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Business Process Improvement (BPI) is for every company, in every industry. From lemonade stands to Lexus dealerships, every business functions on processes and every process has room for continuous improvement.
Does the same hold true for process mining? Which industries and companies are leading the way? Who is doing process mining right and why?
Process mining is an automated, systematic approach to defining the ‘as-is’ phase of BPI and measuring the impact of change at scale along a transformation journey. The core of process mining lies in verifiable, time-stamped digital footprints left in IT systems. By this definition, organizations without information technology systems cannot benefit from process mining. It is true; 6-year-old Sally’s corner lemonade stand will need to take a more time consuming manual route to process improvement if she plans on boosting sales this summer. However, for the vast majority of businesses in the 21st century, and virtually every single Fortune 500 company, process mining is the modern answer to Business Process Improvement.
Industry early adopters of process mining are no surprise: retail, telecommunications, and finance. These industries are in constant operation with complex, interdependent processes co-occurring across various information systems. Their quick adoption of process mining and ways in which they churn out tangible results serve as inspiration.
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Retail: Walmart Reduces Waiting Time with “Check Out with Me”
Walmart is the world’s largest retailer (still officially holding Amazon, just barely, at bay). The retail giant has over 20,000 brick and mortar stores in 28 countries and has spent the past five years building the world’s biggest private data cloud. This private cloud is to help them better compete with Amazon and process 2.5 petabytes (one quadrillion) of data every hour.
Walmart would not be able to achieve BPI at scale without process mining. “If you can’t get insights until you’ve analyzed your sales for a week or a month, then you’ve lost sales within that time,” says Senior Statistical Analyst Naveen Peddamail. Process mining is fast, scalable, and delivers benefit through an objective data-driven focus on process anomalies, bottlenecks, waste and hidden opportunities. Walmart says big data, most likely supported by process mining, is used as an essential part of their strategy to gain a better understanding of their customers and make better business decisions.
One such process improvement is being rolled out across 350 U.S. “Lawn & Garden Centers” where the company identified a need for a more seamless, faster checkout experience. Customers who came to buy a 50-pound bag of mulch or a lemon tree needed to haul the heavy load inside the store to be checked out at a fixed register. Now, the register comes to them. “Check Out with Me,” launched in April 2018, is Walmart’s attempt to cut out this frustrating and time-consuming part of the payment process at their “Lawn & Garden Centers.” Customers wheel their items to their car, and a checkout attended waiting in the parking lot scans items and finalizes card payments.
Process mining helps pinpoint specific processes that have a significant time delay. With this process improvement rollout, Walmart will be able to measure checkout time fluctuation and customer satisfaction to decide if “Check Out with Me” should be expanded nationwide or globally.
Telecommunications: Vodafone Employs “The Doctor Approach”
Telcos are known for leading the digital transformation in customer service experience. As an industry, telecommunications has moved from a technology-focused model (vast signal networks) to a user-centric service-delivery model (virtual customer care, replacement of legacy systems). It’s a bold industry with a short innovation cycle – another sign of a process mining fit. There’s a significant need to understand the difference between the ideal world (goals, concepts) and the real world (measurable results). To bridge this gap, Vodafone employs “the doctor approach,” or the rule that data scientists not only provide a diagnosis of a problem but the solution as well.
Vodafone’s doctor approach is based on the quick discovery of process inefficiencies followed by the right managerial structure that empowers these “doctors” to see a problem through to resolution. Process mining supports Vodafone in detecting process vulnerabilities, frees up time for process owners to solve problems rather than playing process mapping detective, and allows for real-time analysis of complex, interdependent processes.
According to a recent analysis, Vodafone reduced cost per process order from $3.22 to $2.85 one year after employing the tools and techniques of process mining. Additionally, the firm has increased “perfect deals” — internal orders done without any manual rework — from 73% to 93% in two years. By empowering their teams with technology (process mining software) and the authority to implement change at the right level, Vodafone is firmly positioned in the competitive telco space.
Finance: APG Tackles a Pension Problem with Process Mining
From billion-dollar FinTech startups to contactless payments and cryptocurrency the way we use, view and exchange money are rapidly changing. Even the less exciting side of the financial industry — pension funds – is finding a new foothold in process mining and technology. Take Dutch pension firm APG and their challenge to understand why recent divorcees cost the company €13 per call.
According to the plan, APG’s website had all the information each client needed. Whether the client matched the profile of a 25-year-old recent college grad looking to plan for the future or a 63-year-old soon to be pensioner trying to understand how they will receive benefits, the website was solid. User profiles, content categories, and digital journeys were mapped to create a limited need for phone and email support. However, the ‘as is’ process was very different. APG used process mining to identify and fix this problem.
APG noticed a small group of customers was taking up a considerable amount of time — divorcees looking to understand their rights and financial obligations of pension life post marriage. It was taking an individual 4 or more phone calls with a pension expert to satisfy their woes. APG used process discovery and process mining to identify this expensive group, trace their digital footprints and deliver a solution that would reduce the need for these people to seek continuous phone support.
What’s Next for Process Mining?
Manufacturing, logistics, pharmaceuticals, sales, medicine, food services, public sector, tourism — all these industries have begun stepping into the world of process mining. Where there is a digital footprint, there is potential for process mining software. Process mining will soon become a ubiquitous part of “Industry 4.0” – the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies.
To learn more about the future of process mining and how Minit technology can support a BPI transformation at your company, get in touch with our team. We’re excited about process mining innovation and assisting our customers in defining and succeeding in process mining.