Business process simulation (BPS) uses qualitative analysis to assess key workflows. By identifying potential problems and opportunities for improvement, companies that leverage process simulators are able to optimize workflows and their outcomes.
Simulators are computer models that replicate the real-world behavior of business processes. This helps organizations not only understand how a process works but also test workflow improvements and ensure that they yield positive results.
Business process simulators perform “what-if” scenarios that help teams determine what would happen if process conditions changed. For instance, a project team could create a “what-if” scenario to model how overall project costs would be affected by the absence of key personnel. The team can then use a process simulation to test the “what-if” scenario and analyze the impact of the specified changes.
Business process simulators facilitate better decision-making because teams can assess the impact of proposed changes before they are implemented, reducing the risk of workflow disruption.
In this article, we will discuss the reasons for organizations to use process simulators and how they can benefit your departments and teams. We will also look at how to use MindManager® to create a customized, collaborative business process simulation.
Why should your business use process simulators?
Identifying, analyzing, and optimizing your existing business processes is key to driving performance and improving the quality of your products and services. Despite their obvious benefits, around 70% of improvement projects fail. This is because organizations often take a trial-and-error approach to evaluating process improvements.
The trial-and-error method requires valuable resources such as team members, materials, and company time to test out improvements. Process simulation eliminates the need to run through an entire process in a real-time environment. Instead, project teams can implement variables in the simulator and test the process under a variety of conditions.
Because process simulators are not limited by available staff and resources, they are a cost-effective alternative to physical prototypes. By simulating the what-if scenarios against process models, companies are better positioned to understand and optimize their workflows.
How process simulations can benefit your team
Process simulators empower teams with the ability to use various improvement strategies without having to use time and resources to actually execute processes. Testing and iterating potential improvements before implementing them in existing workflows reduces the risk of process changes.
Additional benefits of using business process simulation include the following:
- Accelerated change analysis. A process simulator tests the effectiveness of workflow improvements in a fraction of the time it would take for teams to analyze performance in a real-world operational environment.With process simulation, it is easy to assess if simulated process improvements yielded their desired outcomes. Teams can then test different improvement designs and identify the solution that generates the best results.
- Reduced costs and resources. Using the trial-and-error method to test process improvements can be time-consuming, resource-intensive, and expensive. Teams that use process simulation save time, money, and resources by testing theoretical scenarios in a digital environment. The ability to execute numerous what-if scenarios enables teams to consider and test multiple components in a virtual environment.
- Increased workflow transparency. Business process simulations take workflow visualization to the next level. Simulators show not only the activities that make up business processes, but they also consider components such as allocated resources, sub-processes, timeframes, and people involved in the workflow.When teams see how activities within a process connect to one another, they can identify bottlenecks and redundancies such as limited staffing or supply chain delays that impact operational efficiency.
- Enhanced training and education. Process simulators depict workflows in a virtual environment, which eliminates the risk of injuries or other security concerns associated with training employees in real-world situations. Simulation enables team members to understand how the process operates and where their contributions fit into the overall goal of the project workflow.
How to use MindManager to create a business process simulator
MindManager gives companies a variety of visual productivity tools to bring clarity and structure to business processes. With a wide range of available flowcharts and diagrams, it’s easy for teams to create and collaborate on existing, new, and alternative processes.
Follow these steps to create a business process simulator using MindManager:
Step 1: Define the problem you wish to solve
- Where the process starts and ends
- The desired outcome of the process
- The steps executed to achieve the desired outcome
- Possible alternative process paths
- Dependencies and events that can change the flow of the process
Once you’ve defined the scope of the process, you can then identify opportunities for improvement. It is a good idea to seek feedback from those who are involved with the process regularly—they might be aware of sub-steps and bottlenecks an outside user might not see.
Step 2: Create a workflow model
A workflow model is a visual representation of the series of sequential activities that make up an operational process. Because it outlines each activity within a process and identifies the key performance indicators (KPIs), your workflow model is the backbone of a business processes simulation.
MindManager gives you an array of templates that can be used to model business processes. From flowcharts to swim lane diagrams and everything in between, it’s easy to create and edit process visualizations.
Flowchart illustrating an eCommerce sales process. Created in MindManager.
Step 3: Run the business process simulation
Once the team has created a workflow model that accurately depicts the process and proposed improvements, run the simulation and test various what-if scenarios. Your KPIs will help you assess the impact of improvements on the overall workflow.
If the simulation’s results do not align with your expected improvements, go back to your workflow diagram and make any needed adjustments. You may need to repeat the simulation numerous times to collect stakeholder feedback and fine-tune process improvements.
Enhance business process improvement with MindManager
Workflow visualization tools help businesses gain a deeper level of understanding into key processes. MindManager’s templates are highly customizable and easy to use thanks to its drag-and-drop functionality.
With MindManager, teams can test out process improvements in real time without the risk of costly prototypes or project delays. With the co-editing feature in MindManager, multiple users can work on a diagram or flowchart at the same time, even if they are in different locations or working on different devices.