Chapter 4

Process design

Source: Joe Schwarz, www.joyrides.com

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Process design

Process design
Operations
strategy

Supply network design
Layout
and flow
Process
technology

Design
Job
design

Product/service
design

Operations
management

Improvement

Planning and
control

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Nature and purpose of the design activity

Products, services and the processes which
produce them all have to be designed
Decisions taken during the design of a product or
service will have an impact on the decisions
taken during the design of the process which
produces those products or services, and vice
versa

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Design of products / services and design of processes
are interrelated and should be treated together
Designing the
product or service

Products and services
should be designed in
such a way that they
can be created
effectively

Designing the
process

Product / service
design has an
impact on the
process design and
vice versa

Processes should be
designed so they can
create all products
and services which
the operation is likely
to introduce

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Design of
the Product

Design of
the Process

In manufacturing operations
overlapping the activities of
product and process design
is beneficial

Design of
the Service

Design of
the Process

In most service operations
the overlap between service
and process design is
implicit in the nature of
service

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Process mapping symbols
derived from ‘Scientific
Management’

Process mapping symbols
derived from Systems Analysis

Operation (an activity that
directly adds value)

Beginning or end of the
process

Inspection (a check of
some sort)

Activity

Transport (a movement of
something)

Input or output from the
process

Delay (a wait, e.g. for materials)

Direction of flow

Storage (deliberate storage,
as opposed to a delay)

Decision (exercising discretion)

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Designing processes
There are different ‘process types’
Process types are defined by the volume and
variety of ‘items’ they process
Process types go by different names
depending on whether they produce products or
services

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Process
tasks

Process
flow

Diverse/
complex

Intermittent

High

Manufacturing process types

Project

Variety

Jobbing

Batch

Mass

Continuous

Continuous

Low

Repeated/
divided

Low

Volume

High

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Project processes
One-off, complex, large-scale ‘products’ with
high work content
Specially made, every one ‘customized’
Defined start and finish: time, quality and cost
objectives
Many different skills have to be coordinated

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

A project process with a small part of the process map
that would describe the whole process

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Jobbing processes
Very small quantities: ‘one-offs’, or only a few
required
Specially made: high variety, low repetition,
‘strangers’, every one ‘customized’
Skill requirements are usually very broad
Skilled jobber, or team, completes whole
product

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Preparing photolithography materials on a jobbing basis
with a typical process map

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Batch processes
Higher volumes and lower variety than for
jobbing
Standard products, repeating demand. But can
make specials
Specialized, narrower skills
Set-ups (changeovers) at each stage of
production

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

A batch process in a kitchen together with an
illustrative process map

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Mass (line) processes
Higher volumes than batch
Standard, repeat products (‘runners’)
Low and/or narrow skills
No set-ups, or almost instantaneous ones

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

A mass process – a packing process

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Continuous processes
Extremely high volumes and low variety:
often single product
Standard, repeat products (‘runners’)
Highly capital-intensive and automated
Few changeovers required
Difficult and expensive to start and stop the
process

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Part of a continuous process and a typical
process map

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Process
flow

Diverse/
complex

Intermittent

Professional
service

Service shop

Variety

Process
tasks

High

Service process types

Repeated/
divided

Continuous

Low

Mass service

Low

Volume

High

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

A professional service –
Consultants planning how best to help their client

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

A service shop – This health club offers some variety
within a standard set of facilities and processes

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

A mass service – This call centre can handle
a very high volume of customer enquiries because it
standardizes its process

Source: Royal Bank of Scotland Group

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Deviating from the ‘natural’ diagonal on the product–process
matrix has consequences for cost and flexibility
Manufacturing
operations
process types

Variety

None

Project
Jobbing
Batch

Service
operations
process types

Volume

Less process
flexibility than
is needed so
high cost

More
process
flexibility
than is
needed so
high cost

Professional
service

Service
shop

Mass
Continuous

None

Mass
service
The ‘natural’ line of fit of process to
volume/variety characteristics

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Deviating from the ‘natural’ diagonal on the product–process
matrix has consequences for cost and flexibility
Volume
Variety

None

Old
process

Old
process,
new
product

New
process,
new
product
None

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Flow (layout), technology and job design are all influenced
by process positioning
Flow
Unorganized

Technology
Little /
general

Volume

Jobs

Variety

Varied / high
discretion

None

Custom
furniture
maker
Machine
tool maker
Automobile
factory

Predictable

Specialist

Routine / low
discretion

None

Petrochemical
refinery

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Flow (layout), technology and job design are all influenced
by process positioning
Flow
Unorganized

Technology
Little /
general

Volume

Jobs

Variety

Varied / high
discretion

None

Investment
banking
Customer
service
branch
Bank call
centre

Predictable

Specialist

Routine / low
discretion

None

Credit card
processing

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Process mapping symbols
derived from Systems Analysis

Process mapping symbols
derived from ‘Scientific
Management’
Operation (an activity
that directly adds value)

Beginning or end of the
process

Inspection (a check of
some sort)

Activity
Input or output from the
process

Transport (a movement
of something)
Delay (a wait, e.g. for materials)

Direction of flow

Storage (deliberate storage,
as opposed to a delay)

Decision (exercising discretion)

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Customized sandwich – old process

Raw
materials

Assembly

Stored
sandwiches

Standard sandwich process

Move to
outlets

Stored
sandwiches

Sell

Take
payment

Customer
request

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Customized sandwich – old process

Raw
materials

Assembly

Take
payment

Customer
request

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

The operation of making and
selling customized sandwiches
Prepare

Sandwich
materials and
customers

Bread and
base filling
Assemble whole
sandwich
Use standard
‘base’?

Assemble as
required

Take
payment

Customers
‘assembled’ to
sandwiches

Outline process of making and
selling customized sandwiches

No
Yes

Fillings

Customer request
Assemble from
standard ‘base’

Detailed process of
assembling customized
sandwiches

Stored
‘bases’

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Customized sandwich – new process

Assemble whole
sandwich
Assembly of
‘sandwich
bases’

Use standard
‘base’?

Take
payment

No
Fillings
Yes

Bread and
base filling

Customer request
Stored ‘bases’

Assemble from
standard ‘base’

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Flow process charts for processing expense reports
at Intel before and after improving the process
1

Description of activity
Report arrives

1

Wait for processing

2
3
4

Check expenses report
Stamp and date report

2
3
4

5
6

Send cash to receipt desk
Wait for processing

5
6

Check advance payment
7
8 Send to accounts receivable
9
Wait for processing
10
Check employee record
11
Send to account payable
Attach payment voucher
12
Check against rules

15
16

Wait for batching
Collect retorts into batch

17
18
19

Batch to audit desk
Wait for processing

22
23
24

10
11
12
13
14

Log report

13
14

20
21

7
8
9

15

Description of activity
Report arrives
Stamp and date report
Check expenses report
Attach payment voucher
Wait for batching
Collect retorts into batch
Batch to audit desk
Wait for processing
Check reports and vouchers
Reports to batch control
Batch control number
Copy of reports to filing
Reports filed
Payment voucher to keying
Confirm payment
Totals

5 5 2 2 1

Batch of reports logged
Check payment voucher
Reports to batch control
Batch control number
Copy of reports to filing

Reports filed
25 Payment voucher to keying
26
Confirm payment
Totals

7 8 5 5 1

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Little’s law (a really quite useful law)
Throughput (TH) = Work in process (WIP) × Cycle time (CT)
Cycle time
= 2 minutes

WIP = 10
Throughput time = ?
Throughput time = 10 × 2 minutes
= 20 minutes

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Little’s law (a really quite useful law)
Throughput (TH) = Work in process (WIP) × Cycle time (CT)
500 exam scripts need to be marked in 5 days (working 7 hours a day).
It takes 1 hour to mark a script. How many markers are needed?
Throughput time = 5 days × 7 hours = 35 hours
35 hours = 500 scripts × Cycle time
Cycle time =

35 hours
500 scripts

= 0.07 hours

Number of markers = Work content = 1 hour = 14.29
Cycle time
0.07

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Throughput efficiency
Throughput efficiency is the work content of whatever is
being processed as a percentage of its throughput time

Throughput efficiency =

Work content
Throughput time

× 100

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Arrival
Arrival
30
9 5–15 105–15
Processing
10
Processing
frequency
frequency 20
time
time
mins mins
mins
(demand)
(demand) mins

Utilization
Utilization
100
33.33
50
%
%
%%
Utilization==<100
100%

X

QQ
Q==
Q
>=0infinity
00

Process
time
Average throughput
length of queue
(or inventory)

High

High utilization but
long throughput times

X
Low utilization but
short throughput times

X
Reduce process
variability

X

Low

0

20%

X

40%

X

60%

80%

X

100%

Capacity utilization
Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

0

Decreasing
variability

Average number of units
waiting to be processed

Average number of units
waiting to be processed

The relationship between process utilization and number
of units waiting to be processed for variable arrival and
activity times

10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Utilization

(a) Decreasing variability allows higher
utilization without long waiting times

0

High utilization
but long waiting
time

Short waiting
time but low
utilization

Reduction in
process
variability

Y

X

Z

10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Utilization
(b) Managing process capacity
and/or variability

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Key Terms Test
Throughput time
The time for a unit to move through a process.
Utilization
The ratio of the actual output from a process or facility to its
design capacity.
Life cycle analysis
A technique that analyzes all the production inputs, the life
cycle use of a product and its final disposal in terms of
total energy used and wastes emitted.

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Key Terms Test
Process types
Terms that are used to describe a particular general approach to
managing processes. In manufacturing these are generally
held to be project, jobbing, batch, mass and continuous
processes; in services they are held to be professional
services, service shops and mass services.
Project processes
Processes that deal with discrete, usually highly customized,
products.
Jobbing processes
Processes that deal with high variety and low volumes, although
there may be some repetition of flow and activities.

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Key Terms Test
Batch processes
Processes that treat batches of products together, and where
each batch has its own process route.
Continuous processes
Processes that are high volume and low variety; usually products
made on continuous processes are produced in an endless
flow, such as petrochemicals or electricity.
Professional services
Service processes that are devoted to producing knowledgebased or advice-based services, usually involving high
customer contact and high customization. Examples include
management consultants, lawyers, architects, etc.

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Key Terms Test
Service shops
Service processes that are positioned between professional
services and mass services, usually with medium levels of
volume and customization.
Mass services
Service processes that have a high number of transactions, often
involving limited customization, for example mass transportation
services, call centres, etc.
Product–process matrix
A model derived by Hayes and Wheelwright that demonstrates the
natural fit between volume and variety of products and services
produced by an operation on one hand, and the process type
used to produce products and services on the other.

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Key Terms Test
Process mapping
Describing processes in terms of how the activities within the
process relate to each other (may also be called process
blueprinting or process analysis).
Process mapping symbols
The symbols that are used to classify different types of activity,
usually derived either from scientific management or from
information systems flowcharting.
High-level process mapping
An aggregated process map that shows broad activities rather
than detailed activities (sometimes called an outline process
map).

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Key Terms Test
Work content
The total amount of work required to produce a unit of
output, usually measured in standard times.
Throughput time
The time for a unit to move through a process.
Cycle time
The average time between units of output emerging from a
process.

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

Key Terms Test
Work-in-process
The number of units within a process waiting to be
processed further (also called work-in-progress).
Little’s Law
The mathematical relationship between throughput time,
work-in-process and cycle time:
Throughput time = work-in-process × cycle time

Slack, Chambers and Johnston, Operations Management 5th Edition © Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, and Robert Johnston 2007

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