The Ultimate Business Process Consultant Guide Every Business Needs
Last Updated on April 10, 2021 by Owen McGab Enaohwo
Imagine that you have the perfect plan for executing your business processes, but communicating it to your team members is a problem. No matter how hard you try to explain it, they do not get it as well as you want them to. A lack of understanding causes setbacks, including errors, delays, and wastage in your operations—a big threat to your business. Would you rather take the risk of losing all that you have worked for or get the help of a business process consultant to streamline your business processes?
This article covers all the information you need to know about what a business process consultant does and how you can engage them in your business for maximum results.
Business Process Consultant Hiring Guide – Content Index
Chapter 1: Who is a Business Process Consultant?
Streamlining business processes is vital for success in the modern-day workplace. Lessons learned from the impact of failed processes in organizations are hard to forget. In the late ’90s, NASA lost $193 million from the disintegration of its Mars Climate Orbiter satellite due to ineffective processes.
More organizations are toeing the line of relying on systematization to avoid mishaps and gain a competitive edge. Unfortunately, sometimes the processes they create are not practical due to a lack of expertise. The essence of streamlining their business processes in the first place is defeated.
This is where a business process consultant (BPC) comes in. Think of a BPC as an Albert Einstein of business processes.
A business process consultant is an expert who ensures that processes implemented in a business live up to expectations.
Business process consultants are highly trained professionals who are well-versed in how business processes function. They have a great deal of experience in working with organizations and can set an organization’s operations on the right track with the end goal of enhancing efficiency and boosting productivity.
President of Marc Nelson Oil Products, Peter Nelson, understood that his knowledge of documenting his company’s business process was limited. Instead of doing it himself, he engaged the services of business process consultant Adi Klevit, and both of them worked together to streamline the business processes at the organization. Nelson used to be afraid of losing skilled employees because they would leave with knowledge that was not properly documented for future employees to know. Now he has no reason to worry because his processes are well documented. Anyone at his company can access any information that they need.
How Business Process Consultants Work
A business process consultant is no magician. He/she works closely with a team to bring about improvements in its processes by analyzing their current practices.
This goes beyond pen-and-paperwork.
A business process consultant rolls up their sleeves and gets involved in the work process. They pay close attention to what workers in an organization do and how they do it. They ask questions about the most minute procedures to grasp existing processes and jot down their observations. Every detail is important to a BPC in connecting the dots.
Improvement is a constant target for business process consultants—they acknowledge that there is always room for improving a business process, no matter how great it may seem at the moment.
The key areas that a business process consultant looks at in evaluating business processes include:
- Time management
- Resources management
- Bottlenecks in the processes
- Redundant processes that can be yanked off
- Error triggers
- Physical activities that elongate the work process
- Ineffective communication
Having taken note of the loopholes and gaps in the business processes, the consultant files their report to top management with recommendations for improvement. The BPC also works hand-in-hand with the organization in implementing the improvements.
Are you wondering if you need the services of a business process consultant in your organization? Next, we will discuss what business process consultants bring to the table and how they can impact your organization in the next chapter.
Chapter 2: Why You Need a Business Process Consultant in Your Organization
Many organizations are indecisive about hiring a business process consultant because they do not see a need for their services to streamline their business processes themselves using workflow software such as SweetProcess. While you can streamline your business processes yourself, and SweetProcess can undoubtedly help, a business process consultant’s input will make a difference as they bring their expertise and experience to the table. They may also help you more effectively use tools like SweetProcess for your business in the future!
Before we proceed, let us check signs that your business processes might need a business process consultant’s attention.
- Misuse of employees’ time
- Work clutter created by clogs in the business process
- Repetitive processes
- Error-laden work
- Ineffective communication
What a Business Process Consultant Can Do for Your Business
Do you experience any of these problems in your business operations? If yes, you need a business process consultant in your organization ASAP to help you streamline your operations by doing the following:
Provide an objective view of your current business processes
Having a grasp of the current state of your business processes helps you find the right way forward. As the owner or manager of a business, you may not be able to identify blind spots in your operations due to familiarity, and that will alter your judgment of the actual state of things.
In an interview on the Process Breakdown Podcast, business process consultant Joe Bockerstette explains that process measurement is a pain point for many organizations in documenting their business processes:
“Process measurement, in particular, is an area where most organizations come way short in measuring what ought to be measured to drive the kind of improvement that they want to drive.”
As one who is not a part of your team, a BPC is in a better position to do an objective assessment of your current operations without sentiments.
Bring a fresh perspective to your processes
Streamlining your business processes by yourself can be tiresome and cumbersome. This makes you oblivious to some blind spots. As an external individual, a business process consultant brings a fresh pair of eyes, spotting things that you would ordinarily not see. They might be aware of certain techniques that yielded great results for a client they have worked with and can replicate the success in your business.
Identify suitable workflow documentation options
Your workflow is as good as it is documented. A business process consultant is experienced in the best practices for documentation. They know the most suitable documentation format for various business types and can craft custom documentation for your business instead of doing generic documentation.
The goal of business process documentation is to be efficient, not to go overboard. People ignorantly elongate their workflow with redundant procedures in a bid to be detailed. A business process consultant knows the right information that should be included in your workflow, and will help you get rid of repeated processes.
Business process consultant Josh Fonger advises against being too detailed: “You’re not going to write a procedure for how to clean up a piece of trash that falls on the floor. Because if you go to that level, you’re going to write a million procedures.” He recommends that organizations should have operating principles instead. “You want to have these general beliefs, values—we call them operating principles—that guide the millions of interactions that happen all day, every day, which guide the work.”
Ensure effective time management
Taking all day to do things right is counterproductive. A business process consultant ensures that you get things done in the shortest time possible. By doing this, you will empower your employees, satisfy your customers, and increase your productivity levels.
Automate repetitive tasks
Repetitive tasks take up time that can be used for other activities. A business process consultant checks for ways to automate repetitive tasks through workflow automation so that you and your team can focus on more engaging tasks.
Facilitate effective communication
A lack of understanding between employees leads to errors and failures in their responsibilities. A business process consultant removes any noise in the workflow that may obstruct communication to ensure that information passed along is well-received.
A process consultant synchronizes all of the aforementioned in your workflow for maximum results. Any interruption is a sign that something is amiss, and they resolve it.
Industries That Need a Business Process Consultant
The services of a business process consultant cut across industries. As long as there are processes involved, you need the services of an expert to fine-tune the workflow.
Industries in need of a business process consultant include:
- Government agencies
- Government contractors
- Financial services
- Information technology
- Manufacturing, etc.
How do you ensure that you are satisfied with the services of a business process consultant? In the next chapter, we get to talk about the drawbacks some organizations experience with business consultants and how to avoid them.
Chapter 3: Drawbacks of Using a Business Process Consultant
A business process consultant is meant to streamline your business processes for high performance. Anything short of this is a breach of trust.
There are cases when the expectations organizations have of a business process consultant fall short, leaving them with regrets about hiring the consultant in the first place. A lack of satisfaction stems from several factors that are sometimes overlooked.
Miscommunication about specific expectations
It is common knowledge that a business process consultant’s job is to make your business processes effective, but a consultant has limited knowledge of your business and can only work with the information at their disposal. You understand your specific business needs better and should communicate those needs to the consultant. Also, let them know the transformation you desire in those areas.
A lack of industry-related expertise
A mismatch between a business process consultant and an organization leads to disappointments due to the absence of a specialized skill set. A trained business process consultant may understand the general requirements of the job, but they need hands-on experience in a particular industry to function efficiently. Ensure that the consultant has experience in your industry or a business similar to yours.
You should only hire a business process consultant when you acknowledge a need for their services in your business and you trust their expertise. Some business owners may have sentiments over their business operations and may be unwilling to allow the consultant to deconstruct their processes. In such a situation, the consultant is unable to execute the job they were hired for thoroughly. Cooperate with the consultant and give them all the support that they need.
The above measures for avoiding issues with your business process consultant will only be effective if the consultant is well-grounded. To this end, we shall discuss the requirements, skills, and responsibilities of a business process consultant in the next chapter.
Chapter 4: Must-have Requirements, Skills, and Responsibilities of a Business Process Consultant
Business process consultancy is gaining popularity by the day as more businesses recognize the need for a professional touch in their operations. This growing popularity makes the career more attractive and people who lack the necessary qualifications and skills want to benefit from it by claiming to be business process consultants. Hiring someone incompetent is a waste of time and resources.
Requirements and Skills of a Business Process Consultant
The requirements and skills of a good business process consultant include the following:
- Bachelor’s degree or advanced degree in a business-related program from a credible institution
- Process certifications in Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, BPM, ITL or its equivalent
- Good research, writing, and presentation skills
- Good interpersonal communication skills
- Ability to work in a team
- Ability to develop customer voice and evaluate the customer experience
- Ability to cultivate and sustain cross-functional relationships
- Experience in consulting, accounting/finance, information technology, operations, etc.
- Good data gathering and analysis skills
- Attention to detail
Responsibilities of a Business Process Consultant
The responsibilities of a good business process consultant include the following:
- Facilitate business process design, improvement, and reengineering to achieve specific business goals
- Troubleshoot business processes, identify technical issues, and develop effective solutions
- Work closely with operational team members to understand the business processes, root causes, outcomes, and identify areas for improvement
- Manage a cross-functional team for the successful execution of business projects
- Create standard operating procedures to achieve operational goals
- Identify areas for business process optimization and automation
- Create a model for the seamless integration of new processes with existing ones
- Identify the best tools and software for business process documentation
- Update and review business process documentation to meet the changing demands of the organization
- Give recommendations on reducing waste and increasing performance output in the organization
Now that you know the requirements, skills, and responsibilities of a business process consultant, your next task is to find one. The next chapter outlines practical steps to take in finding the best person for the job.
Chapter 5: How to Find a Good Business Process Consultant
Finding a good business process consultant can be difficult. Despite the high availability of business process consultants on the market, there aren’t many who truly know what they’re doing. With inefficiency causing businesses as much as 30% of their revenue each year, finding a good BPC is a money saver.
Consider the following areas in your search for the right consultant:
Examine their track record
The failure or success of a business process consultant is visible on their track record. Who have they worked with and how was their performance? The results should guide you in measuring their efficiency.
A business process consultant may not have experience in your industry, but do they have experience in working with businesses that have processes that are similar to yours? If the answer is yes, they could be a good fit. Since they will be working closely with members of your team who have hands-on experience in your business, they can replicate their success with the similar processes they have worked on in your business.
Check their flexibility
A one-size-fits-all approach is not the best in improving or reengineering business processes. A BPC that operates with only one model is not your best option. It is their responsibility to be vast in the different business process improvement methodologies to know what works best in certain business environments.
For instance, Six Sigma might be great for business A, but the same method might fall flat if used on business B. The consultant should know when it is necessary to implement a different model. Listen to what they have to say about the different methods. If they have a grasp of the various business improvement methods and can give you reasons why a particular method is most suitable for your business, you are most likely in good hands.
Evaluate their communication skills
The consultant you want to hire may be an expert in business processes, but they cannot execute the job alone; they will be working closely with your employees. It is important that they can communicate and interact with your employees effectively, otherwise their efforts will have minimal impact.
Team motivation enhances and fast tracks the job of a BPC. If employees in the organization do not feel motivated enough about the improvement task, they will be reluctant to give their best, and it will reflect in the overall output. A consultant with great communication and people skills understands how to get employees to be part of the process.
Mark Graban, a business process consultant, points out the need to ask the right questions in measuring performance to avoid noise and achieve better results: “Instead of asking, ‘Why did sales drop last month?’ we should refocus that time on asking the question of, ‘How do we improve the business?’ It’s a less reactive, more systematic thought process.”
Keep an open mind on cost
Saving money on hiring a business process consultant may be a good business call but you may not get the best if you are fixated on getting the most affordable person.
Bear it in mind that business process consultants who know their stuff do not come cheap. You must keep that in mind beforehand. Pay attention to the value that the BPC will bring to the table rather than their cost. You may ask the consultant about the improvements they will make to your processes, and how the improvements will enhance your business to get a sense of their value.
Average Salary of a Business Process Consultant in the United States
Business process consultants are an integral part of business organizations due to the efficiency of their services. Most business process consultants bill on an hourly rate against a fixed rate. According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly rate of a BPC in the US is $46.76 and the average salary is $97,254 a year. The salary can be as high as $134,500 and as low as $52,000.
The role of a business process consultant in business operations is similar to an expert pilot’s role in flying an aircraft: they both ensure a safe landing. You can sleep well at night knowing that your business operations are not in harm’s way if you have the right consultant.
Check out our directory of tested and proven business process consultants who have helped several organizations streamline their operations and download our free Business Process Improvement Appraisal Checklist to measure your business processes’ efficiency.