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Introduction

Learning how to manage business processes will help you to:

  • Explain what is meant by a process and a system and identify systems and processes in your workplace.
  • Compile a flowchart for a process in your workplace.
  • Compile a fishbone diagram illustrating the inputs/suppliers to a process in your workplace.
  • Use flowcharts in analysing process deficiencies.
  • Implement and use control points in evaluating processes and identify appropriate measurements and methods of feedback.

Introduction

“Stop worrying about quality, productivity, cost and cycle times. Focus your energies on controlling organisational systems and processes and all the rest will follow”.

“You cannot win in today’s marketplace using yesterday’s process”. Dr H James Harrington

Upper management provides the vision and direction, teams correct the problems, and individuals provide the creativity – but it is the processes within any organization that get things done. No matter how good your management and/or your employees are, your organization will not be successful if it is using outdated processes.

World class competitiveness requires managers today to be thoroughly informed about how, and what, other internationally successful managers are doing. This holds true for managers in all spheres of commerce, industry and public service. We, in South Africa are part of, and must compete in, the “global village” and this means that we have to be “world class” and know and understand the “best business practices” in our particular field.

Management has been described as being both an art and a science. Much of the “art” of management has to do with the human resource aspects. This involves providing direction, aligning people to achieve common goals, motivating and inspiring. Managers, as scientists, must learn from their experience and the experience of others. The scientific approach provides a model for learning. Science begins with vision and desired outcomes, and achieves its purpose through observation, experiment, and analysis of precisely recorded results. Managing processes is an important part of the scientific aspect of management.

The History of Process Management

Process management developed within the Total Quality Management (TQM) framework, and has its roots in systems theory. Process management came to be recognised in the early 1980’s and was promoted as a business improvement technique. The notion of looking at, and managing operations of an organisation as business processes, began to take hold in the latter part of the ‘80’s. “Re-engineering” came into prominence during the ‘80’s and has its roots in process management. Business consultants who specialise in re-engineering start off by examining and charting existing processes before they are able to start streamlining and improving efficiency and effectiveness.

Process management is thus a fairly new technique and is generally recognised as an important tool in the modern manager’s “tool kit”. He or she may not need to be an expert, but should know and understand the core processes and concepts, this includes flowcharting processes, streamlining, implementing measurements and controls and continuous improvement.

Process management involves 6 steps that need to be implemented in sequence.