Enabling Operational Excellence
Enabling Operational Excellence
Enabling Operational Excellence
Enabling Operational Excellence

TURNING OPERATIONAL KNOWLEDGE & COMPLIANCE INTO A COMPETITIVE EDGE

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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.
I call such processes commitment/dispersal processes. (See basis definitions below.) Commitment/dispersal processes are always about:
  • 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.
For such processes you must know what the rules are; otherwise, you cannot identify appropriate inputs. In short, such processes take you directly to best practices for business rules and decision engineering as a basis for process renewal and innovation. What’s in between manufacturing/production processes and commitment/dispersal processes? I suspect there’s a wide spectrum of processes – and that many of them are often not much like manufacturing/production processes either. ~~~~~~~ Basis definitions from Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary … [commitment]  3a(2): an engagement by contract or purchase order to assume a financial obligation (as to accept goods at an agreed price, to pay for subscribed stock, or to make a mortgage loan upon the completion of a building) [disperse]  2a: to spread abroad from a center of supply or control : DISSEMINATE ~~~~~~~ www.BRSolutions.com

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Ronald G. Ross

Ronald G. Ross

Ron Ross, Principal and Co-Founder of Business Rules Solutions, LLC, is internationally acknowledged as the “father of business rules.” Recognizing early on the importance of independently managed business rules for business operations and architecture, he has pioneered innovative techniques and standards since the mid-1980s. He wrote the industry’s first book on business rules in 1994.