Before indicating the advantages or disadvantages, we will show what we consider to be the objectives of process management, given the importance that has been taken with the new ISO 9001: 2015 edition and the other ISO standards with a high level structure.
Objectives of process management
Process Management is a management system. As in all management systems, the main objective is to increase the results of the organization through obtaining higher levels of customer satisfaction.
It also seeks to increase efficiency through:
• Reduction of unnecessary internal costs (activities without added value).
• Reduction of deadlines (reduce cycle times, that is, production and delivery).
• Improve the quality and value perceived by customers.
To understand Management by processes, we can consider it as a system whose main elements are:
• Key processes.
• Coordination and control of its operation.
• The management of your improvement.
Undoubtedly, an organization that has highly autonomous process teams is more agile, efficient, flexible and enterprising than the classic bureaucratised functional organizations. It is also closer and better directed towards the client.
In conclusion, the ultimate purpose of process management is to make the improvement of customer satisfaction compatible with better organizational results.
Advantages of process management
The objectives defined above represent the main characteristic of Process Management:
• Increase efficiency.
• Reduce costs.
• Improve quality.
• Reduce times and thus reduce the production and delivery times of the service.
In addition, other features that distinguish it from other strategies are present in process management, and in some cases they represent radically new points of view with respect to traditional ones, such as the following:
• Identify internal processes and document them . The usual thing in organizations is that the processes are not identified and, therefore, are not documented or delimited. It allows to identify the processes related to critical factors
for the success of the company. As already explained, there are several departments and positions of the functional organization that intervene in the processes. These do not usually perceive them in their totality or as differentiated sets, nor, in many cases, interrelated.
• Definition of objectives. The description and operational definition of the objectives is a management activity. Through process management, these objectives are explicitly defined in terms of the client. This allows orienting the processes towards Quality, that is, towards the satisfaction of needs and expectations.
• Analyze the limitations of the vertical functional organization to improve the efficiency of the company.
• Specification of those responsible for the processes. Normally, when the activities of a process are distributed among different functional areas, it is usual for no one to be responsible for it, nor for its final results.
• Process management introduces the figure of the owner of the process. The owner of the process is a person who participates in its activities. This person will be the ultimate responsible, having control over it from the beginning to the end. Generally this role is assigned to a manager or manager.
• The owner of the process can delegate this leadership to a team or another person who knows the process thoroughly. In this case, it is vital that the owner of the process is informed of the actions and decisions that affect the process, since the responsibility is not delegated.
Reduction of stages and times. There is usually an important difference between the process and cycle times.
The process management affects the cycle times, and the reduction of the stages, so that the total time of the process decreases.
• Simplification. Try to reduce the number of people and departments involved. The department is a link in the chain.
• Reduction and elimination of activities without added value. It is common to find that a large part of the activities of a process contribute nothing to the final result. It can be control activities, duplicates or, simply, carried out because they arose, for some reason more or less operational in principle, but that have not justified their presence at present. Process management questions these activities, allowing those strictly necessary to remain in place, such as those essential to monitor the process or those that must be performed in compliance with current legislation and regulations.
• Reduction of bureaucracy.
• Expansion of the functions and responsibilities of the staff.
It is often necessary to provide more functions and greater responsibility to the personnel involved in the process, as a means to reduce stages and shorten cycle times. The implementation of these changes strongly affects the staff, so it must be carefully carried out to reduce the resistance that could occur in the people involved.
• Productivity of the whole as opposed to the individual (global effectiveness versus partial effectiveness).
• Inclusion of value-added activities. That increase the customer satisfaction of the process.
• Measure the degree of efficiency of the processes in terms of quality and cost and relate it to the added value perceived by the customer. To do this, external customer needs are identified and the company is oriented towards its satisfaction.
• Organization around results not to tasks:
– Assign personal responsibilities to each process.
– Establish performance indicators and improvement objectives in each process.
– Evaluate the capacity of the process to satisfy them.
– Keep them under control, reducing their variability and dependence on non-random causes (use
statistical process control charts to make predictable quality and cost).
– Continuously improve its global operation, limiting its common variability.
– Measure the degree of satisfaction of the internal or external client and put it in relation with the evaluation of personal performance.
Disadvantages of process management
The greatest difficulty is not due to the technical component of this form of management, but to the change in attitude of the people.
Some of the paradigms under which we have been educated, such as the Tayloriana logic (hierarchy, division of labor, the need for careful control, administrative hierarchy), are questioned as well as certain cultural values seen now as a brake on the creativity.
The natural tendency of people is to resist change.
We must create and develop an attitude and mentality open to change, as well as a culture that allows us to welcome good initiatives and take advantage of them, as well as discard bad ones.
Behavior changes must be carried out especially in managers and managers, who are the ones who manage the organization.
In relation to the above, the actions that we must carry out are:
• Try to make people think and propose improvement actions against the Tayloriana logic. It is not about working more, but about working in a different way.
• Commitment to results versus compliance.
• Processes and clients in front of departments and heads.
• Participation and support against hierarchy and control.
• Responsibility over the process versus functional hierarchical authority.
If the mission and objectives of the processes are clearly defined in terms of the added value perceived by the clients, those activities considered as effective and, therefore, essential, will automatically become apparent.