Process Measurement

Process measurement can turn uncertainty and fear into clarity and confidence.

process-measurement

As I've said here, here, and here, your business is just a collection of processes.

Your approach to process management makes all the difference in your business success. By not measuring processes, you are essentially choosing not to manage the business. Fortunately, managing processes is easier than...well...not managing them.

The first step is to identify key processes.

Key processes are the things that are critical to the intended outcome. Typically, they involve the majority of the workforce and are connected to the things the customer cares about.

A typical business may have key processes related to customer service, supply management, service delivery, and sales/ business development. Each of these can and should have defined procedures describing successful performance.

Once key processes are identified and defined, the next step is to determine the desired performance level. These targets may come from customer expectations, efficiency needs, strategic goals, or competitive decisions. This target or comparison point is what makes the effort of measuring worth while.

Now measure. Observe and count. Keep it simple. Quantify the important characteristics of the process. Typical measures include:

  • time
  • errors and/ or defects
  • uptime/ downtime
  • volume/ quantity

These things are learned by observing. Observing develops understanding. Understanding makes it possible to improve.

Keeping it simple might be the hardest part. If you imagine you are the customer and don't have extra information about the business, sometimes things seem clearer.

In teaching and coaching, the concept of 'chunking' helps beginners learn new skills. Chunking means breaking down the activity into parts that are more easily learned. In golf, for example, the swing might be 'chunked' into setup, weight shift, back swing, swing, and follow through. In pieces, the nuances of each activity can be observed, discussed, and improved.

Business process management isn't much different. By working to control each 'chunk' of the business activity and customer interaction, the manager or business owner breaks the business activities into manageable parts.

Process measurement provides the link between how the activity performs now and how it could/ should perform.

Complexity, ambiguity, and out of control. Or simple, clear, and manageable. The difference is measurement of processes.

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