6.1 – Biologics Company

A biologics organisation was encountering challenges regarding revenue growth, high costs, and overall business complexity.  This organisation recognised the need for change and had launched several improvement initiatives.  However, it was unclear how and even if these initiatives contributed to their goals and to the overall strategy.  Ultimately, it was unclear whether or not they were directing improvements in the right way.  A process and project impact assessment helped them to make the appropriate decisions.

The first step was to prioritise their processes.  They identified their value-drivers, based on the strategic direction provided by the new CEO and additional input from key stakeholders from operations, marketing, sales as well as research and development. The weights of the value-drivers were defined through voting exercises of the key stakeholders. The result was a balanced view on what the company needs to get right to deliver on its new strategy, described through 8 value-drivers.

Next, they defined their process hierarchy structure to level 3. This was done based on information about their product lines, their functional structure, and by leveraging APQC reference models (APQC, 2020).  They ended up with nearly 100 level 3 processes. By linking these processes to the value-drivers by defining the impact of each process on each value-driver, the company identified their high impact processes. These were over 20% of the processes, hence a slightly higher number than expected, based on academic research which suggests 15-20% of high impact processes.

The maturity levels of the different processes were estimated by business experts in the different process areas. This was done using a scale of four maturity levels. This showed how well the company was doing in the specific process areas compared to common and best practices. While this was only a rough estimation, it still showed where high impact processes needed improvements. Addressing those high impact, low maturity processes was key for executing the business strategy.

The definition of the impact of each of the over 20 ongoing projects on the different processes showed that over a third of the improvement activities were focused on low impact commodity processes – which in general even had a medium or good maturity level.  On the other hand, there were high impact, low maturity processes not targeted by any improvement initiative at all. Hence, the current improvement initiatives were not sufficiently aligned with the new strategy.  In other words, they were often fixing small leaks in the boat, while there was a huge hole that wasn’t being addressed.

These findings allowed the executives of the company to re-focus ongoing projects and adjust scopes where required. A few projects were stopped to have more resources for other priority initiatives. An initiative to build their process management capability, including the introduction of a process repository, was added as an enabling project. The definition of the projects as value packages with clearly defined linkage to relevant outcomes help to shape the projects.  The result was an updated process agenda with a revised improvement project portfolio, aligned with the business strategy.

The company leveraged the BPM-D Application (BPM-D, 2020) (Kirchmer, Franz, Gusain, 2018) to conduct this process impact assessment and the following prioritisation activities. The use of the tool was crucial to facilitate the session to identify value-drivers as well as to support stakeholder discussions about process impact and maturity. The tool is now used to update the process and project priorities regularly twice a year to reflect changes in strategy and business environment.

The major outcomes of this organisation’s process and project impact assessment are as follows:

  • Strategy-based focus, direction and priorities of performance improvement, process management and related activities
  • Transparency over high impact and commodity processes as well as their maturity level to adjust focus when necessary
  • Performance improvement projects are defined and ready to be executed and enable significant impact within less than a year
  • Accelerated roll out of the defined process management discipline, leveraging identified methods, tools, and approaches, including the systematic use of a new process repository
  • Ongoing dynamic adjustment of the process and project prioritisation leveraging the appropriate tool and approaches.

By prioritising their processes, this biologics company was able to define a roadmap to execute the business strategy systematically.  They direct now their time and effort towards those initiatives that matter most.

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