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02/01/2013

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A process comprises a series of refining activities that are carried out within

a delimited area. A particular input and output are specified for the whole

process as well as each sub-process (stage of the whole process). A simple

description of the process of painting a wall might look as follows:

The input of one process is often the output of another. If we were to

continue with the above example, ‘painted wall’ might initiate a ‘picture

hanging process’. The processes involved in businesses are of course more

complex but the basic principles are the same. Procedures are often

connected to processes; a procedure is a kind of process but described

in greater detail. For instance there may be procedures for how the work

of painting is to be carried out, the criteria used for choice of paint, and

so on. The processes of a business are usually divided into three differ-

ent categories:

1. Management processes. Management processes are used to

orientate and develop a business. They exercise a controlling

function over the other processes of the business.

Common management processes are the strategy process,

business planning process and the budget process.

2. Main processes (also called business processes or core processes).

Main processes comprise those processes which are directly

connected to the principle aim of a business, and are often described

in the business concept/corporate mission. A corporate mission

usually identifies a customer need so that a satisfied customer will

pay for it. In commercial environments, these main processes

describe a company’s business, i.e. what it will make money from.

Activities/process stages

Input

Output

Unpainted
wall

Painted
wall

Preparatory
work

Select
paint

Select
tools Paint

Check
the
result

294

3. Support processes. Support processes are processes which

facilitate the efficient functioning of main processes. Common

support processes are personnel-related processes, IT processes

and administrative processes.

Some success factors for processes are:

•Avoid ‘paralysis through analysis’ – describe processes at a sensible

level.

•Somebody should be the ’owner’ of the whole of a process.

•Specify how a process is to be developed (process goals), measured

and followed up.

The following factors are considered when processes are analyzed:

•Sluggish sections of the process flow. Are there activities or

connections in the processwhich slow it down?

•Redundancy. Are there unnecessary activities in the process that

can be eliminated?

•Deficiencies in quality. It can be useful to review processes,

especially those involvedin production, to look for things that

impair quality.

•Cost drivers. Which activities generate the most costs? Can these

activities be mademore efficient?

RECOMMENDED READING

1.H James Harrington et al, Business Process Improvement

Workbook: Documentation, Analysis, Design, and Management

of Business Process Improvement.

2.Roger T Burlton, Business Process Management: Profiting From

Process.

295

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