Quick Introduction to Business Process Management

Three core concepts that make up business process management.

A process is a series of activities that leads something from start to finish.

In the context of business, a process a defined series of activities that turn an input into an output.

There are three main elements to consider when defining the transformation of inputs into outputs: the inputs and outputs themselves; flow units; and the network of activities and buffers.

Inputs and Outputs

Flow Units

A process and a flow unit are linked. Of course, a flow unit can fall under multiple processes. For example:

Process, flow and input-output examples

The Network of Activities and Buffers

Let’s use an order fulfillment process for an eCommerce company as an example.

  • Activity: Order received, payment processed, stock updated, product added to warehouse pick list.
  • Buffer: the time the product waits in the pick list queue to be picked.
  • Activity: product picked by a warehouse worker and delivered to shipping
  • Buffer: product in shipping area waiting for processing
  • Activity: product scanned by shipping worker, weighed, shipping label printed and affixed, product moved to truck

We could continue this example to the third party shipping process, but you get the idea. Each activity adds either value or moves the process forward, while each buffer adds wait time to the total process.

In conclusion, the point of business process management is to measure and improve the activities and buffers, which make up the processes that move a flow unit from input to an output.

Data visualization, tech, communications and sometimes history, religion and culture. Delete your social media.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store