September 26, 2022

Shorter process lead times? Ask yourself these ten critical questions

Some processes have long lead times. If you want to reduce these, it is important to first understand the current process, its objectives and bottlenecks. In this blog, Karen Messchendorp, senior BPM architect at BPM Company, explains what questions you need to ask yourself.

Need to shorten existing process

I am currently working as a business analyst at a Dutch banking organisation that focuses on offering mortgage, savings and payment products for individuals. Mortgage and savings customers in particular log into their banking environment only a few times a year, for example to retrieve their annual statement. If you only log in somewhere sporadically, it is natural to forget login details. In the past, customers received new login details by post. A cumbersome process. The customer requests new login details, the system creates a letter with the username, which has to be sent. Another letter with the password follows a day later, and only after receiving both letters can the customer proceed. At that moment, the customer is of course completely disconnected from the process. We thought this could be smarter.

Ask yourself the following questions

If you want to shorten or improve a process, the trick is to look at your process differently. Think out-of-the-box. After all, if you do what you always did, you will get what you always got. Start by mapping the current process and asking yourself these critical questions again at each step of the process.

1. What is the purpose of this step?

2. Why are we performing this step at this point in the process and not at another time?

3. Who is the actor in this step and why?

4. What is the lead time of this step? Can it be reduced?

5. What other systems are involved in this step?

6. Is there an alternative and is the alternative feasible?

7. Can you retrieve certain information that now has to be entered manually from existing systems? And if so, what is required to do so?

8. What are the bottlenecks in this step of the process and how can you tackle them?

Once you have the answers to these questions clear for each step, you can ask yourself two more questions:

9. Can you combine steps to reduce overall lead time?

10. And perhaps most important of all: constantly ask yourself why, to achieve your objective, the (sub-)process is set up the way it is now.

New, online process

By working with these questions, we were able to substantially shorten the above-mentioned process of the banking organisation. The process is not susceptible to fraud, as the login details only allow the customer to perform a small number of tasks, such as requesting an annual statement. Because it is a low-risk process, we were able to develop a new, online process. Now, when the customer requests new login details, the system sends the login name to the customer’s known and validated e-mail address. The customer then creates a new password himself, which of course must meet the requirements specified by the bank. The system validates the password and the customer receives a security code, first one on the validated phone number and then on the validated e-mail address. The customer enters these codes, the system saves the new password and the customer can immediately log in and perform the task he wanted to perform.

Benefits

This new process has many advantages. Not only is it shortened from a few days to a few minutes, the customer also does not have to interrupt the process to wait for the mail. The customer determines the password himself – while meeting the bank’s requirements – which makes it likely that he can remember it easily. Retyping complex passwords from a letter is a thing of the past. This mitigates the risk of fraud that can occur when physical letters are fished out of the letterbox.

Want to know more?

Wondering how we can shorten and improve processes with Pega? Many process improvements are far from rocketscience, but thanks to our years of experience in querying and analysing processes, we often see very quickly where exactly there is room for improvement. Curious how we can help your organisation further? Feel free to contact us!

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