Business Performance Improvement (BPI) is an internationally recognised way of boosting organisational growth, a much-needed service in South Africa.
This is the opinion of Stephen Dewa, Performance Improvement Competency Lead at SkX Protiviti, who sees the need for implementation of BPI at state-owned enterprises (SOEs), corporates and medium-size companies. SkX Protiviti is a black-owned advisory and consulting firm in South Africa and a member firm of Protiviti International, a global consulting firm with 70 offices in 20 countries.
BPI is a practice of measuring the output of a particular business process or procedure, then modifying the process or procedure to increase the output, or efficiency or effectiveness of the process or procedure. It is also about unlocking potential opportunities that can enable and enhance performance.
“Our BPI services provide unique expertise to assist our clients to remain competitive by process reengineering, redesigning and improving their business processes and procedures, thereby improving business performance. This includes process improvements, integrating risk considerations into performance management activities and reducing working capital. Implementing these processes results in improvements to cash flow, control and optimisation of costs and risk management,” states Dewa.
“The implementation of BPI services at SOEs and private organisations could be the answer to mitigating some of their current problems. BPI services would enable the organisations to streamline their processes and leverage technology to achieve effective change management, a vital requirement if South African organisations are to regain lost ground and produce urgently needed economic growth.”
Avoid wasteful, fruitless expenditure
“Our SkX Protiviti team goes into a SOE, company or organisation, does the research and then recommends performance improvements, costs optimisation, revenue enhancement and an integrated approach. This eliminates wasteful and fruitless expenditure on such things as the duplication of processes, as each division or department then works to one objective, which is the optimum provision of goods or services to the desired target market.
“A dedicated process team, well-versed in Lean systems management, would ensure that production, distribution and administrative costs are borne by the right department, are assigned correctly and are integrated to communicate with each other. This means that clients are able to assign costs appropriately to the correct divisions, making it clear as to cost accountability and performance of each section.
“The next stage would be to analyse the processes needed to drive and support the organisational strategy. From a clearly mapped out process, controls can then be defined and expressed as SOPs or KPIs or financial requirements, making an audit of these processes more transparent and less time consuming.”
Creating Lean teams makes the difference
“What we have found in the past, is that many organisations have major assets but neglect to maintain them. Often, when there is cost cutting within an organisation, the maintenance budget is one that is downgraded.
“In terms of implementation, we find it is best to bring in our Lean team and then create a Lean team within the client’s organisation. Our Lean team is not just composed of auditors, we have engineers, management specialists and me, with a background of implementation of Lean at a major parastatal.
“The team uses logic-based tools to identify and describe cause-effect relationships that may help to determine core problems that cause the undesirable effects in the processes. We have a wide range of diagnostic tools required to unlock value from business processes and procedures.
“With the introduction of a Lean team at our clients, we can audit people who are implementing the Lean programme. Here we would assess whether techniques and tools were implemented correctly and, where there are process related problems, use Lean to identify problems, develop solutions, implement and review if the benefits of Lean are being realised. Each organisation should have a Lean champion who takes care of processing problems.”
Efficiency, effectiveness leads to profits
“Finally, the process ends with measurement of the processes and their viability – have costs come down or been contained, are manufacturing processes efficient and are auditing processes efficient and effective? All of these increase the bottom line profitability.
“At SkX Protiviti, our professionals combine proven services and capabilities to enable lasting business transformation with sustained results. By assisting in reducing working capital and improving cash flow, as well as controlling and optimising costs while managing risk, SkX Protiviti helps businesses smoothly implement changes and ensure that lasting benefits are achieved – something we believe South Africa needs urgently,” concludes Dewa.