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New Post 11/7/2007 10:20 AM
User is offline Frank19
20 posts
9th Level Poster


Re: Advice Needed Please 

Chris...thank you again for all your help.  I can definatly say that I have touched on small aspects of all areas in which you have listed.  However, I have not gotten into the formal things such as creaing Process Flow Diagrams and the like.  The closest thing that I have done similarly to this is when we brought in our new sofware solution I filled out a 50 page business analysis questionaire which they then used to make a business analysis for our company. 

I am going to e-mail you a working draft of my resume now.  It's the first time I've been re-working it since I graduated college a few years ago so there are definate areas for improvement.  Let me know what you think.

Lastly, I am going to look into all the skills that you have listed and I'm glad I found this site because it seems to be a great resource for all of them.  However, my question is once I read up on these skills are they things I should list on my resume?  Also, once I start submitting my resume is there a certain position I should be applying for?  For instance at this point should I only be looking for Junior Analyst positions or are there other possitions leading up to a BA where I can get my foot in the door?

Thanks again and the resume is on it's way!

 
New Post 11/7/2007 2:28 PM
User is offline Chris Adams
323 posts
5th Level Poster






Re: Advice Needed Please 

 Frank19 wrote

Chris...thank you again for all your help.  I can definatly say that I have touched on small aspects of all areas in which you have listed.  However, I have not gotten into the formal things such as creaing Process Flow Diagrams and the like.  The closest thing that I have done similarly to this is when we brought in our new sofware solution I filled out a 50 page business analysis questionaire which they then used to make a business analysis for our company. 

I am going to e-mail you a working draft of my resume now.  It's the first time I've been re-working it since I graduated college a few years ago so there are definate areas for improvement.  Let me know what you think.

Lastly, I am going to look into all the skills that you have listed and I'm glad I found this site because it seems to be a great resource for all of them.  However, my question is once I read up on these skills are they things I should list on my resume?  Also, once I start submitting my resume is there a certain position I should be applying for?  For instance at this point should I only be looking for Junior Analyst positions or are there other possitions leading up to a BA where I can get my foot in the door?

Thanks again and the resume is on it's way!

Frank,

First, I’ll quickly answer your direct questions.

Q:  Once I read up on these skills are they things I should list on my resume?

A:  You should probably have a skills section in your resume which lists theoretical skills and experiential skills. This section is just a list of skills such as; UML, BPMN, Process Flows, Activity Diagrams, Data Flow Diagrams, etc. Anything that you feel you can explain well and do if required. There is no need to differentiate in this section whether you have on the job experience with it or not. But in the interview they will ask and you must be honest. With that said, try to get the experience. More on that later.

Q: Once I start submitting my resume is there a certain position I should be applying for?

A: Probably Jr. Analyst and Analyst positions. Avoid Sr. Analyst positions, you don’t have the experience yet. However, since you have some (maybe even a lot) of informal analysis experience you may follow a shorter career path curve than others to make it to that Sr. Analyst position.   There may be other positions that you can apply for to get in through the back door, but until I know a bit more about your background it is hard to say.

Now the general stuff.

So you have done business analysis (as I expected) but more informally. Now is your chance to formalize your experience prior to changing jobs.  You are in a unique position. Small companies offer amazing opportunities since they offer the chance to take on so many different types of challenges. You become the big fish in the little pond. I learned this from my own experience after spending 4 amazingly valuable years at a small engineering firm (150 employees). So take advantage of it. How you ask?

The first thing you should do is write your ideal resume. As you read up on more formal and structured business analysis methods, write you resume as if you have the experience already. This ideal resume represents the goals that you want to achieve in your current position. Now that you have your goals, tailor the way you do your job and the assignments you volunteer for to meet these goals.

Now, let’s continue from my previous post. I mentioned the following three high-level tasks. 

  1. Document the business workflows/processes as they exist today
  2. Analyze the business workflows/processes and identify possible improvements
  3. Compare options and weigh cost of each versus benefits of each

Let’s drill down on them one at a time (one per post) with a specific example you may have from your experience.

First, we will start with Documenting the business workflows/processes as they exist today. This is often referred to as documenting the AS-IS Process (opposed to the TO-BE Process). In your email to me you mentioned that you come up with “ways to make the warehouse more efficient in picking material”. Let’s pretend for a minute you haven’t yet improved this process. Now, you may already think you know how to improve the process, and to some extent you are probably right. But by following a structure analysis process we might even identify further improvements that can be made. Use this example to answer the following questions for me.

  1. What triggers the process? Is it some kind of request for an order?
  2. Once we know what kicks the process off we need to identify and document each step in the process. The steps may be performed by different workers. This is also important information to capture.   Provide as much of this as you can. For now just list the steps in sequence and who is doing them. Then I can walk you through how to put this in a process flow (if you need assistance with this)
  3.  Verify the process with all of the different types of workers involved. After all, if you are documenting your understanding of the process it may be wrong. Also, if you spoke with a worker or two they could have different perspectives and understanding of the process become they perform only a small part in it (while this is very important when actually doing the work, for this forum we will assume your process is correct)

After verifying the process with the different people involved, it should become pretty clear whether you have documented it correctly. Now you have your AS-IS Process documented.

Once you provide the process we can take the next step of analyzing it to identify areas that could be improved.

Chris

 


Chris Adams
Core Member – ModernAnalyst.com
LinkedIn Profile
 
New Post 11/7/2007 6:49 PM
User is offline Frank19
20 posts
9th Level Poster


Re: Advice Needed Please 

Ok let me go through and list the process we currently use for picking material.

1.) The process is triggered when a pick ticket is created by the office.  Before this can be done two main criteria must be met.  First, the material must be on an open customer purchase order that is entered into the system by the order takers.  The second criteria is that the material must be in stock.  Material can either already be in inventory or it can be put into stock when it is received in by the warehouse.  Once these two criteria are met a pick ticket is created by one of our office employees and put into a basket to go out into the warehouse.  The warehouse employees then periodically come into the office and check to see if there are any pick tickets ready to be picked.  If so they bring them to the warehouse and pick the material.

2.) As far as the actual material picking process goes basically it can be done by any of the warehouse workers.  They are all trained the same way and all have the same job when it comes to picking the material.  What they will do is first get the pick ticket from the office.  They will then bring the ticket to the warehouse and stamp it.  The stamp contains an outline for their initials, the manager's initials, date, number of packages and weight.  They then pick the material from stock.  The in stock material can come from one of two places.  If the material was already in inventory before the order was created it will have an inventory bin location.  In that case the bin location will be listed on the pick ticket and the warehouse worker will go to that bin location and pick the material.  If the material recently was received in because it was not in stock and therefore was ordered specificially to fill this particular order it will be located in on one of the receiving shelves.  The receiving shelves have their own separate bin numbers.  When items are received in by the warehouse they put them on one of these receiving shelves and note that shelf on the vendor's packing list.  Then when our pick ticket is created by the office they reference this receiving shelf on the pick ticket.  The warehouse staff will then use this information to find the material on the recieiving shelves and pick it.

After all the material on the pick ticket is taken from stock it is put on the shipping bench along with the pick ticket itself.  The ticket is then initialed by the warehouse employee who picked the material.  It then waits there until a manager is able to double check that all the material is there and correct.  If it is correct the manager will then initial the pick ticket as well.  If it is not correct the manager will instruct the warehouse worker to go back and get the correct material. 

Once the ticket is initialed by both parties it is ready to be packed up.  The warehouse worker will then pack the material using the boxes and packing material we have on hand.  After it is packed the box is weighed and the weight, date and number of packages is noted on the packing slip.  Lastly, the customer name and pick ticket number are both written on a sticker and put on the box to go out.  That box is then brought over to the staging area and is ready to be shipped out. 

3.) I understand the importance of verifying this with the workers themselves but because I do that on a daily basis (I am one of the managers who approves outgoing material and therefore I interact with and was involved in creating this process with the warehouse) for this exercise I won't go through the process of asking them if you don't mind.  However, like I said, I can definatly see the value in going through processes with employees if the situation was different.

 

 
New Post 11/8/2007 5:23 PM
User is offline Craig Brown
560 posts
www.betterprojects.net
4th Level Poster




Re: Advice Needed Please 

That's a solid post.  you should blog it so others pick up on the advice.

 
New Post 11/8/2007 9:47 PM
User is offline Adrian M.
764 posts
3rd Level Poster




Re: Advice Needed Please 
Hi Frank,

You have been getting some great advice from Chris, I won't try to jump in since you guys have a great conversation going, but here are two points:

1. You have nicely explained the process for picking material.  I would advise you to take this further in a couple of ways:

  • Document the Pick Material process in a visual format, using a process flow notation such as BPMN,
  • Identify and create a list of other business processes which are in place at the business and, to start, just write 2-3 sentences describing each process - later on, if needed, to can drill down and create more detailed diagrams for each one of them,
  • Once you visually document the Pick Material process play with the process a bit (experiment) by: asking others in the company to review the documented process and see if they agree - revise as needed, document how long it takes to perform each step in the process and maybe even the cost to the business to perform each step of the process, then ask yourself and other experts how you guys can do better by maybe eliminating unnecessary tasks, reducing the time it takes for a given task, reducing the cost for a given task, etc.  This is true business analysis!

2. Your description of the Pick Material process reminded me of a great book about process improvement that, I think, you will enjoy greatly: The Goal  by Eliyahu Goldratt.

Happy learning!

- Adrian

Adrian Marchis
Business Analyst Community Blog - Post your thoughts!
 
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