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Professor Robert M. Donnelly
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October 19, 2022

INSIGHTS ARTICLE: Stevens Institute of Technology - Business Process Management

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Business Process Management

The challenge of management in the new technology-driven business world of today has taken on a whole new dimension.

The application of Artificial Intelligence , Machine Learning , and Robotics, to the operational processes of management requires a new leadership style that can react quickly to the immense amount of real time data that is being generated. Large companies are digitalizing their businesses to increase profitability and in the process decreasing their workforce by the application of technology that’s improving customer outcomes.

In reality, business is about finding customers that relate to the way that the company does what it does in the way that it does it, and then migrating with those customers as their requirements change over time. Business is about customers, but many companies think that they are in the “product” business, not the “customer” business.

Today, more than any time in the past, information about customers – their psychographic profiles and preferences is abundant. Additionally, customers using their electronic devices are generating huge amounts of data on their repetitive behaviors that is being analyzed by smart algorithms that are producing predictive analytics on what they are going to do next.

Amazon, the pioneer in changing business process management, adopted their “customer centric” strategic philosophy and continues to refine their “unique value proposition” to be the Everything Store for the world.

Their simple process of searching for and eliminating customer “pain points” has disrupted all the markets that they have entered since inception of the company by their now famous entrepreneurial founder - Jeff Bezos back in 1994. The Amazon management team studies the customer purchasing journey and identifies what steps along the way that cause customers the most frustration (pain) in their shopping experiences, and then develops automated ways to reduce or eliminate those pain points. Thus delighting the customer and reinforcing their loyalty and brand equity to the Amazon brand.

An example of this is the introduction on their Amazon Fresh new grocery store shopping experience. Historically, grocery store food shoppers would load their shopping carts and then proceed to the checkout counter, which typically in large grocery stores had a long line of customers waiting to “check out”. They would take their groceries out of their carts, place them on the checkout counter and then put them in bags, and back into their carts and then pay the cashier. All told a time consuming and painful shopping experience for grocery store shoppers. 

 

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Many grocery store chains adopted the “self checkout” alternative where shoppers scanned their purchases and electronically checked out themselves. However, the lines at the self-checkout option became as long as the alternative they were designed to relieve.

Amazon management studied this process and recognized that the checkout experience was the most painful of the grocery shopping customer journey. Their new Amazon Fresh stores are built to accept customer credit cards or other forms of Amazon ID’s when shoppers enter the stores, and have electronic sensors in the ceilings and shelves so that when customer’s select a product it is electronically processed to the customer’s account. When the customer is finished shopping they can leave the store with their groceries in their carts and are billed electronically, eliminating the painful checkout experience of the past.

Lesson

The lesson here is that tech-savvy management teams are utilizing the technology available today to make it easy for their customers to do business with them as Amazon has done. And, in the process reinforce their brand equity with existing customers and attract new customers by adopting these new technology-driven process management techniques.

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