Modelling business process: an integrated approach

Perumpalath, Binoy P. (2005) Modelling business process: an integrated approach. MBA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The aim of this research was to analyse the business processes of a manufacturing unit (Thermo) of Huhtamaki (UK) Ltd. by means of process modelling as well as assist the senior management in the appraisal and selection of strategic alternatives. The objectives of the research were to find out, how process modelling can aid process improvement and strategic decision-making; the benefits of process modelling and ways to realise them; Selection of appropriate process modelling techniques required for achieving the aims of the project. An action research based approach was used to conduct the research. The primary data was collected through observer as participant method, semi structured interviews and questionnaires. Secondary data in the form of company reports, manuals, drawings, process layouts and plant layouts were also used. The research had four main phases, such as Process modelling; Plant layout design; Obtaining budget costs and Timescales; and Decision analysis. A mixture of hard, soft, qualitative and quantitative modelling techniques such as IDEF0, Soft Systems Methodology (SSM), Value stream mapping, Workflow mapping, Activity relationship diagram, Gantt chart and Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) etc. were applied. The As-Is process information was captured via IDEF0 modelling. Then SSM and IDEF0 was used to analyse the As-Is process and develop the To-Be processes. A set of potential process changes was formulated as a result of SSM model comparison with the As-Is IDEF0 models. A distinctive hybrid (soft & hard) method namely Soft IDEF0 is presented. It can be applied to any process modelling, analysis, improvement and change initiatives. The Process charts identified processes to be automated such as packing, palletising and pallet transportation. Workflow maps identified machine layout and material flow problems. The activity relationship diagrams helped to develop new plant layouts. The decision analysis using AHP, incorporating stakeholder preferences showed that Automation was the most suitable option for the Thermo plant. The AHP analysis was validated using sensitivity analysis. Significant reduction in decision time, ease of achieving consensus and documentation was achieved by using AHP. The proposed methodology is generally applicable to any strategic options/ projects selection problem. Process modelling and the resulting process models have distinctive benefits. The former encourages process thinking while the latter documents the process information. Together they facilitate explicit analysis of business processes. The purpose and perspectives of the modelling exercise is extremely important in the selection of modelling techniques. It may be necessary to integrate different techniques, e.g. Soft IDEF0 to achieve the modelling objectives. It is important to plan the modelling process effectively. The participation of firm members in the modelling process is vital as it will prevent the Not invented here problem. Further research is required to analyse the application and benefits of process modelling in general and Soft IDEF0 approach in particular in implementing process change. The Soft IDEF0 approach may be further developed by using IDEF0 models as SSM concept models.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Portsmouth Business School > Operations and Systems Management
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:47
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:13

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