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Managing process design

A process involves the use of an organization’s resources to provide something of value. No product can be made and no service provided without a process, and no process can exist without a product or a service. Process management is the selection of the inputs, operations, work flows, and methods that transform inputs into outputs. Process decisions must be made when: ? a new or substantially modified product or service is being offered, ? quality must be improved, ? competitive priorities have changed, ? demand for a product or service is changing,

? current performance is inadequate, ? competitors are gaining by using a new process or technology, or ? the cost or availability of inputs has changed. Once process planning has been completed, the fundamental structures and character of the operations function is set. This important activity determines in large measure the details of how products/services will be produced, and it positions production to be used by the business to capture world markets. Major Factors affecting choice of Process designs are: 1.

nature of product/service demand: patterns of demand and price-volume relationships, 2. Degree of vertical integration: forward and backward integration, 3. Production flexibility: product and volume flexibility, 4. Degree of

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automation, 5. Product/service quality. Types of Process designs include: i. ). Product focused, ii. ) Process focused, iii). Group technology/Cellular manufacturing. Two different but complementary approaches exist for designing processes: process reengineering and process improvement.

“Reengineering is the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical, contemporary measures of performance, such as cost, quality, service, and speed. “(Hammer and Champy, 1993). Process improvement is the systematic study of the activities and flows of each process to improve it. Its purpose is to “learn the numbers,” understand the process, and dig out the details. The two basic techniques for analyzing process activities and flows are flow diagrams and process charts. Both are ways to organize the detailed study of process components.

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