8 Common Misconceptions About Business Process Improvement

Last updated: Feb 21, 2023

For many businesses, the idea of improving processes and becoming more efficient is an appealing goal. While most professionals would agree that process improvement should be a priority for their business, there are a few common misconceptions surrounding the concept of business process improvement, or BPI, and how to implement it.


Let's explore what business process improvement is, how it can positively impact your business and common misunderstandings that you might have about BPI.


What is Business Process Improvement?

Business process improvement  is a powerful strategy for optimizing operations and increasing organizational efficiency. It involves analyzing existing processes to identify weaknesses, streamlining procedures, introducing organization-wide systems that support collaboration, and utilizing technology to improve results. According to Adam Coffey, making process improvement a priority can help your organization create healthy, sustainable growth over time and increase profit.


Business process improvement allows companies to maximize their resources and increase profits over time – a priority for many managers and professionals.


What Are Some Common Misconceptions About BPI? 

Business process improvement is a hot topic among business owners and company leaders, but unfortunately, there's still a lot of misinformation out there. This can be confusing for anyone trying to start or develop their own improvement initiatives, as misconceptions can make it difficult to know where to begin. Let's explore some of the most common misconceptions about business process improvement.


8. Process Improvement is Only for Big Businesses

One common belief is that business process improvement is only for large businesses that have already scaled significantly. However, the truth is that companies of all sizes can use BPI to improve efficiency and effectiveness. In fact, many small businesses can benefit significantly from BPI.


According to Teamly, a SaaS company helping businesses increase employee productivity, investing in process improvement is crucial to growth in an organization's early years. Process improvement is vital for small businesses to streamline operations and reduce costs.


Two managers discussing process improvement.


7. Efficiency is the Sole Goal of Process Improvement

While efficiency is undoubtedly a desired outcome of process improvement, it's not the only goal. Business process improvement can also help businesses produce higher-quality products and services, all while reducing overall costs and eliminating waste. Additionally, prioritizing process improvement can help your company increase customer satisfaction by granting you a better understanding of how to serve your buyers best.


6. Process Improvement is Strictly for Manufacturing Businesses

Another common myth about process improvement is that it's only applicable to manufacturing businesses. While BPI was initially developed for manufacturing organizations, it can be used by any company to improve processes. Specifically, many service-based businesses benefit greatly from BPI as it helps them to improve customer service and increase efficiency.


5. Process Improvement Only Works for Businesses with a Problem

Many managers and professionals wrongly believe that process improvement is only for businesses with existing problems. On the contrary, BPI can be used by any organization, regardless of whether they are navigating an issue. Many companies use process improvement as a preventative measure to avoid problems in the future and maintain a competitive edge.


4. Businesses Must Completely Redesign Their Processes to See Improvements

While some companies require massive changes, often a few small changes can make a big difference in efficiency and improved results. For example, a business might implement a new software system that automates part of its process, or it might simply change how it trains its employees on new procedures. Both of these minor adjustments can lead to improved efficiency and eliminate waste.


3. Businesses Must Invest in Expensive Technology to Improve Their Processes

While technology can certainly help to improve processes, it's not always necessary (or cost-effective) to invest in the latest and greatest technology. For example, according to ASQ, control charts are a simple but powerful way to find and correct problems, determine whether a process is stable, and predict the range of outcomes from a process. Sometimes, simple solutions, such as developing simple maps alongside your team, can be beneficial in identifying areas for improvement.


Two managers trying to improve their business processes.


2. Businesses Must Hire Consultants to Improve Their Processes

Hiring a consultant can undoubtedly be helpful, but it's not always necessary (or affordable). There are many resources available that can help businesses to improve their processes on their own. Additionally, encouraging your employees to partake in continuing education around process improvement can benefit their careers as well as your organization.


1. Improving Processes is a One-Time Event

Businesses should view process improvement as an ongoing journey rather than a one-time event. Processes are constantly changing and evolving, so it's essential to review and update them regularly. According to KaiNexus, 1 in 10 continuous process improvement efforts will save money, while 1 in 4 improvements will save time. Investing in process improvement efforts year after year will help your organization thrive. 


How to Start Utilizing Process Improvement at Your Company

Process improvement can be a great way to help your company reach new heights of efficiency and cost savings. To get started, survey your staff on current processes and the bottlenecks they experience.


After gaining insight into how work is currently done, consider a process mapping software that can help you visualize and optimize those processes so that you can identify inefficiencies. Once identified, prioritize interventions for streamlining.


Ask for feedback from staff as these changes are made. This will help you gauge the success of the updates and allow you to document the results. By doing this, you'll have a strong foundation in improved process management and updated systems that will become an invaluable asset to your business.


Ready to learn more about how BPI can impact your organization and even benefit your career? USF offers a variety of courses to help you learn the knowledge and skillset to master process improvement. Enroll in an upcoming program today!


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