CONSULTING
Process Management
 A process is defined as an interconnected series of steps that takes inputs and transforms them into tangible outputs. Although many businesses are still functionally designed, organizations are really a network of processes.  
 
Further, each business is held together by its key business processes. It is these work processes that directly affect the customer. It is these work processes that either add value to the customer and raise the bar in the market, or cause a disconnect between employees and customers resulting in quality problems, high costs, customer frustration and an exhausted, or worse yet, apathetic organization.
 
A traditional design by function may create large degrees of distance between employees and customers. This leads to many problems, not the least of which is the time lapse in the feedback loop when there is a quality problem.
 
Organizations that are aligned by function (i.e., engineering, marketing, finance, human resources, etc.) rather than work process tend to develop a culture in which people focus largely on their daily tasks and rarely think about how their work supports departmental and organizational objectives (which drive the business strategy - and ultimately provide value to the customer).
 
Organizations that align around business processes are better able to keep the customer at the center of their focus and are more likely to understand what is important to customers. Employees in these environments are more likely to question how what they do can be done more quickly, simply, and with the least amount of nonvalue- added activity possible. The establishment of cross- functional breakthrough improvement teams is common. As people in these organizations go about their work, they frequently ask themselves, "does this add value to the customer?"
 
Examples of business processes:
 
  • Order Generation Process
  • Credit Approval Process
  • Order Fulfillment Process
  • Invoicing Process
  • Product Development Process
  • Purchasing Process
  • Customer Feedback Process
  • Regulatory Compliance Process
 
In the majority of organizations, the greatest opportunity for improvement lies within the key business processes. Cross-functional teams composed of those employees closest to the process have repeatedly achieved improvement results in the range of 50%-90% in both manufacturing and service environments.

When cross-functional teams improve a process that cuts across functional boundaries, not only is there a high quality result, interdepartmental communications and teamwork improve as well.