Why Process Mining makes jaws drop

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Process Mining; I take every opportunity to show how powerful this technique is. It’s amazing to see people’s jaws drop when they see their own processes flowing in front of their eyes like a movie (the “aha” moment). It’s like seeing a baby grab hold of something for the first time, with great amazement. Process Mining allows people to see their own processes, in which they play a role on a daily bases, completely transparent, end-to-end and from a helicopter-view. I have witnessed how Process Mining surprised and amazed executives and operational staff at some of the biggest companies in the world, over a dozen times. I saw the tremendous impact this technique has on people, processes and organizations. For this reason, I strongly belief in the power of Process Mining.

As mentioned previously, Process Mining has the ability to surprise, amaze and impact people and organizations. It takes just one well-executed demo to demonstrate the value of Process Mining. This demo is the first step in the overall process. After that comes step two: convince the decision maker to apply Process Mining. This is where you need a rock-solid business case and track record. Because, in the end, it’s all about the value.

Process Mining however, starts with focusing on gaining insight. Therefore, the question ‘What is the value of Process Mining?’ should be translated to the underlying question: ‘What is the value of insight?’. I believe that the answer to this question is rather simple: it’s the value you gain by implementing the actions you carry out, which you would or could not have taken without these insights. If you track these actions accordingly, the value is actually fairly easy to quantify.

The “conscious competence” learning model of Maslow provides a different perspective to the value of Process Mining:

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I like to ask clients a simple question just before they enter their first Process Mining workshop: “in how many ways do you think your processes are executed?”. The answer is typically a factor of 100 (!) lower than reality! This is an astounding difference between the expectations and the reality. You could call this ‘Unconscious Incompetence’. Without the insight of Process Mining you are simply unaware of deviations, bottlenecks or delays and their severity.

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Process mining helps you to get fact-based transparency into your process inefficiencies. Consider this real life example of a purchasing process in a firm that processes 67k purchase orders every year: in 20% of the purchases (13.7k), the price is changed after creation of the purchase order. This rework could be avoided. The impact is significant: the throughput time of these orders are on average 7 days longer than purchase orders that were immediately correct. The amount of time wasted by clerks and management on this unnecessary activity calculates up to an estimated 13.7k price changes * 20min per price change = 2.5 FTE a year. The management had some indications of these inefficiencies. However, they were simply unaware of its severity, until they mined their processes.

Due to the fact that Process Mining showed you that your process is not working optimally, you’ve become Consciously Incompetent. You are now aware that you can optimize your process. Without Process Mining, chances are very high that you would have missed the “aha” moment. The next step is to determine what the root causes are and to tackle them. This can be accomplished by using a Process Mining tool that allows drill-down to know when, where, by whom, how and why undesired process behaviour occurred.

With this information, process owners can now become Consciously Competent by taking action to eliminate the bottlenecks, reduce rework & waste activities and increase process compliance. In the purchase example above, this could mean that an adjustment in the process that enables first time right creation of purchase orders, is necessary. At our seminar, Joris Keizer (Veco) will present a case that is a perfect example of how insights where used to reduce the throughput time by 50% in the production process.

Once processes have been optimized and you have adopted Process Mining as a continuous monitoring method, you have become Unconsciously Competent.

Curious? Please reach out to us. We would love to tell you more about process mining and provide you with examples of our work!

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