I ran across a post, titled Re-Invent Your Business, in the Project, Process & Business Improvement blog that really summarizes what we’ve been trying to do in our firm as we move from a task-centered model to a whole-business centered model. Here it is in its entirety:
An organization, be it a business, a school, a non-profit agency, is a collection of processes. These processes are the natural activities you perform that produce value, serve customers and generate income. Managing these processes is the key to the success of your organization.
Unfortunately, most organizations are not set up to manage processes. Instead they manage tasks. Think about it. Isn’t your company organized around functions. . .the accounting department, the engineering department, the sales department, the customer service department?
As a result, people tend to focus on departmental concerns instead of the company-wide needs of customers. Sub-processes evolve within departments without consideration of other functional areas. Layers of communication and management are created to ensure desired outcomes, thereby adding to costs and lengthening cycle and customer response times.
Inefficiency and waste become part of the system. They rob your organization of profits, productivity and its competitive advantage. But, there is a way out.
Process mapping is a simple yet powerful method of looking beyond functional activities and rediscovering your core processes. Process maps enable you to peel away the complexity of your organizational structure (and internal politics) and focus on the processes that are truly the heart of your business. Armed with a thorough understanding of the inputs, outputs and interrelationships of each process, you and your organization can:
* Understand how processes interact in a system
* Locate process flaws that are creating systemic problems
* Evaluate which activities add value for the customer
* Mobilize teams to streamline and improve processes
* Identify processes that need to be re-engineered
Properly used, process maps can change your entire approach to process improvement and business management. . .and greatly reduce the cost of your operations by eliminating as much as 50% of the steps in most processes as well as the root causes of systemic quality problems.
As you put your plans and goals for 2005 together, re-invent your business.