Are All Processes Really Like Manufacturing/Production Processes?If you examine process thinking, you find it is deeply rooted in 20th century blue-collar manufacturing/production processes, starting with Federick W. Taylor (pig iron), Henry Ford (autos), Toyota Production System (autos), Six Sigma (Motorola and General Electric), Lean, and offshoots. In every case, the focus is on tangible products. But what if your products are intangible? You’d be excused for thinking that the carry-over from the manufacturing/production world is not all that it should be. To those who dissent, I say prove me wrong. In the 21st century, processes of interest are increasingly white-collar and knowledge-intensive. There’s a product, of course, but it generally has more to do with some transition in the state of a significant resource (not infrequently money) than the assembly of something new from physical parts. Rather than efficiency, machines and inventory, their operational focus is consistency, compliance and decisions. Typical examples include …
- Finance: Accepting and funding a mortgage.
- Insurance: Extending coverages and adjudicating resulting claims.
- Taxation: Evaluating financial records and assessing taxes.
- Making commitments and managing dispersals of resources (money, time, people, etc.).
- Satisfying obligations (often contractual or regulatory), making informed decisions, and responding continuously to changed circumstances.
Tags: Business Rules, commitment/dispersal processes, decision engineering, Federick W. Taylor, Henry Ford, Lean, Manufacturing/Production Processes, process innovation, process renewal, Six Sigma, tangible vs intangible products, Toyota Production System