The Value Of Process

September 10, 2009

Mike Myatt, Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth has an excellent overview of the benefits of continuously improving your business processes. He also has three clear examples of what process is not! (check out the blog for those!)

On process;

Business processes serve as the central nervous system for your organization providing a framework for every action, decision, activity or innovation to flow from and through

There is an old saying that if something has to be done more than once, it could be a process.

Simply put; a process is a framework of inputs and outputs that map out the tasks, functions and steps required for a particular business outcome.

For example, a customer calls your sales staff to order some product, the availability of the product is verified by the sales rep, then somehow warehouse staff have to be informed to pick and pack that product, then again, shipping has to know that the product has to get to the customer, and don’t forget A/R for invoicing.

Mapping out each of these steps shows you were the hand offs from person to person (and even department to department) occur.

By defining what, who, when and how these hand-offs occur allows you to monitor and improve that particular process. For example, it takes two weeks for your customer to get that order?

Using that process map you developed, you can identify how long each of those steps takes – and identify where in that process that  the time loss to equal two weeks comes into play!

The SMB Takeaway

You may not currently call it a process but managed or not, they exist. It is how people do their jobs. Take a look at them, see if they need some fixing.

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5 Responses to “The Value Of Process”

  1. elliotross Says:

    John, thanks for your input!

    I agree – most cannot (or just won’t) do it –

    Also with ISO – I have seen businesses try the exact opposite (and completely unusable stream) where they cover each **possibility** of each decision stream.

    Does anybody really, really believe something that cumbersome and brittle is going to be used (I don’t think so!)

    Designing a process flow should keep simplicity first and foremost – if there are many If/Then/ Else decsion trees – they should probably be individual sub-processes –

    Much easier to use, easier to understand, and easier to look at and modify if there are opportunities for improvement.

    Agreed also on the flow charting – have been working with my wife on creating processes in her organization (also an SME)

    (I am sure you remember the template one I wrote a while ago!)

    Challenges, challenges, challenges



  2. Mike Myatt Says:

    Hi Elliot:

    Thanks for including some of my thoughts with your insights on the value of process. I’m grateful and offer my best wishes for continued success.


  3. John B Says:

    Oh, and make sure that everyone has the same understanding of the process.
    I did a ISO9000 program in Nairobi once and got the people in the office to map (straight flow chart, no decision points) a fairly simple process on OHP foils.
    10 people, 10 completely different processes.
    I overlaid them on the OHP and said “Fine, this is the process as the customer experiences it.”
    Then we went through and developed Best Practice.
    (And before anyone calls me a racist – the North Americans were barely capable of flow-charting..)

  4. John B Says:

    …and then data (which data are needed at which step of the process and in which quality) and then organisation.

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