More from Dan Morris…
Companies function through their processes. Processes operate as directed by business rules. Any company’s ability to operate effectively is a direct result of good processes and rules. But, today an additional element must be thrown into this mix. That is the ability to absorb and adjust to change quickly.
Today, many companies have parts of this mix in place and under control. But, few really understand their processes and how to optimize both at the process level [cross organization] and at the workflow level [within an organizational unit]. Few still have an ability to support rapid change or to control the majority of change taking place in the company.
The year is 2010 and I am still surprised at how few companies really understand their processes. Further, I am surprised at how few companies even attempt to understand their processes. Here are a few issues that confront process management efforts.
Change – Last week we talked about change. I don’t care how much time and effort you spend putting together a business process, at the time of implementation you will see that it needs to be changed. And your business processes will always be in a state of change.
Business Processes – In your search for efficiency, you must understand your company’s business processes. Not all of its processes, but the 20% of the processes that provide 80% of the benefit. It is almost impossible to improve something you don’t understand.
Across an Organization – Along with change, this is one of the most difficult process issues. Once you cross organizational boundaries, it becomes much more difficult to come to a consensus. And, the implementation becomes more difficult. I always recommend starting smaller – within an organizational unit.
Within an Organizational Unit – A prime example would be an engineering department. Their biggest, most costly process is managing engineering changes. Since engineering owns that process, they can ‘understand’ [document] that process and implement a new, improved process without outside interference.
Why should a company address process management? A few reasons come to mind: Reduce costs, shorten time to market [delivery], improve customer relationships [satisfaction & retention], and if you do all of this successfully your company should see increased revenue.
As I have said before – In this economy, some companies will fail and some companies will become winners. Effective process management is a key ingredient to success. And, companies that manage their processes effectively will be better positioned to be one of the winners.
Does your company understand its processes?
Keeping it Real!