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Process based management systems

Producing business outputs
Process based management systems are emerging as a way to improve organization efficiency and effectiveness. All organizations desire to produce outputs that satisfy their customers. The primary output of any business is therefore conforming product and service - hence the preoccupation with product quality. But process based management systems are not only focused on product quality. If properly designed, process based management systems enable an organization to satisfy the needs of all stakeholders. Most organizations employ functionally based management systems and as a result create friction between the various functions. Therefore there is a choice as to how we manage business outputs. We can either create functionally based management systems or process based management systems so what's the difference?

Guide to process based management systems

Integrated management systems

Converting a QMS using a process approach

FAQs on Process based management systems

The functional approach
We could treat each output as an objective to be achieved and install a management system to achieve it.  We have national and international standards to guide us such as ISO 14001 on the environment, ISO 9001 on quality, BS7799 on information security and OHSAS 18001 on occupational health and safety. In this context a management system would comprises a number of activities designed to function together to fulfil a specific management objective. By this definition we could create several management systems - all we need to do is identify a objective and put in place a management system to fulfil it. This is illustrated in the diagram below. We can call this the functional approach to management. Taking this a few steps further, we could appoint managers to look after these systems and make them responsible for achieving the associated objectives. In this way we would create Quality Managers, Health and Safety Managers, Environmental Managers. This is how it all started - the evidence is all around you. Just look at any ISO (001, ISO 14001 certificated organization and this is what you are likely to witness. But is it effective?
There are several disadvantages with this approach. It forces managers to trade off one objective  against the other so that quality targets compete with environmental and financial targets. Managers of these functions wrestle for the same resources. In the end no one wins and the customer gets a product that might be cheap and environmentally friendly but does not function in the way required. What is needed is an approach where everyone wins. A win-win situation. The answer is the process approach to management. There do not have to be losers. Process based management systems ensure everyone is a winner.
The process approach
Instead of taking each output as an objective, we take the primary output of producing products and services that satisfy customers make this the objective and classify the other outputs as satisfying constraints because, without products and services, there would be no constraints that applied to the organization. We then identify the factors upon which these outputs depend and from this identify the core processes that deliver stakeholder satisfaction. The result is a diagram similar to that below. Four core processes that deliver outputs that satisfy stakeholders needs and expectations that sit within a process based management system

Transition Support 2004

Remember you saw this diagram here first!

For help in turning Functional Based Management Systems into a Process Based Management Systems a number of resources are available by following the links above or you can simply contact us


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Last amended 24/08/2013
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Transition Support 2013