In-Plants Need Business Process Improvement Too!

By | April 26, 2012

How does a company’s internal business communication organization, often referred to as “In-Plants”, go about adjusting to “today’s new reality?”  Reading In-Plants: “The Times They Are A-Changin’” by Barb Pellow in the April 12th “What They Think?” caused me to reflect.  The article did a great job defining the market dynamics that internal business communication organizations must adjust to.  The breadth and detail of the changes seem overwhelming. Furthermore, the details and statistics shown seem to indicate that the in-plants are either resisting, or unable to embrace the changes required.

Business Process Improvement, (BPI), utilized by many outsource and commercial business communication resources to improve their performance and competitiveness, can also help In-Plants by using a structured approach to embracing the changes needed to meet market demands. Taking inventory of the current business process, work flows, and organization’s skills, BPI defines the internal company current state.  Part of this methodology involves engaging the participation of a cross-functional team of internal business customers, from marketing, to IT, and through other critical functions, providing a vehicle to collect valuable inputs to define the requirements and priorities which the in-plant uses to build a future state definition.  Once the future state is drafted, the same cross- functional team provides feedback and suggests changes.  By focusing on the end-to-end process, and not an isolated area or individuals, the methodology is non-threatening and encourages open and candid collaboration.

With the future state clearly defined, the organization can identify gaps and overlaps between current and future state in the process, workflow, and staff skills.  This data can be formatted into a step-by-step plan of action, with priorities and interconnectivities defined for the transition.  BPI can also assist in defining the key metrics to measure ongoing performance progress in making the In-Plants more competitive in capabilities, cycle time, and quality.

Thanks to Barb for the thought provoking article and sobering statistics to help us see the big picture. I hope you all see BPI as I do, as a tool to help respond to the “changin’ times”.

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