Processes play a key role in the requirements of DIN EN ISO 9001. The process view clearly structures a company’s procedures and allows them to be controlled. Already since the revision of the standard in 2000, process orientation has played a central role in quality management. This was also underlined again in the revision of the standard in 2015.
What exactly is a process? The Duden speaks of an „activity extending over a certain period of time in which something (gradually) emerges, forms“. The above-mentioned ISO standard defines a process as „a set of interrelated or interdependent activities that converts inputs into results“.
What exactly is a process and what tasks does process management have?
In concrete terms this means: Every company is defined by a series of processes which, taken together, make up the entire company. All the company’s activities and processes have the goal of creating a good product or service for the customer and bringing it to him. This includes the production process itself, but also the acquisition, customer care, hiring and support of employees or the procure-to-pay (P2P) process, to name just a few examples.
„Who does what, when, how and with what?“ Processes are present everywhere in the company. However, they are not clearly defined and communicated everywhere. While employee 1 first agrees with his colleagues, rather he approaches his superior with his vacation planning, employee 2 directly submits the vacation request and relies on the boss to take the colleagues‘ planning into account. Such an imbalance in the approach of activities leads to confusion of the parties involved, delays in the process and the loss of automation possibilities.
The task of process management is the identification, design, documentation and optimization of business processes of a company, so that all participants know the processes and can implement them in a structured way. Holistic approaches are to be used that take into account the strategic orientation of the company and the interaction of all organizational units. Contents of a process and its description are not only the individual activities and their sequence, but also information about participants, accompanying documents, input and output, KPIs for measuring the success of the process and more.
How can processes be visualized and what benefits does this offer?
A useful tool for the abstract representation of processes is the business process modeling, by means of which business processes or individual sections are graphically represented and modeled. In practice, different notifications for process modeling are common. One of the best known and most used is BPMN 2.0 (Business Process Model and Notification, Version 2). Within the notification exact rules for the representation of process models are defined.
We have all seen corresponding illustrations: A company is represented as a pool, its departments or persons involved in the process in individual lanes within this pool („swimlanes“). Against this background, the process is recorded by using triggering start, intermediate and end events, activities („tasks“), connections of the individual elements („connectors“) and „gateways“ to represent parallel or exclusive processes. The integration of data objects, IT systems and external process participants is also possible. All processes can be represented according to this standardized pattern. On the one hand, this provides the option of giving these as work instructions for uniform implementation into the organization. On the other hand, an appropriate recording of processes or sub-processes enables the identification of weak points and optimization potential.
As ADCONIA, we look back on many years of experience in the field of process and organizational development and have the expertise and methodology to design and present both best practice approaches and customer-specific features. For the visualization of processes, we use the software from SIGNAVIO, which includes the Process Manager for process modeling as well as the Workflow Accelerator for the implementation of workflows. We are certified for both products by partner training.