If I could share only one “Business Management” book with another business owner, it would be “The Goal” written by Eliyahu Goldratt in the 1980s. The book introduced the Theory of Constraints. Put another way, what in the operation of the company is interrupting the smooth flow end-to-end of your operation.
“The Goal” is a useful introduction to Process Management. It is a story of a newly appointed plant manager who has 90 days to turn his plant around. He seeks out a friend for mentoring who is experienced in management. His mentor suggested he look at his plant from end-to-end as a straight road. Raw materials come in and flow to finished goods loaded and ready to ship. What are the bottlenecks that keep that from happening? Companies design their process, literally draw a flowchart, showing the relationship of each department and how they affect each other. It may be an entrepreneur just starting up or an established business with employees.
Process management is a program that includes all levels of employees, but focuses more on the management team. The workflow of the company is mapped out from end to end. The goal is to develop a culture of constant improvement toward achieving the strategic plan of the organization.
Laying out the Process takes work, but it’s worth the effort. It is a team effort where all participants contribute and understand the final flow chart in its totality. Here are two success stories I enjoyed and practiced in my career. When Admiral Rickover built the first Polaris submarine, he developed the Critical Path method.
I am told the team started with the concept of a completed submarine and they then worked backwards in sequence to identify the critical steps that had to be accomplished. Subsidiary activities flowed into the chart as appropriate.
Secondly, the Japanese used Process Management effectively after World War II to rebuild their economy. They became dominant with low investment, high quality and constant improvement. The suppliers were clustered close by (just in time delivery). The result for them was reduced space requirement, lower inventory, and less investment. They took on and shook up our auto industry. American manufacturers did a quick copy of these techniques.
Here are some of the takeaways I have learned from personally using and counseling clients about the value of Process Management. The company will be more profitable and on a constant improvement program.
Process Management allows the people, workers and managers alike, to focus on the process and not on each other. There is less blaming.
Your customer will be delighted with your contribution to their success and you’ll have the opportunity to be part of their “team.”
Best of all, you will become the leader of the team and learn to be out of and over the Process. This allows you to tweak the process. Your team will be running your company allowing you more time to grow the business.
Process Management Works! Ask a Score Mentor! – Harvest it!