Trial And Error Is No Substitute For Business Process Simulation
Keith is working on revamping the purchase order system at his company. His current system generates a lot of issues, and Keith wants to try something new that could potentially make the process much more efficient and robust.
In his current system, if he wants to make any change, it has to be done in a live environment. The changes Keith wants to make might mess up current orders and his management won’t approve his experiments without clear evidence.
What can he do? The answer is Business Process Simulation.
What is Business Process Simulation?
Business process simulation is the analysis and experimentation of a business processes in a virtual environment without all the risks and problems that can arise by testing something in a live environment.
With a simulated environment, there are no risks of a process crashing and halting productivity in the office. With business process simulation, you’re assured of having a stable environment where you can work with different ideas and implementations to see what sticks and what doesn’t. Using business process simulation, you can even work on radical new ideas that haven’t been tested before to see if they make a meaningful benefit to the process that you’re working on.
This is the advantage that business process simulation modeling gives the user: a safe environment where new features, processes, and ideas can be tested without having to worry about impacting productivity in the workplace.
When Should You Apply Business Process Simulation?
Business process simulation is the ideal path when:
- You want to significantly change a process, but don’t know the results
- You are working with a mission-critical process that can’t be stopped
- You want real data on how a process might perform in a certain condition
Steps in Business Process Simulation
- Decide on the metrics you will use to evaluate. Do you hope the new process is faster? Saves money? Results in fewer errors? Collect specific data on the existing process.
- Select a business process modeling tool. Choose one that has an easy drag-and-drop interface and doesn’t require any complex coding.
- Design the improved process. Make the necessary changes to your existing process and create the optimal solution.
- Run the business process simulation. Collect all the necessary data to prove your hypothesis.
- Decide what to implement in the new process. Make any changes to your existing process based on the results.
Benefits of Business Process Simulation
Use Virtual Resources
In a virtual environment, you’re not limited by the number of staff and resources to test and develop something. Using a simulated environment helps you overcome these challenges and see which processes and ideas work and which don’t, using the virtual resources at hand.
Experiment With Different Ideas
You can define your own input variables to test the process and see how it would perform under a variety of conditions. Using this data, you can change the parameters of the model, or even the model as a whole, to suit your requirements. This way, you can test out different ideas and models, helping you build a truly robust process that can perform under a variety of conditions.
Find Mistakes Before They Happen
Another benefit of business process simulation modeling is the fact that you can debug your processes in a virtual environment. This way, you’re ensuring that you’re fixing all the bugs before the process goes live, which is infinitely better than finding bugs when the process is live.
Real Results or Not?
Within your team, there can be a number of ideas that everyone wants to implement. But even if they sound good on paper, there’s no guarantee that they’ll provide real world benefits. Business process simulation is a great way to try out new ideas to see if they actually deliver the results that they’re promising. If they are, you can take it to the test stage of development. If they don’t, you can either find out what’s wrong and fix it, or drop the process entirely.
This method of checking for results before the process is even on the floor can help businesses cushion or prevent any impact inefficient processes could have on actual productivity.
Cheaper Design Costs
Using business process simulation modeling, you can root out inefficient models and processes from the design stage. This saves a lot of time that would otherwise be spent in developing an inefficient model. Business process simulation ensures that you’re only spending money developing a model that can actually give you real world benefits.
Testing Improvements Are Easier
If you have an existing process model and all you really want to do is ensure that it’s improved or scaled up to your current operations, process simulation is a good way to see which improvements work and which don’t, without having to tamper with an already live process.
Connecting Business Process Simulation To BPM
Business process simulation has proven to be incredibly useful when making theoretical models and changes to processes. But how does it relate to business process management?
With the right process modeling software, you can model the designs that you’ve made in the simulations to the modeling phase. This way, you’re translating direct simulations into working models that can be used in development of those process models.
Proven models can be tested in the real world to see their effects, while inefficient processes don’t even have to leave the design phase. This saves a lot of time and effort when it comes to business process management. This is where simulation shines, since it’s being used as a supportive element to business process management.
For Keith, business process simulation turns out to be a lifesaver that helps him test out new features and process models without having to experiment in a live environment. This way, he can test out the purchase order process with a number of variables and parameters to see if the model that he has developed is good enough to be a replacement for the existing process. Business process simulation modeling has not only saved him the time of developing everything for execution, but also given him the space that he needs to try out new ideas without having to worry about untested ideas bringing the office to a grinding halt.
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