Outputs: The end result of any business process. It’s what you achieve after inputs are processed using resources, following the set guidelines. In a sales process, the output might be a closed deal or a new customer acquisition.

Now, let’s look at the lifecycle of a business process:

  • Design: This is the blueprint phase. Here, the process is defined, and its objectives are set, ensuring alignment with organizational goals.
  • Modeling: In this phase, the process is visualized, often using flowcharts or specialized software, to understand its flow and potential bottlenecks.
  • Execution: The actual implementation of the process, transforming inputs into outputs.
  • Monitoring: Once executed, the process is continuously tracked to ensure it’s running efficiently and meeting its objectives.
  • Optimization: Based on monitoring insights, the process is refined and tweaked to improve efficiency, reduce costs, or enhance outputs.

Understanding the anatomy and lifecycle of a business process lays the foundation for workflow optimization. Armed with this knowledge, stakeholders can make informed decisions across departments and tasks, from operational to management.

In the following sections, we’ll provide key business process examples to give you a clearer picture of how this all comes together.

Core Business Processes Examples

Core Business Processes Examples

From tiny one-person businesses to large multinational conglomerates, business processes are essential to smooth operations. Broadly speaking, we can categorize these into four main types: Operational, Supporting, Management, and Innovation processes
.
Here are some examples of what each one looks like:

1. Operational Processes:

Operational processes, often termed as primary processes, are the day-to-day tasks that directly impact the customer experience or the core business. They are the frontline processes that deal with the company’s main activity.

Example: Order Management

This process involves receiving orders from customers, processing these orders, and ensuring timely delivery. It’s a critical process for businesses, especially in the retail and e-commerce sectors.

Steps Involved:

  • Receiving the order from the customer
  • Checking product availability
  • Confirming the order
  • Packaging and shipping
  • Providing the customer with a tracking number
  • Ensuring delivery and receiving feedback

Example: Customer Support

This process is all about addressing customer queries, complaints, or feedback.

Steps Involved:

  • Receiving a query or complaint from the customer
  • Logging the issue
  • Assigning it to a relevant team or individual
  • Resolving the issue
  • Communicating the resolution to the customer
  • Following up for feedback

2. Supporting Processes:

Supporting processes, while not being core business activities, play a role in the efficiency and effectiveness of operational processes.

Example: Accounting

This process involves recording, summarizing, and analyzing financial transactions of an organization.

Steps Involved:

  • Recording daily financial transactions
  • Reconciling bank statements
  • Preparing monthly financial statements
  • Conducting internal audits
  • Filing tax returns

Example: Recruitment

This process is centered around attracting, selecting, and appointing suitable candidates for jobs within an organization.

Steps Involved:

  • Posting job vacancies
  • Receiving and reviewing applications
  • Shortlisting candidates
  • Conducting interviews
  • Offering employment contracts
  • Onboarding new employees

3. Management Processes:

Management processes are activities that govern operational processes. They involve decision-making and strategic planning to ensure the organization is on the right track to achieving its objectives.

Example: Corporate Governance

This process ensures that an organization is run in a manner that meets the regulatory, ethical, and business standards.

Steps Involved:

  • Establishing policies and procedures
  • Ensuring compliance with laws and regulations
  • Conducting regular board meetings
  • Reviewing organizational performance
  • Engaging with stakeholders

Example: Budgeting

This process involves planning an organization’s financials to ensure that resources are allocated efficiently.

Steps Involved:

  • Reviewing past financial data
  • Setting financial objectives
  • Allocating resources
  • Monitoring expenditures and revenues
  • Adjusting the budget as necessary

4. Innovation Processes:

Innovation processes are centered around developing and improving products, services, or procedures. They are necessary for businesses that want to stay competitive and out-innovate the other companies in their field.

Example: Research and Development (R&D)

This process involves researching and developing new products or improving existing ones to meet the market’s changing demands or to introduce new innovations.

Steps Involved:

  • Identifying market needs
  • Conducting research
  • Developing prototypes
  • Testing and refining the product
  • Launching the product in the market
  • Gathering feedback for further improvements

The different types of business processes and examples above only show the most broad application in an organization. As you’ll know, each business is its own entity with many nuances and unique challenges.

While the overarching principles of business processes remain consistent, the specific implementation, tools, and strategies can vary widely based on an organization’s industry, size, culture, and goals.

For instance, a tech startup might prioritize agile methodologies and rapid iteration. At the same time, a century-old manufacturing firm might emphasize rigorous quality checks and hierarchical decision-making.

We don’t want to leave you with just the basics of the business process, so let’s move on to how these can be applied to different departments.

Key Business Processes Examples

Key Business Processes Examples By Department

Each department in an organization has its own tasks and objectives to fulfill. Creating business processes is just as important when we start looking at the granular level of individual departments.

Let’s explore some of these departmental processes:

1. Supply Chain Management:

Supply chain management (SCM) is the approach to managing the flow of goods, services, and information from suppliers to end-users. It ensures that products are produced and delivered to the right place, at the right time, and at the right cost.

SCM optimizes the entire product lifecycle, from raw material sourcing to product delivery, ensuring timely availability and reducing costs.

Steps Involved:

  • Supplier selection and relationship management
  • Inventory management and forecasting
  • Order processing
  • Warehousing and transportation
  • Customer service and feedback

2. Sales and Marketing:

The sales and marketing process is the force that drives an organization’s revenue. It involves strategies to promote products or services, attract potential customers, and convert leads into sales.

Effective sales and marketing strategies not only boost revenue but also create viability for the brand and encourage customer loyalty; it’s an important one to get right.

Steps Involved:

  • Market research to identify target audiences and their preferences
  • Developing marketing campaigns tailored to the target audience
  • Implementing sales techniques to close deals
  • Analyzing campaign performance and adjusting strategies accordingly
  • Building and nurturing customer relationships for repeat business

3. Quality Assurance:

Quality assurance (QA) is the systematic process of ensuring that products or services meet specified requirements and standards. It’s about delivering the best possible product to the customer every single time.

QA builds trust with customers, reduces errors and rework, and ensures consistent product quality.

Steps Involved:

  • Setting quality standards based on customer needs and industry benchmarks
  • Regularly inspecting and testing products or services against these standards
  • Identifying areas of improvement and implementing corrective actions.
  • Training teams on quality protocols
  • Continuously monitoring and updating quality standards

4. Product Development:

Product development is the lifeblood of tech companies. It encompasses the journey from conceptualizing a product to its launch.

Staying competitive in the tech world requires continuous innovation and the ability to bring new products to market efficiently.

Steps Involved:

  • Ideation and conceptualization of a product based on market needs
  • Design and prototyping
  • Testing and quality assurance
  • Launch and post-launch support

5. Order Fulfilment:

For e-commerce businesses, order fulfillment is the end-to-end process of receiving, processing, and delivering customer orders.

Timely and accurate order fulfillment is crucial for customer satisfaction and loyalty in the e-commerce space.

Steps Involved:

  • Receiving orders through the online platform
  • Picking and packing products in the warehouse
  • Shipping and logistics management
  • Handling returns and exchanges

6. Patient Care:

In the healthcare sector, patient care is the central process, ensuring that patients receive the best possible care tailored to their needs.

The quality of patient care directly impacts individuals’ health outcomes and the healthcare institution’s reputation.

Steps Involved:

  • Patient admission and initial assessment
  • Diagnosis and treatment planning
  • Medical intervention and monitoring
  • Discharge and post-treatment follow-up

Recognizing, refining, and optimizing these key business processes is necessary for every department and the wider organization to thrive and maintain its competitive edge. But we don’t want to leave it there. Let’s discuss the less apparent processes necessary for protecting your business.

Critical Business Processes Examples

Critical Business Processes Examples for Safeguarding

Safeguarding your business is more than just another process to draw up. It’s how you protect yourself, your staff, and your clients from malicious behavior.

In this section, we’re going over the three processes that shouldn’t be overlooked:

1. Crisis Management:

Crisis management is the structured approach a business takes in response to unexpected and potentially harmful events. These events could range from natural disasters to PR scandals.

A well-handled crisis can protect a company’s reputation, while poor management can lead to significant financial and reputational damage.

Steps Involved:’

  • Identifying potential crises and assessing their impact
  • Developing a crisis response plan with clear roles and responsibilities
  • Communicating effectively with stakeholders during the crisis
  • Post-crisis analysis and refining the response plan for future incidents

2. Data Protection and Cybersecurity:

Data protection and cybersecurity are fundamental requirements for any business operating online or using any computer-based tools. Safeguarding sensitive information from breaches and unauthorized access is crucial.

Data breaches can lead to financial losses, legal repercussions, and a tarnished brand image.

Steps Involved:

  • Conducting regular risk assessments to identify vulnerabilities
  • Implementing robust cybersecurity measures, including firewalls, encryption, and multi-factor authentication
  • Training employees on data protection best practices
  • Regularly updating and patching systems to defend against new threats

3. Compliance and Regulatory Adherence:

Compliance and regulatory adherence refer to a business’s commitment to abide by industry regulations, laws, and standards. This can range from financial reporting standards to environmental regulations.

Non-compliance can result in hefty fines, legal actions, and a damaged reputation.

Steps Involved:

  • Staying updated with relevant laws and regulations
  • Implementing internal controls and audits to ensure adherence.
  • Training staff on compliance requirements
  • Promptly addressing any non-compliance issues and rectifying them

While all business processes are essential, these critical processes demand an extra layer of attention and precision. In many countries, it’s not just something you should do; it’s a legal requirement. Consider Europe’s GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which outline strict guidelines for data protection and consumer privacy.

Proper execution and continuous refinement of these processes are non-negotiable for organizations aiming for long-term success and resilience.

Conclusion

From the daily routines to the unexpected challenges, the depth and breadth of business processes span across every department and touch every aspect of an organization.

Regularly review, refine, and adapt your processes to the changing needs of your business. You’ll be well-positioned to navigate the complexities of running a business with agility and foresight.

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