More Organizations & Managers Need to Think Process!

Posted by on Sep 21, 2012 in Process Improvement | 0 comments

In the last several months I have worked with various clients to improve their transactional processes.  These projects were in the areas of finance, human resources, IT, purchasing, and customer service.  A common theme that surfaced during these projects is that seldom do organizations spend enough time thinking about the process that their employees deal with on a daily basis.  How easy is it for the employee to do their job?

Many times employees struggle in doing their job because things are not well defined and documented. How to deal with situations that are not defined and in which no method exists can cause people to “improvise” and do things that create variation, upset customers, and cause processes to go out of control.

I especially see a lot of these problems when different functional areas are involved.  One function hands off a task to another without knowing if they have satisfied and given that group the necessary information to take the next step.  If asked, “Who owns the process?” no one knows and a lot of finger pointing takes place.  I often use the analogy that the hand-off from one functional area to the next needs to be seamless, much like the passing of a baton in a relay race.  This only happens if the inputs and outputs of each functional area are well defined.

The responsibility to define and document a process lies with management.  They need to understand the issues that employees have in doing their jobs and determine the best method or process for resolving them.  “What are the inputs and outputs of each process step?”  “What does the next department need from me in order to take the next step in the process?”  Understanding these issues, and defining and documenting the process will alleviate a lot of problems and make it easier for the employees to do their job.

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