A process in its simplest form uses inputs to create outputs. The outputs are created by a series of interrelated tasks, behaviours and resources acting on or using the inputs. Every result is achieved by a process but it does not mean that the result is one that is required. Pollution, nonconforming product, delays, errors, customer dissatisfaction are all results that are caused by a process. It is therefore insufficient to simply define ones processes. The aim should be to manage ones processes effectively. A more definitive explanation is provided in A guide to business process management
An effective process is one that achieves the results that are intended – i.e. the objectives. An effectively managed process is a process in which the activities, resources and behaviours are planned, organized and controlled in a way that the outcomes meet specified objectives see also Process Auditing
Process outcomes comprise the outputs and the impacts. Outputs are the products, services, information and decisions produced by the process. Impacts are the effect of the process on its surroundings such as the impact on customer satisfaction, the environment, employee motivation, shareholder value, supplier loyalty and society. It is necessary to manage both outputs and impacts otherwise the parties affected by the impact may withdraw their stake in the process, i.e. they may withdraw their labour, their support, their investment, their permission etc and cause the process to cease operation.
Processes are not identified by renaming procedures as processes, or by flow charting activities and giving them process names. Process are identified from knowing an objective. Business processes are identified from the business objectives, departmental processes are identified from the departmental objectives, etc.
Objectives are determined from the purpose of the organization by establishing the factors upon which fulfilment of the purpose depends. These are the critical success factors (CSF). The CSFs indicate the capabilities needed and consequently identify the objectives to delivery these capabilities. Business objectives are determined from the organization’s mission statement, There has to be constancy of purpose and to achieve this the objectives need to be deployed or cascaded down through the organization. If you are interested in learning more about setting objectives why not commission a 1 day in-
There is a universal series of activities for managing processes effectively.
A Business process is a process that deliver business outputs. Processes arise out of identifying the factors upon which accomplishment of the organization's mission depend. Therefore:
Therefore, if something is critical to our success, we should set objectives and design processes for their achievement.
However, we might think our success depends on a whole range of things but how do we know whether we are not simply being imaginative or identifying genuine business processes? The solution rests with the Stakeholder Analysis.
More details are in Chapter 9 and 16 of the ISO 9000 Quality Systems Handbook 7E
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