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SAP Signavio is SAP's solution suite for managing business processes.  From a capabilities standpoint, this includes:

  • Process Monitoring and Analysis – Ability to access, analyze, and interpret actual end-to-end process performance and process variation to find inefficiencies and understand root causes of process failures

  • Collaborative Process Design – Design and control the business processes across the enterprise and facilitate the design of improved enterprise processes to address performance issues and improvement opportunities

The following is a partial list of business process areas to consider:

  • Group 1 (cross-industry) – Accounts payable and receivable, capital asset management, employee hiring, maintenance, MRO buying and inventory management

  • Group 2 (industry-specific) – Sourcing, supplier replenishment, APQP, service parts planning, transportation and premium freight management, capacity planning, production scheduling, product quality assurance, customer demand schedules (suppliers)

  • Group 3 (more complex) – dealer interaction (OEM),

While all companies across all industries rely on business processes to achieve performance objectives, I would like to point out specific use cases for how companies in the Automotive manufacturing industry can benefit from the use of SAP Signavio:

Continuous Improvement Programs

To varying degrees, every automotive manufacturer has some type of continuous improvement program already in place.  This applies not only to production processes but also to business processes.  Inefficient and ineffective business processes lead to additional costs (i.e., premium freight, overtime pay, unplanned changeovers, excess inventory, etc.) as well as to poor customer service performance.
Most continuous improvement teams lack data for making intelligent decisions pertaining to process weaknesses and improvement priorities.

Unfortunately, most continuous improvement programs today lack data.  The ability to quantitatively identify process weaknesses across all functional areas is sorely missing.  The limited resources available for process improvement are assigned to improvement projects that may or may not be the best improvement opportunities.  Most continuous improvement teams lack data for making intelligent decisions pertaining to process weaknesses and improvement priorities.

Signavio process mining should be used to collaboratively design business processes that are 1) both effective and efficient, 2) monitor the compliant execution of those processes, and 3) help process managers analyze performance issues to identify the biggest and best opportunities for process improvement.

ERP Implementation Projects

Whether you are considering a greenfield, brownfield, or bluefield implementation, business processes need to be a big consideration.  An ERP implementation is the perfect time to take a fresh look at overall business performance, refreshing of key performance indicators, and alignment of leadership to a common set of enterprise goals and objectives.

ERP implementations also present challenges.  Misalignment of leadership leads to project pauses, cost overruns, and other types of failures.  Poor change management can also thwart efforts for a smooth transformation with resistance to change and poor adoption of new processes.

SAP Signavio helps an ERP implementation project in multiple ways.  Before the implementation, Signavio will help align the organization to a common set of objectives and KPI’s and will provide a collaborative environment for the design of new, improved processes.  Considerable costs and risks associated with ERP implementation can be eliminated or greatly reduced with diligent attention to the “phase 0” activities of “future-state” process designs.

Additionally, Signavio also provides the enterprise-wide collaborative environment for communicating process changes with the masses of people impacted by planned process changes.  This facilitates change management and can significantly reduce resistance to change and the implementation of weak processes.

ISO Program and Compliance Management

ISO programs (or TS and IATF 16949 in the automotive industry) are about establishing product, business, and IT processes purposefully designed to accomplish specific objectives (i.e. quality standards, cost control, sustainability goals) and then monitoring or auditing process execution to ensure compliance or conformance.

ISO programs are rapidly becoming more digital as previously manual processes are replaced with digital quality management systems.  In the context of digital BPM, this means that ISO processes will leave digital breadcrumbs and allow digital analysis and monitoring.  Signavio process mining does exactly this.

Signavio will facilitate the design and redesign of ISO processes (with the optional ability to print an ISO operating guidelines manual) and provide the ability to digitally monitor actual execution of ISO-significant processes.  Further, violations of ISO processes can trigger alert notifications to internal audit staff for investigation and remediation.

Focused Process Improvement

Most companies have a process or set of processes that need to be redesigned.  Maybe customers are complaining about the sales process, or maybe suppliers are complaining about ongoing errors in invoice processing.  Maybe the wrong products are in the wrong quantities in the wrong place and at the wrong time.  Company performance issues can almost always be tied to the underlying business processes.

Although a company-wide approach to business process management is extremely important, many companies recognize major weaknesses in a particular functional area and initiate special projects to address the issue.  Signavio provides the applications for understanding and diagnosing the current processes and poor performance, and then facilitating the ideation and design of improved processes.  As a bonus, Signavio stays in place after the process improvements to assess the success of the improvement project and reveal further improvement opportunities.


To summarize, whether a company is looking for a company-wide approach for structured, data-driven business process management, or if they have a very specific localized target for performance improvement, SAP Signavio will provide them with the BPM applications, an approach to process improvement, and “accelerators” to help streamline their “processes for managing business processes”.

Chet Harter is a member of the SAP Signavio Center of Excellence and a former process manager in the automotive supplier industry.  He can be reached at