How a Process Library Can Solve Business Efficiency Problems


Brad Fagan
04/24/2018

If your organisation is having business efficiency problems or you just want to continually improve, you should definitely consider getting a Process Library. Having a Process Library ensures that employees perform the same process, using the same process methods. A great misconception in business today is that efficiency problems owe largely to a lack of employee engagement, but if you don't have a standard way of working, the same task will be performed in ten different ways, by ten different people.

In this article, I take a look at what a Process Library is, how a Process Library can store documents, help you standardise your way of working and dramatically enhance your business efficiency (using an interactive Process Library example).

What is a Process Library?

A Process Library is a database of processes, documents and work instructions -  but is more than just a place to store documents. Process Libraries contains process maps that describe:

  • The tasks to be performed - in the form of policies, guides or process maps
  • The deliverables produced -  the outputs captured using templates provided
  • The process workflow - the inherent dependencies
  • How the work is to be performed - techniques used
  • The tools that will be used to perform the work
  • Employee roles and responsibilities
  • Metrics used for improving the process

Process Libraries can be easily searched, and report on the information that they hold in ways that support business efficiency, for example with RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed) reports and reports on how much each process costs.

What Problems Can be Solved With a Process Library?

Many organisations don't understand how much they need a process management system - a Process Library. Of the questions that we receive most at Triaster, the 15 most common ones are:

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All of these problems can be solved by implementing a Process library – a Process Library that is useful, usable and used, always improves business efficiency.

I will put it another way. Think about your own organisation. How many problems could be solved by creating a single source of truth for all business processes? How many efficiency problems could be solved by making processes easily accessible to the staff that need them throughout the organisation? Process Libraries don't just store documents, they change organisational culture.

If you would like to see how New Charter managed to save £350K per annum with their Process Library, take a look at the New Charter case study.

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How Can a Process Library Help an Organisation?

Implementing a Process Library could help any organisation to:

  • Break down silos
  • Keep knowledge in the organisation, not in the person - when key people leave their knowledge should stay in the organisation
  • Grant access to specific employees to documents that impact their process areas
  • Support culture change and business efficiency
  • Create greater employee responsibility and ownership of processes as a result
  • Documenting processes within a library captures a current process as it is so you can identify improvement opportunities
  • Ensure your business management system is useful and used.
  • Make sure process changes are useful and deliver improvement

It is especially important to cater for the last two points, because if your Process Library doesn't look great and feel easy to use, it won't get used.

Process Libraries > Cultural Change > Continual Improvement = Business Efficiency

Process Libraries

If you take a look at some of the organisations Triaster have worked with, each one collaborated with our designers to produce a unique management system, structured in such a way that it would be useful to their employees.

  • Skanska UK implemented Our Way of Working to adopt a single interface for nine operating companies
  • New Charter wanted a design that had broad appeal and offered a simple, clean and quality feel - as their library is their sole reference for their way of working
  • Equifax UK implemented their Process Library HUB so that staff could find key information in as few clicks as possible 
  • Lockheed Martin's QMS design on their Touchstone Process Library separates core processes from supporting functions with a library resources section on the right of the page.
  • The University of Winchester used their student centre building as the main focal point for their library and the functionality is designed around the question 'How do I?' as in 'how do I register for a new course?'
  • Interserve FM's Process Library, PRISM, serves as the gateway to four sub-libraries, developed by each of Interserve's business units (Defence, Industrial Services, Civil Government and commercial)

To see the Process Library designs that Triaster have created for many different organisations, take a look at the Triaster Process Library showcase; and to see how the organisations above implemented business efficiency in greater detail, download the Business Improvement E-book which chronicles the improvement journey of eight organisations and how they went from business problem to business improvement.

Cultural Change

To deliver the benefits explained above, a Process Library must sit at the heart of the organisation because if it is seen as an optional add-on it, won't be used and it won't support any sort of change.

This is why our customers work with Triaster’s designers to create a Process Library that presents their organisation's unique business management structure in a library that will have broad appeal and usability throughout their organisations.

Simplicity, structure and layout are key for employees to work efficiently and adopt a management system as a standard way of working.

Continual Improvement

You cannot improve processes unless:

  • You know what they are - if you don't know how a process is broken or inefficient then you won't be able to fix it.
  • You have a standard way of working in your organisation - you can create the most efficient and least wasteful process on the planet but unless it's being used by employees who actually carry out the process then it's just a big waste of time and energy.

Continual improvement only exists where the process is captured, shared, used, then improved - this is known as the 4 pillars of continual improvement. For more on this, read our article on the 4 pillars.

Interactive Process Library Example

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Take a look at the interactive Process Library example in the image above. When I click on 'Process Library', it takes me to... 

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the process library page displaying different processes for different departments. If I click on the 'Customer Success' department it takes me to...

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the Customer Success page displaying the process types for the customer success team. If I then click on 'Support'...

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I am taken to the Support page which houses all the processes that exist in the Support folder.

The structure of the Process Library exists so that employees can easily and quickly find what they are looking for in a structured, interactive and engaging way. 

If I then click on 'Escalate an Issue' it will take me to the corresponding process map.

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Each process has a process map displaying how the employee should perform that specific process. In this case, the process is  'Escalate an Issue'. If I zoom in a little closer... 

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you can see how a process is captured (using the Triaster Noun/Verb methodology) and how a process should be performed. The shapes within the process map are different for a reason. Each shape represents either an activity, deliverable or a decision (all three are shown in the picture below).

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This makes it easy to understand which steps in the process add value and which do not. You can calculate the value within the process steps (shown as shapes above) by clicking on the specific shape required and recording cost, effort, frequency of occurrence, risk, queue time and the value stream status of each activity which is shown in the image below.

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The capture of this data will allow you to understand the value adding, non-value adding and necessary non value adding steps in the process chain.

Take a look at this interactive Process Library example to get the full scope of what Process Libraries can do; this is the same library I have taken all of the above images from. You can either follow the steps I have just described above or have a play around, use the Search functionality and look at other areas (which contain other processes, policies and forms). 

Successful Process Library Case Studies

Now that you understand what a Process Library is and how it can help improve business efficiency (in theory), I encourage you to look at the Business Improvement E-book which chronicles how 8 organisations used their Process Libraries to put the pillars of continual improvement (Capture, Share, Use and Improve) into practice to improve their business processes and increase business efficiency.