Business Process Library Q Business Process Management

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BSC shows strategic goals with the ways to achieve these goals from a variety of perspectives. Or, it also means the technique to create strategies. Balanced Score Card.



PDCA Cycle

PDCA refers to the methodology and way of thinking with regard to all activities by individuals and organizations in the sequences of:

  • Plan
  • Do
  • Check
  • Act

Which are repeated continuously. Nowadays, PDCA is introduced in a variety of management activities and has become the central point in the business process management.

Instead of proposing strategic goals from a single perspective like "Increase Profit," for instance "Target sales is X million yen!", BSC defines goals from multiple perspectives and shows how to accomplish each of the goals by additionally considering, for example, the perspective of "employee training," such as "The number of qualification obtained by employees is X." It is desired that creation of BSC is done by following PDCA Cycle.

If the financial perspective of "how we can increase earnings" is the only consideration when setting strategy, businesses will be bogged down in short-term strategy decisions. Thus, corporate management techniques using BSC aim at establishing long-term competitive force by defining quantitative goals from multiple perspectives and conducting well-balanced evaluation and improvement. Typical four perspectives for strategy formulation are shown below.

  • Finance
  • Customer
  • Process
  • Learning

As shown below, goals defined from each perspective are eventually integrated into goals from Finance perspective, but it takes time to affect the goals from Finance perspective. In this sense, this is the strategy formulation emphasizing the long-term growth.

  • Goals from Learning perspective are used to accomplish goals from Process perspective.
  • Goals from Process perspective are used to accomplish goals from Customer perspective.
  • Goals from Customer perspective are used to accomplish goals from Finance perspective.


  • 1990: Nolan-Norton Laboratory in KPMG, a consultant company in the United States, carried out a research project to study a new performance measurement framework that would be compatible with the information society.
  • 1992: Robert S. Kaplan, a professor at Harvard Business School, and David Norton, a business consultant, who had participated in the research project, published an article on the BSC concept in the Harvard Business Review and the concept took off from there.
  • 2000: In "The Strategy-Focused Organization," Robert S. Kaplan proposed the Strategy Map (please refer to the example of a Strategy Map) as a tool for formulating consistent strategies among the four perspectives.

Creation of BSC

The procedure to create BSC is shown below.

Relationship among PDCA Cycle, BSC, KGI, CSF, and KPI
Relationship among PDCA Cycle, BSC, KGI, CSF, and KPI
  1. Decide which perspectives are used in addition to Finance perspective. Usually, "Customer," "Process," and "Learning," are used.
  2. Analyze As-is and To-be.
  3. Define goals from each perspective.
  4. By defining CSF and KPI, break down the goals into concrete actions.
  • Finance Perspective
    Define goals in terms of how we will increase the earning and yield profits of shareholders. Typical KPIs are shown below.
  • Customer Perspective
    Define goals in terms of how the relationship with customers is well established and maintained.
  • Process Perspective
    Define goals in terms of how we can effectively execute business by utilizing hard assets and immaterial assets, such as equipments and technologies.
  • Learning Perspective
    Define goals in terms of how we can create immaterial assets, such as skills of employees.
What is Company Life Cycle?
A theory saying that a company in general goes through "Initial Phase," "Growth Phase," "Mature Phase," and "Decline Phase."

Depending on which stage of the life cycle the company is in, appropriate goals in each perspective vary.

Life Cycle
Initial Phase/Growth PhaseMature PhaseDecline Phase
Finance PerspectiveGrowth Rate in Sales and ProfitROA,ROE,ROICapital Adequacy Ratio, Cash Flow
Customer Perspective# of Newly Obtained Customers, Market ShareSatisfaction Index of Products, Customer Retention RateCustomer Royalty Index, Processing Time of Claim
Process PerspectiveAsset Turnover Ratio, Out-of-Stock RateSystem Downtime, Production Lead TimeResponse Time, Equipment Utilization Ratio
Learning Perspective# of Qualifications Acquired, Annual Training, Training TimeEmployee Retention Rate, Motivation IndexCost for Training per Employee

Example of BSC

Although different BSC is considered in each company, here are some concrete examples.

Strategic Goal (KGI)CSFKPINumeric GoalAction Plan
Finance PerspectiveIncrease in Profit Ratio
Expansion of Customers
Reduction of Cost of Purchase/Manufacture
Increase Added Value
Establish Overseas Bases
Profit Ratio
Gross Margin per Product
Sales per Regison
30000 Yen
20% UP
Increase In-house Production Ratio
Increase in Commodification Ratio and Recycling Rate
Establish 25 Foreign Business Partners
Customer PerspectiveIncrease Customer Satisfaction
Expansion of Sales Opportunity of Partner Companies
Provision of Inventory Information via the Internet
Inventory Management of Alliance Products
Quality Evaluation Standard
# of Business Inquiry
# of Repeated Orders
Complaint Ratio
100 Cases / Month
25 Cases / Month
Launching Inventory Search Site
Recruitment of Alliance Affiliate Companies
Ranking of Products based on Standards
Process PerspectiveEstablishment of Model FactoriesInventory Management System
Production System
Inventory Difference Ratio
# of Manufactured Products per Employee
Gross Production Margin per Employee
3 Products
1.5 Million
Inventory Management by Means of IC Chip
Creation of Task Improvement List
Introduction of Cost Management System per Department
Learning PerspectiveHuman Resource DevelopmentPay-per-performance System
Training System
Bonus Amount
Training Time
Training Cost
15% UPEstablishment of Office Environment with High Job Satisfaction
Definition of Performance and a Way to Determine Salary Based on it

Strategy Map

Strategy Map illustrates relationship between goals and issues and measures from the four perspectives of BSC, Finance, Customer, Process, and Learning. Usually, it is created with BSC. By using Strategy Map, we can grasp the overall image of the strategy. Strategy Map is indispensable to utilize BSC not only as an "achievement evaluation tool" but also a "management tool."

  • Strategy Map helps business managers extract concrete goals from abstract goals. A strategy formulation tool.
  • Strategy Map helps employees understand the company-wide goals and their own roles in the entire company. A consensus tool and motivation management tool.

Relation between BPM and BSC

One of the perspectives employed in BSC is

  • Process Perspective

Goals are defined from business process perspective. BPM is considered as the management to achieve these goals. BPM breaks down goals formulated from Process Perspective in BSC into goals of individual processes.

BPM is more like a real-time management. However, when BSC is used together, it can also cover the future growth like improvement of employees' skills, which can not be included in the process.

Related Articles


column A Simile for the BSC
The manager is the pilot and creating the BSC is the equivalent of keeping an eye on all the instruments in the cockpit while flying the plane. To maintain a steady flight, the pilot must watch the different instruments for speed, altitude, wind speed and other factors, and make adjustments if conditions are unfavorable. It is important to know which instruments have an impact on the goal of flying the plane safely and to know what values to maintain for those instruments. -- lenton
  • Baransu Sukoakaado: Atarashii Keieishihyou Ni Yoru Kigyou Henkaku. [The Balance Scorecard: Corporate Innovation by means of New Management Indicators] Authors: Robert S. Kaplan, David P. Norton. Translator: Takeo Yoshikawa / Seisansei Shuppan
  • Baransu Sukoakaado Kouchiku: Kiso Kara Unyou Made no Paafekuto Gaido. [Constructing the Balanced Scorecard: The Perfect Guide from Foundation to Operation] Author: Takeo Yoshikawa / Seisansei Shuppan
  • MBA Management Book Editors: Graduate School of Management, Globis University / Diamond Inc.
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