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Business Process Optimization: How-to, Tips, + Examples

Picture this: your business humming like a well-orchestrated symphony, with every part working in perfect harmony. From efficient workflows to seamless customer experiences, your organization is firing on all cylinders. Sounds amazing, right? Well, get ready to turn that vision into reality with the power of business process optimization.

At CyberMedics, we'll uncover the secrets of optimizing your business processes. Whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur or a budding business enthusiast, we'll equip you with the knowledge and tools to streamline processes, slash unnecessary costs, and achieve remarkable results.

Ready? Let's go.

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Quick refresher: What is process optimization?

Business process optimization is the practice of using methods, techniques, and data-driven insights to increase process speed, accuracy, and efficiency. It's all about understanding your processes in order to make sure that they're running as smoothly as possible.

Optimization can involve a variety of activities such as streamlining workflows, improving customer experience, reducing unnecessary costs, or increasing output. The goal is to improve the way your business runs and make it more profitable in the long run.

How important is business process optimization?

  1. It Boosts Efficiency and Productivity: Imagine your business as a well-oiled machine, running smoothly without any hiccups. That's what Business Process Optimization does. It clears the clutter, streamlines operations, and helps your team work faster and smarter. Productivity shoots up, and so does your bottom line.

  2. BPO Cuts Down Costs: No one likes to see money going down the drain, right? By automating business processes, organizations save an average of $51,000 per year. You ensure resources are used wisely, and time isn't wasted on unnecessary tasks – this means savings in your pocket and a healthier financial statement.

  3. You Delight Customers: We all know a happy customer is a loyal customer. When processes are optimized, mistakes drop, response times speed up, and customers feel valued. It's a simple equation: better processes equal better customer service.

  4. Gain a Competitive Edge: In the business world, being able to quickly adapt to changes is like having a superpower. Companies that continually optimize are the superheroes of their industries. They're agile, innovative, and always a step ahead of the competition.

  5. Drives Better Decisions: Who doesn't want to make smarter decisions? With optimized processes, you get accurate, reliable data that you can base your decisions on. It's like having a crystal ball showing you the best way forward.

  6. Boosts Employee Morale: Picture a workplace where everyone is motivated and tasks feel meaningful. That's what you get when processes are well-optimized. Employees spend less time on boring, repetitive tasks and more time on what truly matters. This leads to happier, more engaged employees, and a great company culture.

How to optimize your business processes: 4 methods that work

Value Stream Mapping (VSM)

Think of Value Stream Mapping as a tool for unpacking a business process and understanding it from A to Z. It's like a city map that gives you a bird's eye view of the roads, buildings, and landmarks, making it easier to navigate and identify areas of congestion or inefficiency.

In the process of creating a VSM:

  • Identify each step in a particular process.

  • For each step, jot down the time and costs involved, and whether it adds value for the customer. If it does, quantify the value.

  • Once everything is mapped out with clear values, you can then use this information to design a more efficient process that eliminates or reduces the non-value adding steps.

Example in Action: Imagine a manufacturing company aiming to improve its assembly line productivity. By using VSM, a team leader notices that some assembly steps are redundant, costing both time and resources, but adding little to no value to the final product. By re-engineering the process, they eliminate these steps, saving cost and time, and improving overall productivity.

Best for: Making sense of complicated processes and spotting wasteful steps

Asking the Five Whys

Just like the name suggests, the Five Whys method involves asking 'why' five times. It's a simple, fact-based problem-solving technique that takes you on a journey to the root cause of an issue. It's like peeling an onion layer by layer, digging deeper into the problem with each 'why'.

The key to this technique is grounding your answers in verifiable facts. Each answer should be based on what actually happened, not what might have happened. The repeated questioning helps you trace the problem back to its root cause.

Example in Action: Suppose an e-commerce company experiences a sudden drop in website traffic. They use the Five Whys to find the root cause.

  1. Why #1: The website traffic has decreased.

  2. Why #2: Fewer clicks on the company's online ads.

  3. Why #3: The ad's click-through rate has dropped.

  4. Why #4: The ad copy and visuals were recently changed.

  5. Why #5: The new ad does not resonate with the target audience. They decide to revert to the old ad or create a new one that aligns more with their customers' interests.

Best for: Unraveling complex problems to find the core issue

The SIPOC Diagram

A SIPOC diagram is like a blueprint of your business process. It helps you visualize the process and identify potential improvement areas. SIPOC stands for Suppliers, Inputs, Processes, Outputs, and Customers.

To create a SIPOC diagram, list out:

  • Suppliers: The providers of resources that are crucial for the process.

  • Inputs: The resources or actions needed to carry out the process.

  • Processes: The steps taken to accomplish a task using those inputs.

  • Outputs: The result of the process, such as a product, service, or action.

  • Customers: The individuals or groups who engage with the outputs. This could include customers, partners, or team members.

Example in Action: A coffee shop owner considering the introduction of a new seasonal drink can use a SIPOC diagram. They identify the Suppliers (Coffee Bean Supplier, Dairy Supplier), Inputs (Seasonal Flavors, Coffee Beans, Milk), Process (Bean Grinding, Flavor Infusion, Mixing, Serving), Outputs (Seasonal Drink), and Customers (Coffee Shop Patrons). The owner uses this diagram to streamline the drink-making process, align budgets, and set a fair price.

Best for: Getting a broad overview of a process and spotting potential areas for improvement.

Six Sigma

Born from Motorola's quest to perfect quality control in manufacturing, Six Sigma has evolved into a robust technique for eliminating waste, enhancing accuracy, and promoting efficiency. And it's not just limited to manufacturing; you can even apply it in Agile project management. The 'Six Sigma' name stems from its goal of achieving a very low rate of errors – one that's six standard deviations away from the mean.

Six Sigma gives you two helpful acronyms to guide your problem-solving journey, depending on whether you're improving an existing process (DMAIC) or creating a new one (DMADV).


For enhancing current processes, DMAIC provides a roadmap:

  • Define: Get started by identifying the problem, setting the goal, understanding the process, defining the parameters, and knowing who your customers are.

  • Measure: Collect data that can serve as a benchmark to evaluate changes later.

  • Analyze: Investigate the data to identify potential causes for inefficiencies or failures in meeting your initial goals.

  • Improve: Develop and implement strategies to address the inefficiencies or failures, and monitor the improvements against your original measurements.

  • Control: Embed these strategies into your ongoing process to ensure sustained improvement.


When you're designing a new process, DMADV comes into play:

  • Define: Set clear goals for your new process.

  • Measure: Quantify anything crucial to the quality (CTQ) of the customer experience, product, or process outcome.

  • Analyze: Based on the measurements and desired outcomes, devise a design that fulfills your requirements.

  • Design: Build and test the process before fully implementing it to ensure it meets your expectations.

  • Verify: Roll out the process, and continuously check that it meets your goals, stays within limitations, and aligns with your expectations.

Example in Action: Consider a software development company struggling with a high rate of bugs in their code. They use the DMAIC method to reduce these bugs. They find that by implementing a stricter code review process, they can reduce the bug rate, improve the overall code quality, and save hours of debugging time.

Best for: Enhancing existing processes and creating new ones with greater accuracy.

Tips on prioritizing process optimization efforts

  • Start by spotting your VIPs (Very Important Processes): Ask yourself: What process changes can add the most value? These are the ones that affect customer satisfaction, rake in the bucks, or demand lots of time or resources. If tweaking a process could move the needle on your main business goals, that process is asking for some VIP treatment.

  • Think about impact and feasibility: Take each VIP and weigh up the pros and cons of giving it an overhaul. You're looking for a sweet spot where a little effort could make a big difference. That's your golden goose.

  • Consider the risks: Some processes are like a house of cards; touch one, and the whole thing could collapse. If you're dealing with processes linked to things like legal compliance, be ready to tread carefully. The higher the stakes, the more planning you'll need.

  • Chat with the team: The folks working on the ground often have the best insights. Talk to them. They'll let you know about the speed bumps in the process and might even have some bright ideas for smoothing things out.

  • Try a test run: If you're feeling a bit hesitant about where to start, go for a 'practice round' with a smaller process. It's a fantastic way to learn the ropes before you tackle the big beasts.

Remember, process optimization isn't a one-and-done deal. It's like maintaining a garden; you're always spotting new places to prune or plant. As your business grows and changes, your processes should follow suit.

Business process optimization examples

  1. Approval Tracking System Overhaul: Hayward Industries grappled with an antiquated approval tracking system that was labor-intensive, disconnected from its external tools, and tied to high licensing costs. Our team was brought in to streamline this process, build a new system, and usher in a much-needed update.

    1. We started by mapping out the processes of the old system, interviewing users, and identifying areas of waste. We also gathered insights on the ideal features users wanted in the new system. Some of these included an automatic reviewer identification system, user-friendly access, and insightful reporting to pinpoint process issues.

    2. Our solution hinged on Microsoft 365 and Power Apps, prioritizing integration with existing workflows, and avoiding any third-party tools outside of this environment. The new system was designed to fit like a glove into their existing processes, automatically importing/exporting data.

    3. Throughout the development, we maintained a close relationship with the Hayward team, ensuring the transition was smooth. This included setting up development, staging, and production environments in line with ITIL guidelines, conducting workshops, and teaching the Hayward IT team how to customize and manage the system going forward.

    4. The positive impacts of this overhaul were apparent: Approval tracking metrics were integrated directly into existing management dashboards, fewer rejections occurred due to incorrect approvers, and a quicker approval turnaround was observed, thanks to the new notification system. By modernizing their approval tracking system, we delivered a solution that saved time, reduced costs, and streamlined operations, making a tangible difference to Hayward Industries.

  2. Manufacturing Assembly Line Optimization: A car manufacturing company noticed an increase in the number of defects detected during quality control, which resulted in delays and additional costs. Using Six Sigma's DMAIC method, they identified the root cause: improper alignment of parts in a specific assembly stage. By tweaking the assembly process and incorporating regular calibration checks, they reduced the defect rate significantly, improving product quality and reducing production time.

  3. Customer Support Response Times: A tech company had an issue with high customer support response times. They mapped their current process with value stream mapping, revealing bottlenecks in the ticketing system and the allocation process. To tackle these issues, they introduced an AI chatbot to handle simpler inquiries and redesigned their ticket allocation system to balance the workload more evenly. As a result, response times decreased, leading to happier customers.

  4. HR Recruitment Process: A company was struggling with a lengthy recruitment process. The HR team used the 'Five Whys' technique to identify that a key issue was the time it took to schedule interviews due to the back-and-forth email communication with candidates. To streamline the process, they implemented a scheduling software, which allowed candidates to select their preferred interview slots directly. This led to a significant reduction in the time-to-hire, helping the company to secure top talent quicker.

  5. Supply Chain Management: A retail company wanted to optimize their supply chain process to reduce costs and avoid stockouts. They created a SIPOC diagram to gain a high-level understanding of their current process. The diagram revealed inconsistent communication with their suppliers as a major issue. They implemented a cloud-based inventory management system to share real-time sales data with their suppliers, improving forecasting accuracy and ensuring timely delivery of goods.

Remember, process optimization is not just about improving efficiency; it's also about enhancing customer satisfaction, reducing costs, improving quality, and staying competitive. The more efficiently your business runs, the better you can serve your customers and drive growth.

Need a hand with BPO? Call in CyberMedics.

All in all, business process optimization (BPO) is truly a game-changer. It's the secret sauce that turns good companies into great ones.

From cutting down on waste, boosting efficiency, and improving predictability to reducing costs and enhancing customer satisfaction, the importance of BPO can never be overstated. Remember, the key to successful BPO lies in analyzing your current processes, identifying bottlenecks, and employing the right strategies and tools to streamline your operations.

If you're on the hunt for a partner in your BPO journey, look no further than CyberMedics. With a proven track record of effective process optimization, like the one shown in the case study with Hayward Industries, CyberMedics is equipped with the tools, expertise, and dedication to help you transform your business. Let us help you unlock your business's full potential and pave the way to a more streamlined, efficient, and profitable future.


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