Essential business process modeling
Business process modeling according to Kriz (2014) is a method for improving the efficiency and quality of an organization. The increasing accountability and transparency of all organizations together with penetration, modern complexity and importance of information and technology has heightened demand everywhere for process improvement. Carstensen (2011) asserted that business process modeling has an objective of improving the performance of businesses by optimizing activities connection efficiency in the product or service provision. The techniques of business process modeling are concerned with workflow and mapping to enable positive change, analysis and understanding. The flow diagrams in business process modeling are essential and are central features.
This essay is a report by a junior consultant hired by Jim Smart; the CEO of Seamless Service Provision (SSP).this report is about a comprehensive process modelling project for the whole direct invoicing process of SSP. In analysing the scenario of the direct invoicing process of SSP, the essay will adopt business process modelling in analysing the situation.
To begin, the essay will use Value chain model to illustrate where the direct invoicing process of SSP sits within the organization, in relation to other process of the organization. Moreover, the essay will use choreography diagram to understand the basic steps of the direct invoicing process. This will be useful in discussing an improvement plan amongst the other managers of the organization. A detailed collaboration diagram will also be used and it will capture how each step in this business process is implemented and executed currently. Different exceptions that could occur in this process will also be discussed. Additionally, how these exceptions are handled, and how these exceptions alter the flow of the process will also be discussed.
Lastly, the essay will establish a governance structure in order to facilitate the management and revision of the process models in the future. This structure will have two components: process architecture to organize SSP business processes, which Jim can use to position the direct invoicing process as part of the accounting services, and a set of modelling conventions adopted in the process models to be produced, accompanied by adequate justifications for their use.
- To find out where the direct invoicing process sits within SSP company in relation to other processes of the company
- To find out the basic steps of direct invoicing process of SSP company
- To find out how each step of direct invoicing process is currently implemented and executed
- To propose and establish a governance structure
I did and compiled this essay after conduct and analyzing the direct invoicing process of SSP Company. Through commitment and dedication, I was able to complete this assignment
My main objective was to master the course material and apply the learnt knowledge in the unit to this project and to show it in my final presentation and report
- I had dedication, commitment and I was disciplined in conducting and analyzing this project
- I had a prior background and experience in business process modeling from my theory class and field experiences. This helped me in improving my awareness of the business process modeling.
Because I was doing the project alone, I allocated time for each and every topic that needed to be covered. This was to ensure that every part of the project was a balanced and fully covered. I also set my own rules during the time I was doing the project and I followed them to the latter. First, I ensured that I stick to the day’s agenda and punctuality. Furthermore, I set expectations before commencement of any meeting
If I could not make time due to some unavoidable circumstances for my scheduled project time, I would postpone and organize for another time to compensate for the time lost. This new time I ensured that was before the next scheduled time so as not to interfere with my program
This project had many sub topics that needed to be covered therefore I decided to create a project time that divides equal time for each time. I divided different areas of the project and researched it according to the allocated time. This needed a lot of discipline and dedication on my side so as to run the program smoothly. I also contacted other members of class whenever I did not understand anything well and if they did not understand also, I contacted my tutor for further explanation.
The first three weeks of my project program dealt with a set of interrelated models including a value chain, a choreography diagram and a multi-layer collaboration diagram using BPMN. Week four to six deal with governance structure including process architecture of SSP where I clearly positioned the direct invoicing process, and a set of modelling conventions adopted in my models, accompanied by adequate justifications for their use. Moreover, I provided an overview and explanation of all assumptions made during the completion of this assignment. The remaining week I wrote my introduction, executive summary, conclusion and the project over view.
Given that the project was complex and needed a lot of dedication of time, commitment and sacrifice, it created a lot of stress and pressure on my normal life activities. I was determined to produce the best essay in this essay and therefore, my driving force was to see the best out of it. Moreover, juggling my private life, school and the project was difficult sometime but i was able to make it by creating and following my project program with a lot of discipline
A value chain according to Walters & Rainbird (2004) is a chain of activities that a company that operates in a particular industry performs for it to deliver products and services that are valuable for the market. Similarly, Winistoerfer et al (2000) defined value chain as a model of high level where business receives the inputs as raw materials, add value to them through different processes and finally sell the products to the consumers. An analysis of the value chain examines every business step that the company goes through from the first step of raw materials through the processing to the eventual end user. The main objective is deliverance of maximum value at a minimal possible cost.
Many managers and CEOs of organizations just like Jim Smart of Seamless Service Provision (SSP) in the scenario grapples with many questions concerning their value chain. Some of the questions include how their organizations create value, how they can change their business inputs to outputs in way that has a greater value compared to the original costs incurred in creating the outputs (HBR, 2000). According to Pita et al (2004), the created value by the company is the profit, and the more value a business creates, the more the business becomes more profitable. Moreover, when a company provides more value to their clientele, they build a competitive advantage.
Finne & Sivonen (2009) indicated that understanding how an organization creates value and exploring for more ways of adding c value are essential elements for a business in developing a competitive strategy. The concept of value chain was introduced by Michael Porter that companies can use in examining all their activities and to see how they are connected. The manner in which activities of value chain are performed determines costs and also affects profits. Therefore, the too; ca help organizations and their CEOs and managers in understanding the source of value for their organizations. This essay will analyze value chain of Seamless Service Provision (SSP) to illustrate where the direct invoicing process sits within the company in relation to other processes of the company. However, the essay will discuss the Porter’s value chain before analysing the value chain of Seamless Service Provision (SSP).
According to Holweg & Pil (2004), Porter’s value chain describes chain of activities that are common to all business. He divided the activities into primary and support activities as indicated in the diagram above. Organizations use the primary and support activities as the foundation and the building blocks in creating of products or services that are valuable. The primary activities directly relate to the physical creation, maintenance, sale and support of a service or product, and they consist the following:
- In bound logistics- these are processes related to the company and involve a company’s relationship with suppliers and include activities like receiving, storing and then distributing the inputs internally. To create value here, the key factor is the relationship between the company and the supplier (Presutti & Mawhinney, 2013).
- Operations– these are activities for transformation that converts in puts into outputs to be sold to the customers. The operational systems of the company creates value here
- Outbound logistics- these are the activities that deliver company’s products or services to their customers. They include things such as collection and storage, systems of distribution, and they may be external or internal to the organization
- Sales and marketing-these are the companies’ processes they use in persuading clients to purchase their products and services rather than their competitors. The source of value here are the benefits offered by the company and how the organization communicate well with the clients (Walters & Rainbird, 2007).
- Service-these are organization’s activities that are related to maintenance of value of product or service to their customers, once it has been purchased
On the other hand, the support activities are supporting activities of the discussed primary functions above. From the porter’s value chain diagram above, the support activities has dotted lines which is an indication that each support activity can play a role in any of the primary activities (Athanasios et al, 2012).
- Procurement (purchasing) – these are the activities that a company does to acquire the needed resources for operations. It includes sourcing for vendors and negotiating with them the affordable prices
- Human resource management- this deals with how an organizations conducts recruitment, hires, motivates, trains, retains, rewards its employees. Human resource or employees are important source of value, so a company can have an advantage with good practices of human resources (Gerth, 2013).
- Technological development- these are the supporting activities relating to management or information processing in addition to protection of knowledgebase of a company. Minimizing the costs of information technology, being abreast with advances in technology and maintenance of technical excellence are the major sources of creating value
- Infrastructure- these are the functions and support systems of the company that enables it maintain its daily operations. Some of the infrastructures a company that a company can use to their advantage include general management, administrative, legal and accounting (Cumberlidge, 2007).
In analysing the value chain of Seamless Service Provision (SSP), the essay will find out the primary and support activities of SSP. However, the report will list down some assumptions;
- SSP company deals with loyal and established clients and has worked with them for a long time, or the company has a very aggressive sales and marketing team to attract large customer base
- SSP company has a vibrant and active procurement system
- SSP has no elaborate program of technological development for its employees. There is no clear indication of technological advancement and the manner in which the company handles its processes does not show any trace of embrace of technology.
- SSP company has efficient infrastructures in which their functions and support systems enables it maintain its daily operations. Some of the infrastructures of SSP Company under assumptions being used by the company to their advantage include general management, administrative, legal and accounting.
- The direct invoicing process is not computerised and the process is done manually from the examples of using of mailing system, members of mail centre transferring documents from one office to the other instead of using paperless methods such as computers
- SSP Company has no department of support or support tram or customer care to quickly handle queries of the clients, attend to their needs and problems with the direct invoicing process.
In SSP, these are activities for transformation that converts in coming invoices for processing to processed invoices before dispatching to the clients or for payments. The operational systems of the SSP Company create value here by ensuring that all the invoices are processes without any error. Under operations, the following activities take place in SSP
- Ground floor
Invoices arrive in the incoming mail centre and the envelopes containing the invoices are opened and categorised by the staff in the mail centre. The invoices are then forwarded to the Admin Officers on level 2
- Admin officers, level 2
They sort the invoices by client and then by vendor. The Admin Officer then manually enters the vendor name, the client name and the date of arrival at SSP on the invoice entry form. Next, they check the completeness of the invoice (e.g. cost centres code missing?) and tick the relevant box on the invoice entry form (invoice complete: yes/no). Invoices that could be completed by experienced SSP members or after a phone call will be batched and allocated to Data Entry Officers.
- Data entry officers, level 5
They start their day by continuing to process invoices in their inboxes from the days before. This includes invoices that come back due to data entry mistakes. At 10am, Data Entry Officers go over to the Admin Officers and collect their allocated invoices for the day. The first task with a new invoice is that the vendor that raised the invoice will be looked up in the SAP system and then the SAP vendor number will then be added to the invoice entry form.
If the vendor, however, is not yet in the system (occurs in approx. 5% of all invoices), a request for a new vendor master record needs to be created. Once the vendor is in the system and the SAP vendor number has been noted on the invoice entry form, the invoice is ready to be entered in the SAP system.
After entering the invoice, they tick the box ‘invoice entered’ on the invoice entry form. Invoices entered in the SAP system will have the status ‘parked’, i.e. they have to be validated before they can be further processed.
- A Validation Officer, level 7
A Validation Officer then takes a batch of invoices, sorts them per client and prints a report with all invoices that have recently been entered for this client. Then they compare the details of this report with the actual paper invoice to make sure that no data entry mistakes have been made.
At the end of one batch of invoices, the Validation Officer logs into the SAP system and changes the status of the invoices from parked to validated All validated invoices are then be forwarded to the Registry
- Payment officer
The invoices are now ready for payment. The Payment Office runs a payment process every week and pays the invoices as late as possible but still in time for any discounts on offer.
- At the end of the weekly payment run, a payment report is generated and sent to three Departments. First, the report is sent to the individual clients to inform them about the successful payment of the invoice(s). This is required, as vendors tend to interact with the client directly and not SSP.
- Second, it is sent to SSP’s Accounts Receivable Department on level 4 where generates monthly invoices for SSP’s clients and charges a flat fee of $35 per paid invoice.
- Third, the payment report is sent to the Registry.
The employees in the Registry select the paper-based invoices that have been paid and archives the invoices per vendor (primary sorting criterion) and per payment date (secondary sorting criterion).
Sometimes, vendors or clients have an issue with the payment and in these cases it is required to track down the original paper-based invoice together with all information on the invoice entry form.
- In bound logistics
The primary activity of operations in SSP includes all the processes of receiving, storing and distributing the invoices from the vendors for their clients. SSP receives 15,000-25000 paper based invoices per month from different clients. The processing of the invoices undergoes a seven level process before final completion of the processes. After receiving the invoices from the mail center, SSP categories, sort before distributing them through a seven levels that includes the admin officers, data clerk officers, validation officers, and finally payment officers. Finally, all invoices are stored in the registry of the SSP Company
- Out bound logistics
These are the activities of SSP that assist in delivering company’s direct invoicing services to their customers. They include things such as collection and storage, systems of distribution, and they may be external or internal to the organization. After processing of all the invoices as discussed in the operations of SSP, the company delivers the products to their clients for payments. This is the level in which the company would have completed its services and it is time for confirmation and making of payments
- Sales and marketing
These are the SSP’s processes they use in persuading clients to use their direct invoicing services rather than their competitors. There is no detail about sales and marketing strategy for SSP, and therefore the assumption is that it has a very aggressive sales and marketing team because of large order they receive every month.
These are SSP’s activities that are related to maintenance of value of product or services to their customers, once it has been purchased. There are no elaborate mechanisms in SSP for maintenance of value of their products and service to their clients upon purchasing of their services and products. Thus is because if late many clients have been complaining to the CEO of the company about their services. Clients have been complaining of the decreasing performance in SSP. Over the last few months, a number of clients have started to complain about the efficiency of this process as the turnaround time in which invoices are processed is not always reliable, or is incorrectly estimated, with the potential for discounts not being applicable as well as the potential for vendors to be paid the wrong amount, or being paid too late. Moreover, most employees at SSP do not even fully understand the current practices in the process.
- Procurement (purchasing)
These are the activities that SSP Company does to acquire the needed resources for operations. It includes sourcing for vendors and negotiating with them the affordable prices. SSP receives between 15,000and25, 000 paper-based invoices per month from its diverse client base. As much as the procurement process of SSP is unknown, the assumption is that the procurement section of SSP is vibrant and active and is able to source and purchase all the required materials needed for processing the huge amount of invoices the company receives monthly.
- Human resource management
This entails with how SSP organizations conducts recruitment, hires, motivates, trains, retains, rewards its employees. Human resource or employees are important source of value, so a company can have an advantage with good practices of human resources. Seamless Service Provision (SSP) has 700 employees that offer accounting, human resource services and direct invoice processing to organisations within the private and public sectors in Australia. With the large base of employees of 700, this indicates that SSP has a high level and efficient methods of recruiting, training, motivating, training, retaining and rewarding its employees.
However, their efficiency and professionalism has been casted in doubt from the numerous complaints from the clients. They are prone to delays, entry errors leading to vendors being paid wrong amounts. Furthermore, it is a policy of SSP that in cases where there is need for clarifications, the invoices can be posted back through email to the clients or phone calls made. However, Jima Smart, the CEO learnt of late that as much as some employees follow up through phone calls, some disregard the invoices, which is unethical.
- Technological development
These are the supporting activities relating to management or information processing in addition to protection of knowledgebase of SSP Company. Minimizing the costs of information technology, being abreast with advances in technology and maintenance of technical excellence are the major sources of creating value. The technological development programs of SSP are not clear and therefore the report assumed that the technological development program of SSP is not in place to keep their employees abreast with the latest technology. This is because of the manner in which SSP Company handles its daily processes of direct invoicing process. The company sends invoices through mails, uses mail persons/messages to deliver invoices between one officer to the other instead of using efficient computerised systems.
The report made assumptions that the functions and support systems of the SSP Company that enables it maintain its daily operations are effective. Some of the infrastructures of SSP Company that the company uses to their advantage include general management, administrative, legal and accounting.
Value chain analysis according to Walters & Rainbird (2004) is an essential tool to an organization for working out how they can create the greatest value possible for their customers. In business, companies are paid to add value on raw materials by converting them into a worthy product to other people. This is quite evident in manufacturing industries and also service industries.
In service industries, Leopold (2013) explained that businesses use in puts such as knowledge, time, systems and equipments to create real value services to the people being served or the customers. SSP falls under a services industry whereby it puts their knowledge, expertise, time, systems and equipments to create value services to their clients.
SSP Company offers accounting and human resource services to organisations within the private and public sectors in Australia. Accounting services include for example bookkeeping, preparation and analysis of financial statements e.g. for tax purposes, payroll services, payment services, management accounting, business advice and planning, auditing. Examples of Human resource (HR) services offered by SSP are advice on HR policies and strategy, HR documents preparation, recruitment services, induction programs, career development and employee retention programs, employee surveys, and professional development solutions.
According to Winistoerfer et al (2000), the most important part is that the more value a company creates, the more the customers will be prepared to pay for the services and products at good prices. Moreover, if a company add a lot of value to their employees, they will excel in whatever they do and this translates better reward. The tool for value chain analysis is useful in finding out s how and where to the company or team can create value. HBR (2000) pointed out that value chain analysis is useful to companies in identifying the ways in which they create value to their customers, and then helps in thinking of how vale can be maximised either through jobs done well, great services and superb products.
In analysing the value chain of invoicing process of SSP, the reported adopted a three step process; that is activity analysis, value analysis and evaluation and planning. Under activity analysis, the report will identify the activities undertaken by SSP Company in delivering their products and services. Value analysis will look through what SSP Company does to add greatest value to their customers. Lastly, under evaluation and planning, the report will evaluate whether there is need or it is worth making or introducing changes to SSP Company and then plan for action.
Under activity analysis, Pita et al (2004) indicated that the first step is for the company to brainstorm for the activities they undertake as a team in some way and contributes towards their customers’ experience. These at an organizational level include step-by-step processes of business that the company uses in serving their clients. These include sales and order taking. Marketing of products and services, operational processes, and support and delivery
SSP Company provides many forms of services to their clients such as accounting, human resource services to organisations within the private and public sectors and direct invoicing services. SSP is presumed to have a large base of loyal customers or a vibrant sales and marketing strategies and team due to its large amount of orders every month. Moreover, SSP Company has a detailed and complex operational processing when dealing with direct invoicing process. The operational process has seven levels with team of experts from those receiving the invoices in mails, to the admin officers, data clerks, validation officers, payment officers, registry officers among others. Lastly, the company has support and delivery team in place to assist clients. Support and delivery of services is done either through phone calls and post mail
According to Finne & Sivonen (2009), value factors are things that the clients value in the way every activity is conducted. For instance, in a service industry, clients value most correct and accurate solution based on up-to-date complete information. The solution should be expressed clearly and it is actionable easily. The table below indicates the SS’s activities’ identified under activity analysis, value factors and the action or change that needs to be done to provide great value for every value factor.
|Activity||Value factors||Changes needed|
|v Order taking||v Ability to handle large number of orders
v Ability to sort out orders according to vendors and prices
v Efficient manner of taking of orders
|v Computerize/ automate the process of order taking from manual delivery by mail to computerised way where things can be done online
v Training on customer industry
|v Operational processes||v Existence of many levels of processes which minimizes errors
v Correct and accurate entry of invoices
v Comprehensive and accurate description of changes in the invoices
v Easily understandable
v The freedom of asking for clarification in unclear records or incomplete invoices
v Quick and efficient manner of solving/correcting identified errors in the invoices
|v The company needs to introduce mechanisms of minimizing delays in processing
v Introduced computerised ways of forwarding invoices from one level to the other or from one officer to the other trough emails or computer systems.
v Training on data entry accuracy, and work ethics
v Internal review for accuracy
v Description of all activities
v Use of aide memoire foe ensuring that all points in the invoices are considered
|v Delivery||v Quick delivery of services
v Set expectations clearly
v Meet commitments
v Time start of job
|v The company needs to introduce more fast and efficient methods of service delivery
v Scheduling time needed
v Accurate time estimation
From the value analysis, plenty of ideas and findings have been realized on ways of improving the value SSP Company delivers to its customers. Jim Smart, the CEO of SSP company should pick some of the actions or changes that bring changes. After listing of the changes, he should prioritize and have an elaborate plan implemented to achieve improvements. Holweg & Pil (2004) suggested that a company may present some of their concussions to one of their customers whom they have a strong relationship and get some feedback. This will be a good way for Jim to either get a confirmation that they are getting a better understanding or the company is right of what they really want to change
Choreography diagrams according to n.a (2014) are a type of collaboration diagram of BPMN that majorly focuses on the message and the message sequences between the participants. Similarly, IBM (2014) explained that a choreography diagram is used in analyzing exchange of information between participants to coordinate their interactions. Choreography diagrams can be used to visually focus on the flows of message in the collaboration between pool object and pools (Sybase, 2014). Choreography tasks populate choreography diagram and the task must have two participants at minimal. That is the initiating and the non-initiating participants. For instance, in figure 3 the initiating participant is participant 1 and the non-initiating participant is participant 2.
Messages between participants can be defined in the task. Icons of message will appear connected to the task when a message is defined as shown in figure 4
A choreography task according to Havey (2005) represents the initiating participant who sends a message to the receiving participant. It contains other resources and messages and it can be sequenced tother with the other choreography task. Specifications can be made on the initiating message and the receiving participant’s response, with or without a message.
The report used choreography diagram in analysing the basic steps of the SSP’s direct invoicing process. Figure 5 shows the choreography diagram of SSP Company.
The table below indicates tools used and are available in the choreography diagram of SSP direct invoicing process
|the start of events or the initial process where the direct invoicing process within SSP company begins|
|End of events or the points in which events conclude within SSP company|
|Choreography task where there is interactions between two different parties|
|Messages sent by a participant to the choreography tasks|
|This indicates the flow of message by linking a message to a participant of each choreography tasks|
|This indicates the sequence flow and it links elements such as activities and events in the direct invoicing process of SSP.|
Collaboration diagram is also known as interaction diagram or communication diagram. It is an illustration of interactions and relationships among objects of software in the Unified Modelling Language (UML) (Margaret, 2014). SDCV (2014) indicated that collaboration diagram is similar to a flowchart that indicates the functionality, roles and individual object behaviour as well as the systems overall operations in real time. These objected are shown in form of rectangles with labels inside. Moreover, colons preceded these labels and may sometimes be underlined. The existing relationships between objects are indicated by connecting lines that connects the rectangles (Robert, 1997). Furthermore, arrows that connect relevant rectangles show messages between objects along with labels defining the sequencing of message (Kriz, 2014).
The direct invoicing process was interlinked and there were many offices and employees interacting and working together. The report used collaboration diagram to visualize their interaction and relationship in the process of direct invoicing. Figure 6 shows the collaboration diagram of SSP’s direct invoicing process
|These are the objects that interact with each other during the direct invoice processing.|
|The symbol indicates association or relation which is a link that connects associated objects in the system|
|1 (function)||This represents messages and the arrow points from the commencing object to the recipient object and it indicates the interaction between the objects. The numbers represents the sequence/order of the interaction during the invoicing process|
The collaboration diagram above has illustrated the current implementation and execution of the direct invoicing process in SSP. The process begins when the invoices arrive from the clients through the mail center. At the mail center, the members of the mail center receive incoming invoices in the mail center, open the envelopes and categorize them. They then forward them to the admin officers in level two.
Admin officers sort the invoices by vendor and client before forwarding the complete invoices to the data entry officers. The incomplete invoices are either sent to experienced SSP members to clarify or sent back by mail to the client to complete filling. The data entry officers on the other hand enter the invoices and check the SAP number in the system. Invoices without SAP numbers are forwarded to the master data entry department for new vendor number. However, completed invoices from data entry officers are forwarded to the validation officers through mail person.
The responsibilities of the validation officers are to validate the “parked” invoices and to confirm whether the data entry officers have entered the correct information. Correct entries are validated but incorrect entries are returned to the data entry officers through mail person for correction or re-entry. Validated invoices are then forwarded to the payment officer and the registry for achieving.
The payment officer prepares reports and sends to three categories of people. First, the report is sent to the client to inform them about the successful payment of the invoice(s). This is required, as vendors tend to interact with the client directly and not SSP. Second, it is sent to SSP’s Accounts Receivable Department on level 4. This department generates monthly invoices for SSP’s clients and charges a flat fee of $35 per paid invoice. Third, the payment report is sent to the Registry. The employees in the Registry select the paper-based invoices that have been paid and archives the invoices per vendor (primary sorting criterion) and per payment date (secondary sorting criterion).
The assumption of the report is that the whole direct invoicing process of SSP is no computerised and therefore it is a significant exception. Computerization of the process makes the workforce lean, increases the speed of processing the invoices, minimizes errors and makes the whole process efficient (Carstensen, 2011). However, give that SSP receives the invoices by mail and also transfer the invoices from one officer to the other using the mail persons is an indication that the process is entirely manual.
Because the process is not computerised, SSP uses manual systems in processing the invoices. First, the company has internal nail persons who transfer the invoices from one officer to the other. Second, each office has an outbox where completed invoices are placed for further processing, and another collection where incomplete invoices are pooled and returned either to the data entry clerks or mailed t the clients for completion
Lack of computerization has significantly affected the flow of the process within SSP. First, the process is slow and time wasting. Data are entered manually by data entry officers who take a lot of time. Moreover, completed invoices are pooled in the collection box waiting for a specific mail person to forward them at a particular time. This is unlike when computerization would have been used where the invoices would have been sent by a click of a button.
Lack of computerization has also made the process inefficient. Communication between the clients and sending and receiving the invoices are done manually. Had SSP computerized transfer of invoices between the clients and the company, the processing would have been quickened and hence reduction of the customer’s complaints.
The work of the support team/department in a company acts a customer care and attends to immediate customer needs quickly (Athanasios et al, 2012). Some of the services of the support team as illustrated by Gerth (2013) include response to calls and mails, answering queries of the potential clients and clients. The company can also set up the FAQ section on their website to address relevant queries of their clients before contacting the company for assistance or services.
There is no clear elaboration of support team or department concerning direct invoicing process in SSP Company. Therefore, SSP Company is resumed to lack support department in the area of direct invoicing process.
Lack of support team by SSP Company has altered the flow of the process in many ways. There are incidences where the company has incomplete invoices from their clients. This is because of lack of support team to provide necessary advice and assistance when they are filling the invoices. This has also slowed the process since most of the incomplete invoices need to be mailed back and this takes another ten or more days.
Governance is a all the processes in governing by either an organization or a government whether through language, power, norms or laws (Bleischwitz & Hennicke, 2004). Governance is related to decisions and processes that seek to grant power, define actions and verify performance (Synergy, 2014).
SSP Company’s governance structure is designed to facilitate collaboration amongst members, promote transparency, and consultation with different stakeholders, and to ensure operations of the company is effective. SSP is a company that offers accounting and human resource services to organisations within the private and public sectors in Australia. Accounting services include for example bookkeeping, preparation and analysis of financial statements e.g. for tax purposes, payroll services, payment services, management accounting, business advice and planning, auditing. Examples of Human resource (HR) services offered by SSP are advice on HR policies and strategy, HR documents preparation, recruitment services, induction programs, career development and employee retention programs, employee surveys, and professional development solutions. Additionally, it offers payment services through direct invoicing process.
According to Graham (2013), process architecture is the ordering, interdependencies, interfaces and other process elements relationship in a standard process. Similarly, () defined process architecture as a structural design of the process systems such as business processes. It also describes the interdependencies, interfaces and other relationship between external processes and process elements. Oscar (2007) defined process element as a fundamental unit in a process. Sub processes or process elements define a process. Sub process can further be divided into sub processes. The processes can also be defined as having inputs, energy and outputs to transform the inputs to outputs. Application of energy during the transformation process implies time passage.
A standard process, on the other hand, is a basic process operation definition that guides common processes establishment in an organization. It describes the significant process elements expected to be incorporated into the process defined. Moreover, a process system is composed of processes. The architecture or process system structure can be viewed as an infrastructure and suprastructure dualistic relationship (Roland, 2012). The infrastructure describes the components parts of process system and their interactions. On the other hand, suprastructure regards the super system in which process system is a component. By traversing the architecture process from one abstraction level to the other, infrastructure becomes the suprastruture basis (Saunders & Saini, 2011).
The perspective of process can help SSP company in delivering attractive services and products to their clients and stakeholders by adding value to their operating context and facilitating their propensity and survival in the face of competition. However, the process of SSP has excessive detail in addition to lengthy durations of projects leading to non-delivery and frustration. The quality of services in SSP is evidently suffering due to fatigue of the participants of the business. This eventually can change faster the volatility of the business than the effort of the modelling process can track.
The business process architecture adopted with this essay will describe the functional decomposition of SSP Company’s value chain. Moreover, it will enable an understanding value streams that shows cross functional chains end-to-end business processes, and the SSP’s strategies value propositions. The paper will describe the Value Reference Model (VRM) framework which SSP adopted as business process architecture and applying it as an instrument for providing an overarching control modelling works process, and lastly linking the loose processes to SSP’s strategies. The VRM architecture has a set of modelling conventions adopted and will be accompanied by adequate justifications for their use.
This is a business process architecture or classification scheme created by the value chain group. With VRM, the business processes are categorised into three level one of three strategic level process groups or modelling conventions.
VRM business process architecture according to Friedman et al (2009) imposes to an organization a top-down bird eye view. It is sometimes referred to as high level map process or process landscape that provides an overall view of a landscape or map view of the business process in the operations of the business. The VRM architecture shows the collection of business activities that are related within specific functions of bus8iness.
The business process groupings (modelling conventions) of three in one level under VRM include the following:
- Plan-this is the overarching process that aligns strategic objectives with execution and tactical abilities in the value chain
- Govern-this is the overarching process that supports strategic objectives and enable the operation of the value chain through policies, rules, and procedures
- Execute- this overarches all the processes of execution in the model and operates within the management criteria limits from the process of govern and to the parameters elaborated by the process of plan (Graham, 2014).
The figure 7 below shows the view of the integrated systems of the three categories of the strategic process of VRM.
The PLAN process comprises of four process groups tactical levels, that is;
- Plan value chain that acts on the value chain requirements, communication and resources in overall
- Plan supply chain
- Plan product development
- Plan customer relations that manages resources and requirements in each respective domain
The GOVERN process comprises of four process groups tactical levels that aligns to the four groups under plan, and they include;
- Govern value chain
- Govern supply chain
- Govern product development
- Govern customer relations
The EXECUTE process comprises of nine process groups tactical level under three domains;
- Research, market and development under the development of product domain
- Acquire, fulfil and build under supply network domain
- Sell, support and brand customer relations domain (Oscar, 2007).
SSP Company can apply this process to align its strategic objectives with execution and tactical abilities in the value chain. The PLAN process has four process groups’ tactical levels and SSP can apply them in organizing SSP business processes to facilitate management and revision of the models presented before
I. Plan value chain
A value chain according to Calderini (2003) is a chain of activities that a company that operates in a particular industry performs for it to deliver products and services that are valuable for the market. SSP Company can use plan value chain in adding value to its services as a strategic measure to attract more customers and retain the existing customers. SSP Company has many services that it provides to its customers. The two broad categories of its services include accounting and human resource management. The essay strategically proposes the inclusion of direct business process under accounting to increase its efficiency and improve the services being provided.
Chain value comprises of process that needs to be followed, and the stem-by-step processes of adding value to the raw materials through processing to the eventual end user. Similarly, SSP Company can add value to the whole operation of their services in many ways. However, the question is how SSP Company will create value and how the management change their business inputs to outputs in way that has a greater value compared to the original costs incurred in creating the outputs.
The created value by the SSP Company is the profit, and the more value a business creates, the more the business becomes more profitable. Moreover, when a company provides more value to their clientele, they build a competitive advantage. Some of the ways SSP Company can create value include integration of the direct business process under accounting department. Value will be created in that staff will be reduced. The staff working under accounting can double up and do also processing of the direct invoices hence reducing costs of redundancy. Efficiency will also be increased since the equipment like computers used in accounting department will be used in quick processing of the invoices.
II. Plan product/ development
Product development is another strategic decision that SSP Company can adopt to increase its efficiency and productiveness. The end products of SSP Company are the services offered to its clients. Some form of product development the company can adopt include virtualizing book keeping for easy retrieval, increasing efficiency in accounting especially on the newly integrated direct invoice processing and other payment services to avoid unnecessary delays. Furthermore, on human resource services, the company should adopt technology in offering its services such as sourcing and interviewing of potential employees online, conducing surveys electronically among others.
III. Plan supply chain
Supply chain according to Schiehll et al (2001) is the system of organizations, activities, people, activities, information and all involved resources in a moving a service or product from the supplier to the customer. The activities of supply chain transform raw materials into finished products and later delivered to the customer at the end. SSP Company needs to adopt strategies of increasing the efficiency of the supply chain. Because most of the work in SSP Company entails service provision, the customer requests and processing before delivery of the services can be improved by the company coordination, staffing, organization, controlling and communicating with the employees.
IV. Plan customer relations
A plan for customer relations are significant in running a business because it describes how the company and its employees should deal with their customers.SSP is a big company that handles many customers per month. Direct invoicing process alone account for a significant port of the clientele base. Therefore, elaborate plan of customer relations should be incorporated into the company for maximum product. The company should teach their employees methods of handling the inquiries or complaints of the customers in an easily understandable manner. Moreover, the customer relation plan of SSP Company should allow room for adaptation and improvement as a result of periodic assessment of the plan. This will result in a customer relationship that is more effective to the company
SSP company can use the GOVERN process in supporting strategic objectives and enable the operation of the value chain through policies, rules, and procedures. The GOVERN process has four process groups tactical levels and SSP can apply them in organizing SSP business processes to facilitate management and revision of the models presented before
I. Govern value chain
In governing of the value chain, there are a chain of activities SSP Company can put in place for the company to align with the policies and rules of the organization, so as to deliver services to the market. Governing of chain value to put value on the inputs in significant to the management of a business, as this will be in line with the policies of the organization. For instance, when adding t value to the processes within SSP Company, the additional factors should be n line with the budgeted costs of production, satisfies the customers and are also in accordance with the rules and laws of the country.
II. Govern product development
According to Bleischwitz & Hennicke (2004), the management of a company links the trajectories of product development by simultaneously directing, analyzing, conducting, coordinating and contributing significantly to the project.
When governing project development, it should align with the rules, polices and laws f the organization. Therefore, when SSP company’s management team wishes to govern the product devilment, they need to have adequate information, skills and knowledge to govern the cycle of product development, to interrelate various projects and ensure that they align to the strategies of the company(). Similarly, as Synergy (2014) suggested, SSP Company’s management team should have the capability of initiating, governing and coordinating the interaction between different involved parties in the organization. For instance, if the organization wishes to develop the products like financial statement for tax, all the involved parties in the analysis should be coordinated, governed and coordinated by the management in accordance to company’s policies to develop it.
III. Govern supply chain
In governing supply chain, the management of the business should ensure that all the system of organizations, activities, people, activities, information and the involved resources in a moving a service or product from the supplier to the customer are in line with the company’s policies, procedures and rules. SSP Company majorly delivers services to its clients and therefore all the stakeholders involved, systems, and information for the process of the inputs in the company should be governed in accordance to the standard rules and procedures of SSP Company. Abiding by the rules, policies and procedures of the company creates order, improves efficiency and increases quality and value of the services to the customers.
IV. Govern customer relations
In governing customer relationship in the company in accordance to the policies, rules and regulations, the management need to apply methodologies that can help the organization manage the relations hip with the customer in a more organized way. The company can also construct a policy for handling communication with the customers in the governance plan. For instance, SSP Company should think of factors like maximum amount of time the customer should wait to be served, the duration for handling complaints and the person responsible for collecting feedbacks of the customers.
Some of the methods that SSP company can use according to Calderini, Garrone, & Sobrero (2003) include use of emails, survey and phone calls for complaints ad inquiries so as to improve services to the customers. Moreover, SSP can also utile social media in keeping the customers updated on the news or developments in the company
This overarches all the processes of execution in the model and operates within the management criteria limits from the process of govern and to the parameters elaborated by the process of plan. SSP management and CEO can execute the processes and functions within the limits of its management criteria. In executing the processes, SSP management work under nine process groups tactical levels that has been summarized into three domains.
I. Research, market and development under the development of product domain
Under this domain, SSP Company can align the needs of the value chain with the development of products, capabilities of supply networks and the relations with the suppliers. Under research, it is necessary that SSP prepare for product development by being innovative, investing on new ways of dong things to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction. Lastly, under development, the company can define and create a new service of product for their market. This includes also rebranding their existing services to get deeper market penetration. All these should be done within the management criteria limits of the company
II. Acquire, fulfil and build under supply network domain
Under this domain, SSP can strategise through acquisition by acquiring goods and services from their suppliers to further boost them in adding value to their activities and services. Similarly, through building, the company can also transform some of its materials according to the requirements of the value chain. Lastly, in a bid to fulfil, SSP Company should have adequate preparations for delivery of good and services to their customers. These delivery processes and preparations will eventually fulfil the demands of the customers
III. Sell, support and brand customer relations domain
Under this domain, using the brand level, SSP Company can align its brand with the marketing activities. These activities should also be related to sales of its products and services. Lastly, the company can focus on the support level for the company. These includes the after sale activities the company performs in a relationship with a customer.
Note should be taken that there are three VRM levels; level one is strategic, level two tactical, and level three operational. The presented VRM architecture above has been applied because of many reasons. First is because they offer information for the value chain management that encompasses supply networks, customer relations and product development (Schiehll et al, 2001). The VRM architecture also integrates process frameworks that guide the design, modelling and business performance measurements by encompassing uniquely plan, execute and govern. The encompassed processes’ requirements are for the product, design and the customer aspect of the company (Bleischwitz & Hennicke, 2004).
Modeling conventions according to signavio (2013) provide the basis for forming uniform and comprehensible process models that can be easily be adapted to specific needed. This essay designed different business processes and improved those using different modeling conventions. The conventions that the essay adopted are categorized into five groups
The architecture category of modeling convention incorporates open comments that contain essential information for the process. The inclusion of open comments in architecture model convention is necessary in ensuring that every comment made is accepted (signavio, 2013).
The essay adopted this architecture modeling convention because the open comments have information that is useful to the process. Moreover, in this modeling convention, diagrams get names that are unique in developing a structure in the diagram modeled and it reflects the purpose of the process
Layout group of modeling convention has absence of edge overlays and node intersections. This is because the modeling convention does not allow overlapping of edges and the nodes also does not overlap other nodes. The overlaps disrupt the understanding and reading of the process and this can lead to wrong interpretation of the references (signavio, 2013).
The essay adopted this layout group of modeling convention because there is consistent incoming and outgoing message behavior which is for clarity and comprehension of the process
The naming group of modeling conventions has consistent naming of sub processes. This implies that the name of the sub processes collapsed should receive similar name as the diagram. The rule gets linkage of the sub processes with super processes. The sub processes has the same name as the super processes tasks. For instance, “handle an order.” The task just like the process can have the same name, for example “order handling” ( signavio, 2013).
The essay adopted this group of modeling conventions because the data object always must have a name to be clear which document is needed in the model process. Moreover, it names roles which represent the person responsible for the process. Lastly, the model has a labeling style for its activities. This implies that an activity has to be names to show which action need to be performed and to produce process models that are uniform.
This group of modeling conventions has no deadlocks which arise due to false gateways usage and block further procedure process. This can be avoided because the process cannot be executed when the deadlocks exists (signavio, 2013). Deadlocks according to signavio (2013) are blockings in the process models that occurs when the process uses gateways incorrectly
The multi-mergers-opposite of deadlocks can occur when gateways are falsely used and this leads to multiple executions of the following flow
The essay adopted this model because when splits are explicitly joined on gateways, the process becomes clear and readable. Moreover, when the gateways are used in modeling joins explicitly, the diagrams becomes legible and with more clarity.
In conclusion, the essay discussed the business process modeling in relation to the direct invoicing process of SSP Company. The value chain business model highlights the chain of activities that a company that operates in a particular industry performs for it to deliver products and services that are valuable for the market. The concept of value chain was introduced by Michael Porter that companies can use in examining all their activities and to see how they are connected. The manner in which activities of value chain are performed determines costs and also affects profits.
The model has primary and support activities. The primary activities which directly relate to the physical creation, maintenance, sale and support of a service or product include in bound logistics, operations, out bound logistics, sales and marketing and service. On the other hand, the support activities included procurement, human resource management, technological development and infrastructure.
Using value chain model in analysing SSP Company, the essay found out that the company has an elaborate operations with many levels of process but is not automated or computerised, is inefficient and has a lot of redundancy. Moreover, the inbound and outbound logistics is vibrant but sales and marketing is uncertain. However, the based on the number of invoices the firm handles monthly, it was also presumed to be vibrant. Lastly, as much as SSP Company majorly offers services, the services from direct invoicing process is wanting as evidenced from the complaints of the clients, and is also inefficient because of many errors by employees and delays.
The essay also made assumptions that the company as an effective procurement team and good human resource management from their number of employees. However, technological advancement is unclear from the case study since most of the processes are manual. Additionally, the infrastructure of the company is effective and vibrant. From the analysis of the value chain where activity analysis, value analysis was done, many factors were identified that need to addressed or changed. They include order taking, operation processes, and delivery. Lastly, evaluation and planning was conducted on the value chain model of SSP and recommendation made on how to improve the functioning of the direct invoice services.
The essay used choreography diagram to indicate the message sequence between different participants during direct invoicing process in SSP. Diagrammatic presentation was used to illustrate the message flow. On the other hand, collaboration diagram of direct invoicing process of SSP illustrated the interaction and relation between objects and indicated the functionality, roles and object behaviours. The essay used collaboration diagram to visualize the interaction and relationship in the process of direct invoicing of offices and employees that works together. The exceptions identifies in the direct invoicing process of SSP was computerization and support. These two major factors if included in the operations of the company, it will improve efficiency and customer relations.
Lastly, governance structure of the firm was established to facilitate collaboration amongst members, promote transparency, and consultation with different stakeholders, and to ensure operations of the company is effective. The governance structure has two main components, which are the process architecture and modelling conventions. The essay adopted the Value Reference Model (VRM) as the architecture process. The VRM process architecture has three levels and included plan, govern and execute. On the second component of governance structure, the modelling conventions was categorised into four main groupings that the essay applied in its models. They include architecture, layout, naming and process structure.