Business processes are evolving at a rapid rate, driven by the new availability of advanced technologies, ever-changing workforce and dramatically different territories with respect to market landscapes. It has become somewhat clear that firms will not be able to maximize their competitive edge without the help of certain solutions and tools, many of which fall into the category of business process management.
BPM automation can have a wealth of positive impacts on any adopting organizations, including enhanced efficiency, tighter control of information, stronger employee engagement and more optimal operational performances. It takes a sound balance of people, process and technology management to get the job done in these regards, but many companies have already enjoyed far greener pastures in the past few years.
Now, one of the first steps to achieving BPM is to first understand the ebb and flow of operations as they stand, not allowing any moving part to be overlooked or missed in the planning stages. After all, the most effective BPM strategies will be comprehensive and exhaustive, ensuring that all variables and components within operations are working in concert to a unified, structured line of objectives.
Automation World recently reported that a wealth of businesses will often miss the boat when it comes to process safety integration within a BPM strategy, despite the opportunity to reduce risk and drive efficiency involved therein. As automation becomes a more common component of BPM, the software can be used to cover various safety objectives, as well as others, so long as the company is planning and executing properly.
According to the news provider, the real problem might be contained within the standards and compliance requirements facing process-based industries, forcing them to keep control systems and safety systems separated. This does not necessarily mean that firms cannot find ways to integrate the two, though, in a way that works toward the objective of improving safety and minimizing risk.
The source explained that some experts in the field believe that protection layers in safety systems can indeed be independent to oblige failsafe regulations, but instead comprehensively coordinating the entirety into an integrated process management control.
"The protection layers must be independent, not coordinated," ABB's Luis Duran told Automation World. "Any of these layers can fail at a given point of time. The other ones have to be able to respond independently from each other to keep the process safe. That's how each of these layers can continue to work even though one of the layers has failed."
There is no denying that safety must come first for process industry players and other companies, but finding a more efficient way to cover these matters will often work to the benefit of businesses from all directions.
The path forward
Businesses outside of process industries might think that these types of suggestions and best practices are irrelevant, but this is simply not the case. Rather, all companies have at least some safety controls included in their operational processes, and management can often be streamlined through the use of advanced automation software that covers all components contained within BPM.
At the end of the day, automation in BPM should be viewed as a path forward for virtually all processes, as the technology comes with the ability to significantly reduce rework and waste while driving the effectiveness of various strategies. By working closely with a vendor of robust automation solution options, companies of all sizes and from all backgrounds will be better prepared to streamline BPM in a comprehensive and successful fashion before long.