1. How it all began: The consequences of growth
Taifun-Tofu has been producing organic tofu products since 1987. As Valentin Jäger, Head of Quality Management/IT says, “[We’ve] been around for more than 31 years now. That means we’ve been doing this for quite a while, not just since vegan food trends became hip.”
As part of its ongoing growth, Taifun-Tofu has gradually expanded its portfolio, expanding to international locations and hiring additional employees. With this development however, the company’s internal processes became increasingly complex. This resulted in a lack of responsibility, errors in operations as well as conflicts in the workforce.
So, how was Taifun-Tofu able to continue to grow while preserving its ecologically sustainable philosophy?
2. Taifun-Tofu meets BPM
Valentin Jäger developed a process-oriented view of these challenges. But the more complex these processes became, the more the ideas of the individual team members differed, and conflicts inevitably arose. An enterprise-wide process initiative was called in to save the day.
Process modeling gives us the opportunity to talk about the same thing and to reconcile the ideas of everyone involved. (Valentin Jäger, Head of Quality Management/IT)
Signavio’s user-friendly and collaborative BPM solution has been providing a common process language for Taifun-Tofu since 2012. Signavio Process Manager, part of the comprehensive, provided the company with the foundation for enterprise-wide process modeling right from the start. The technology enables modeling with the easy-to-learn notation language BPMN 2.0. In addition to collaborative functions, it has a high level of user-friendliness with low training costs.
Production processes, regulations, and happy employees create the recipe for Taifun-Tofu’s successes so far, including:
- Processes as a means of communication are anchored in the corporate culture
- Organic growth is based on an integrated management system with holistic process management
- Efficient process architecture, including reduction from 80 to 21 main processes
- Process-based development of organizational structure and employee roles
- Integrated risk and compliance management with regard to relevant guidelines and certifications
- Optimization and automation of the production process
The employees of Taifun-Tofu are thrilled as well. For example, Purchasing Manager Beate Thießen likes the creative thinking possible with Signavio: “Signavio allows us to think visually. Through pictures, I can put together different processes and make them clearer for the team.”
3. From process to transformation: How BPM changed Taifun-Tofu
At the beginning of the process initiative at Taifun-Tofu, the question arose: Who in the company is responsible for which processes? To clarify, the first step Taifun-Tofu took was to analyze the process landscape through a top-down approach.
The process owners first examined the main processes and then the different roles within the company. The results were recorded in a process profile. In this way, the number of main processes was reduced from 80 to 30, with a further reduction over the entire project duration to 21. This resulted in a significant increase in efficiency throughout the company.
New team structures
At the same time, the process initiative transformed the organizational structure of Taifun-Tofu. Senior executives were focusing less on their own area, and instead spending more time on cross-divisional processes. This led to a fundamental rethinking of the way Taifun-Tofu worked. Existing team structures were questioned and individual hierarchy levels disappeared, including, for example, the role of divisional manager. This company-wide change of perspective also led to a new management approach.
In our case, the hierarchy derives from the processes and not the other way around. The organizational chart does not determine the processes, rather the processes define the organization chart. (Valentin Jäger)
4. Processes as a means of communication
The process-based approach not only changed the corporate structure, but also the cooperation within Taifun-Tofu. From the beginning, Valentin and his colleagues attached great importance to involving all process participants in communication. This was supported by the collaborative capabilities of Signavio’s software solution.
As Valentin explains, functioning processes are measured not only in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. Employees are just as important, as a process is only really successful if employees feel comfortable with it. At the same time, their willingness to actually work through the process as designed increases: “I imagine a process as something growing organically. Through process management, I don’t have to approve every last detail but I do keep control. Process management is an organic approach that only works when everyone is involved.”
5. Better balance through an internal management system
Integrated process management at Taifun-Tofu is now part of the Internal Management System (IMS). This includes different methods by which Taifun-Tofu ensures compliance with different requirements (quality, environmental and occupational health and safety, energy). The company balances its processes with the following regulatory and communication requirements of the market and its employees:
Taifun-Tofu’s processes are aligned with strategy and corporate values.
Risk and compliance management
Taifun-Tofu ensures compliance with all industry food standards. These include the HACCP standard (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) as well as regulations on hygiene and occupational safety. The certification according to industry-specific standards (ISO 9001, 14001) and the implementation of further official standards is also centrally controlled by the IMS.
Holistic process management with Signavio serves to automate, standardize, and constantly develop internal production processes. It also makes it easier to implement changes, such as the introduction of new labels and packaging.
Through the IMS, Taifun-Tofu promotes the balance between processes, policies, and people, and creates the basis for long-term growth. The sustainable use of finite resources characterizes Taifun-Tofu’s own process management, as well as the product it delivers.
I think tofu is a wonderful product and maybe a small building block for the future of our world. We do not have a second planet where we can live or grow food. But with relatively small amounts of soy and acreage, you can already produce relatively large amounts of tofu. In this context, I think process management is an excellent tool to think about cause and effect. (Valentin Jäger)