A business is essentially a machine - a very complex
machine granted, but a machine nevertheless. It exists to convert
supplies into deliveries, demands into services.
all the processes which effect performance are responsibly developed
and designed, using methods which aid collective
Like any machine it has processes, patterns
of activity, that work together to transform the inputs into
outputs. And like its more mechanical counterparts its efficiency
derives from the design and predictability of those processes.
Many thinking, planning, and analysis tools
are available to support engineers in their work to design and
refine the machines they work on, but these are often overlooked
by those who are responsible for the development and improvement
of their business.
involvement and disciplined thinking.
The concept of 'Process' is about
making the design and development of business a common feature
of the management task and about equipping them with the tools
to do it effectively.
machines, the way companies undertake certain tasks, and the
resulting effectiveness and efficiency
with which they
achieve them, is a function of:
... the mechanisms they employ
... how those mechanisms interact
... the way the whole thing is put together.
In machine design, the quality and efficiency
of the output is a competitive issue
- the pressure to think through the design objectively, to understand
the competition, and to effectively cope with very complex relationships
has led to the development of some very sophisticated and advanced
However those same tools are little in evidence
in companies reconsidering their operations.
Managers often claim that the situation is
too complex and uncertain, although at long last businesses are
beginning to see that they are an amalgam of business processes
- the basic building blocks for business design.
however, when companies resort to consultancies to assist with
organisational or process redesign, the consultants often embrace
the very disciplines and concepts that the business mangers shun.
With the design life of a business process
shortening as change increases, it can neither be economic or
practical to pay for external agencies to grow familiar with
your business every time a change is required. The risk then
is either that processes continue past the point when competitive
advantage could be gained by that redesign, or that process redesign
occurs inefficiently due to a poorer approach for undertaking
Management will have to develop the skills
for reviewing, analysing, and redesigning processes. Through
this it can ensure the business remains competitively tuned to
its purpose and philosophy, harmonising and supporting its people
in their best work. It can create a clear basis for becoming
a learning organisation.
When were your business processes last redesigned,
and what methods were used to do it? Can you be sure that there
wouldn't be significant business benefit in developing, redesigning
or even redefining them now.
Some companies have clearly got their business
processes in tune, and are now looking at the processes by which
these basic processes are further developed and refined.
The business is a complex machine,
but in that complexity lies the real opportunity to constantly
build and refine your competitive edge. Are you undertaking
this refining in the most competitive way?
To understand more about 'Process':
provides an understanding of the
principles that underpin this aspect of the management process
provides a simple scale by which
you might reflect on your own organisation's progress in this
provides a brief overview of some
of the approaches that are available to support further development
on to 'Predict'; Return to 'Systematic Management'
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