Comprehensive Business Process Management at Siemens: Implementing Business Process Excellence

Bartosz Woliński, Saimir Bala

Situation faced: Siemens is a complex organization with offices worldwide. Through many years of development, it grew into a set of businesses, each with a substantial degree of autonomy, supported by central departments. This autonomy gives the departments the flexibility needed to achieve customer intimacy, which requires different process flows in different businesses. When the global initiative concerning the implementation of standard business process management was introduced and enacted, businesses were bundled into four sectors. Every sector in the Siemens organization, including that in Poland, was managing its processes according to the local business specifics and needs, which made the comprehensive process management approach challenging. The processes were disconnected and stored in multiple conventions. Corporate initiatives that were intended to address the effectiveness and efficiency of business processes were not supported.

Action taken: Siemens strengthened its process-wise approach and worldwide process standardization by implementing a formalized process policy. As a first step, the Business Process Excellence (BPE) regulation (also referred to as BPE policy) was introduced. It formulated the Siemens Processes for Excellence (SIPEX) process standards, which replaced the previous processes base, referred to as Reference Process House (RPH). At the same time, process roles (sponsor, owner, and manager) and corporate tools with which to visualize the processes, such as ARIS, were introduced. In the Polish organization, the program was formulated as a vehicle with which to implement the process organization. The goal of the initiative, which was referred to internally as “Streamlining business processes,” included chief financial officers (CFOs) as process sponsors and the head of the business process management team as the program manager.

Results achieved: At present, on the corporate level Business Excellence is a core element of Siemens—Vision 2020. It is embedded into the Corporate Technology structure, which enables it be the part of innovative products and management standards. It is also a key lever that empowers the company’s lasting business success and strengthens its competitiveness in the market.

Lessons learned: From the implementation of the program we learned four primary lessons:

  • Complexity in many dimensions (number of processes, number of roles, and number of formal documents and circulars) is not supportive of effective process management.
  • Having a strong, dedicated sponsor is one of the most important keys to success.
  • Not everyone in the organization will appreciate the effort at first, but they will if an attempt is made to understand their businesses and support their efforts.
  • Be flexible: without putting one’s best effort into implementing the corporate recommendations and without alignment with the business, no appreciation or cooperation should be expected.

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