In my previous blog I introduced the topic of a Quality Management System. A "system" is comprised of a series of interconnected processes. A process is an activity that converts inputs into outputs. Processes have suppliers and customers - they may be internal or external to your organization. This week's blog introduces the concept of "key" business processes that comprise an effective Quality Management System.
Generally, we classify our business processes into three major categories: "Core" processes (also known as Customer-Oriented Processes - 'COPs') are the major processes that represent the core work of the organization and have a direct impact on the customer. Examples of core processes include:
- Design & Development
- Order Management (order entry and fulfillment, forecasting, Demand Planning)
- Production (manufacturing, outsourcing, assembly, testing, etc.)
- After the sale Service
The Lean philosophy introduces the concept of a Value Stream. Value Streams can be thought of as the key business process of a product/service; that is, a map of all the required processes to manufacture and deliver a product to the customer.
"Management" processes ('MOPs') are management areas of responsibility that enable core processes to be performed and have an indirect impact on the customer. Examples of management processes include:
- Quality policy and objectives
- Planning (Strategic, Operational, Tactical)
- Resource management
- Customer focus
- Management reviews
"Support" processes ('SOPs') are all other processes that enable core processes and have an indirect impact on the customer. Some support functions, and examples of their processes include:
- Supplier management processes
- Request for Quote
- Accounting; cost estimates
- P&L analysis
In its most basic definition, a "Key" business process is one that influences customer perception of our business. A "key" business process or Value Stream assures your business its competitive advantage. To be most impactful towards our strategic plan, Entitlement Quality and Lean Six Sigma must work synergistically to continually improve our key business processes and value streams.