Title: Pipeline Workshops™: Velocity Accelerators®: Business Process Improvement

The majority of SAI Consulting’s work, both in and out of homebuilding, has been about enabling clients to organize and structure themselves around their core-critical business processes;  Business Process Improvement is the area of our practice for which we are most recognized;  we have done more work in this area than any other consulting firm serving the homebuilding industry.

There is a good and simple reason why SAI focuses so much effort on documenting, redesigning, reengineering, improving, and managing business processes:

The most basic, most fundamental premise in business is this:  the existence of a business enterprise depends on its ability to make money;  the way enterprises make money is by delivering extraordinary levels of distinctive value to their customers and other stakeholders;  that value is delivered through the work those enterprises perform;  that work has to be performed in some manner of workflow;  the most common form of that workflow is work performed in processes.

Make money . . . by delivering value . . . through the work you perform . . . in processes.

From a business standpoint, processes are critically, centrally important;  processes exist – processes matter – whether homebuilders are intentional about them or not.

We constantly make the point that Pipeline workshops™ are about thriving on the velocity side of Return on Assets®, but better process workflow pays dividends on both sides of economic return;  it drives both higher margins and higher velocity, drives higher Return on Sales and higher Asset Turns.

Consider:

Start-to-Completion (the sub-process within the Prospect-to-Closing process that is the aorta of workflow in a homebuilding enterprise) is not, at its core, process management;  the workflow in Start-to-Completion is multi-project management;  it is project portfolio management, with embedded, supporting, and surrounding processes;  it is also workflow in which all of the non-supervisory work is performed by external resources (trades and suppliers).

Start-to-Completion is not managed like a process, so we don’t treat it as a process;  we don’t map it like a process;  we don’t document it as a process;  except for its embedded  and supporting processes, we exclude Start-to-Completion from process management.

All of which should make this next point striking, actually startling:  even with the Start-to-Completion workflow excluded, the results from dozens of process mapping engagements SAI has performed, over decades, suggest that 25% of all the process work a homebuilding company performs – the work that consumes a building company’s overhead – is completely non-value-adding.

Ponder that revelation for a moment.

Consider its bottom-line:

If your Operating Expense represents – consumes is more to the point – eight percent (8%) of Revenue, it means you are throwing away $20,000 of every $1,000,000 in Revenue you generate.  And, if your true Gross Margin is 18% and you are operating above breakeven, it also means you are throwing away $20,000 of every $180,000 in Revenue you would actually get to keep.

The most visible element of BPI (and BPM) is the mapping of process workflow, but process mapping involves far more than documenting – and confirming, accepting as-is – the current state of that workflow;  it includes redesigning that workflow in ways that improves it, an effort which invariably reveals other issues – the core, root causes of problems – that affect profitability and economic return.

Which makes understanding and improving workflow the means to a much more important end.

Business Process Improvement is the tip of the spear, the front-end of a continuous improvement methodology in which the activities and elements of workflow that add value are preserved, the activities and elements that add no value are eliminated, and the remaining activities and elements that enable value are refined to make the workflow more clear, more consistent, more streamlined, more connected, more succinct, more fit for its intended, defined purpose.

In the language of a Pipeline workshop™, we want a shorter, straighter pipe.

Because it is so foundational, it is impossible to overstate the importance of understanding and improving the way work is performed, before starting down the long road on other improvement initiatives, before the process of continuous improvement moves anywhere else.

In addition to being the means to a more important end – and the front-end of a process of continuous improvement – BPI ushers in a new perspective.

It shifts the organizational view away from the internal structure of work performed in functions, and towards the flow of work performed in value-adding processes;  BPI shifts the perspective from vertical to horizontal;  it turns a homebuilding enterprise 90 degrees from vertical, lays the enterprise on its side, and aligns its workflow with the value it seeks to create.

Business Process Improvement is about getting horizontal.

The relevance goes beyond the processes themselves.  Processes are the centric element of the business operating model that forms any strategic value discipline that serves to deliver exceptional levels of the specific, distinctive value demanded by a narrowly-defined segment of homebuyers.

Come.  Participate.  Learn.

 

Business Process Improvement is one of three Velocity Accelerators® (along with Critical Chain Project Management, and Open-Book Management and Team-Based Performance Compensation) that will be explored in depth at the next Pipeline workshop™, October 14-15, 2021, at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

The cost is $895.00 per person.  Attendance is limited to only 30 attendees.  For team pricing, inquire here (flgroves@saiconsulting.com).

Delivered by SAI Consulting.  Sponsored by Simpson Strong-Tie.

For more details:  www.buildervelocity.com

 

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