A Comprehensive Guide to Process Analysis

Learn everything about process analysis and understand why this is needed for continued business growth.

two professionals conducting process analysis

What is Process Analysis?

Process analysis, also known as Business Process Analysis (BPA), is a system used to go over and evaluate the current activities in business operations. This is a detailed, multi-step strategy, which includes the following:

1. Identifying the process, breaking it down into manageable steps, and the people handling each step,
2. Gathering salient data about the process, like its intended objectives and the challenges that emerged,
3. Analyzing the data collected using visual diagrams to measure its effectiveness, and
4. Developing a plan of action for improvement, with defined timelines and recommendations for resources.


Business process analysis is consequential to a company’s growth. Whether you work as a manager in an international conglomerate or an entrepreneur of a small local shop, this strategy will favor your business in several ways:

  • Determine inefficiencies – Since this is the first step in the process, you get to see what’s causing work duplications, delays, and outright errors in your workflow.
  • Decrease costs – The aforementioned issues have monetary equivalents. Providing the right solutions for those problems, like allocating resources or streamlining processes, will help your business save money and hopefully earn more.
  • Increase morale in the workforce – Flawed processes can be frustrating for your employees and may decrease work productivity. Through process analysis, your employees can be given additional training or better work hours if needed.
  • Improve client engagement – Faulty systems are also a cause of disappointment for your customers. Correcting issues like reducing wait times or enhancing customer service is critical in maintaining a good relationship with them.

5 Most Common Techniques

Business operations often include a series of activities with industry-specific requirements. This is why there is no one generic way to analyze it all. There are numerous techniques used for a particular task, and here are the most common process analysis examples:

Gap Analysis

This technique compares your actual results against your expected outcomes. Analyzing the gap between the two helps you see missed strategies, flawed processes, or lack of skills.

Specific examples:

  • This is often used after product launchings to determine why the sales were not as initially expected.
  • Hospital management uses this when they run short of supplies regularly or at unexpected times.
  • Companies may compare the efficiency of their operations and profitability to their competitors using this technique.

Root Cause Analysis

To completely understand an issue and subsequently find an apt solution, one has to identify its root cause. Root cause analysis (RCA) aims to discover the origin instead of just remedying the symptoms of the problem. Note that one can use RCA for successes, not just failures.

Specific examples:

  • Nausea and vomiting are quite common, dealt with by taking over-the-counter medications. But doctors know this is merely a symptom caused by numerous things like pregnancy, migraine, food poisoning, hyperthyroidism, meningitis, and so many more. Proper diagnosis and treatment will get rid of the symptom.
  • If your sales have increased in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to your 2021 numbers, you might want to use this technique to see the whys and hows so you can replicate that.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This technique is used to analyze the different aspects of your business, giving you awareness of your current state, future potential, and tasks.

Specific examples:

  • Marketers should know the prices of raw materials, competitor pricing, and customer shopping trends to organize their next move.
  • The owner of a small construction firm can see if his carpenters need additional training or if he needs to hire more experienced workers instead.

Time and Motion Study

This study analyzes the time required and the actions needed to finish a particular task. After assessing the current practice, standards can be established for improvement and increased productivity. The result should be to do something less but to do it better.

Specific examples:

  • A worker is said to spend up to 30% of his average work hours on email. Setting up routine email responses or using other applications can minimize the time wasted on this activity.
  • Multitasking has been found to decrease productivity by up to 40%. Lessening the workload of your employees and allowing them to focus on just one task at a time is more advantageous.

Value-Stream Mapping

Value-stream mapping reviews the various steps in delivering a product or service, prioritizing what a client or a customer considers “valuable.” It is one of the most favored process analysis examples because it eradicates something many complain about: waste.

Specific examples:

  • Reducing the wait time of patients between check-ups and laboratory work can be considered not valuable, and increasing the time they spend with their doctors can count as valuable.
  • Over-processing can be exceedingly wasteful in the manufacturing sector because it involves additional resources and manpower that the end-user may not care for.

Digitize the way you Work

Empower your team with SafetyCulture to perform checks, train staff, report issues, and automate tasks with our digital platform.

Get Started for Free


The most favored tool for process analysis is the very simple yet incredibly effective flowchart. It shows the basic workflow of a company from start to finish and is easily modified for process improvement. There are more complex types, most of which are derived from the flowchart. And each is appropriate for a particular technique and specific step in the process:

FAQs About Process Analysis

Anyone who thinks their current methods are flawed can utilize process analysis to correct bad habits and get better results. However, trained professionals who are usually part of the organization are tasked with this job to improve their operations.

If you have not conducted this since your operations started, it is time to do so when you encounter the following:

  • You are falling behind schedule or below expected profits
  • You fail to comply with regulations
  • Your workers are feeling overwhelmed with the job

Most companies do this annually, although some have on-the-spot BPAs when significant problems arise. What’s important is to do this on a regular basis because resources can be exhausted, and systems can go obsolete.

While process analysis has numerous benefits, it does have some downsides:

  • Time-consuming – Depending on the complexity of the system, this can take weeks or months,
  • Costly – Hiring consultants to conduct the analysis is pricey,
  • Stressful – Especially for the employees who think they are scrutinized or demeaned.
Eunice Arcilla Caburao
Article by
Eunice Arcilla Caburao
Eunice is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. A registered nurse, theater stage manager, Ultimate Frisbee athlete, and mother, Eunice has written a multitude of topics for over a decade now.