Process Management

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Overview

Process management in business is basically the setting of standards and guidelines for certain actions, tasks and processes within that business. The process is designed, implemented and then enforced or measured to monitor for possible ways to make the process better.

A basic example of process management in every day life is the process of a family sitting down to dinner. The process goes something like this: dinner is cooked, the table is set, the family is called to dinner, everyone washes his or her hands, dinner is eaten, and then the dishes are washed, ending the process.

While there are no formal guidelines for eating dinner, this process is followed because it is intuitive and it works. The mother or father might have to remind the children to wash their hands; this is active process management.

In a business setting, the methods used to do everything from handling mail to complex computer calculations are done through process management.

How it Works

The process must first be designed and tested. Will filtering all email into one folder for everyone work, or do you need nested folder categorizing as it comes in? You make the decisions based on what you think will work best to help you meet your customer's needs. After the system has been tested, it is then implemented and the results are monitored so that any changes that are necessary can be made and applied company wide.

Sometimes a company's goals or a client's needs change. The monitoring phase of process management allows the way a business operates to change quickly to accommodate both.

Benefits

The benefit of good process management is that everyone is doing the same thing in the same way, which prevents variations that can slow or alter the course of certain business tasks. When designing a process management system, many different variables are taken into account. For instance, if there were fewer employees available, would the process still be able to be completed in the same way? During the design phase of process management, these "what if" questions are posed in a step called modeling.

Some computerized reporting, data entering, and analysis tasks can be done automatically with software and solid process management. This automation can free up employees to do other tasks that cannot be automated and focus more on other aspects of the business.

Costs

Software that allows for many types of process management can be expensive, as can the man hours needed to design and test the processes. Implementing process management can also make things more difficult at first. Whether it is handling emails or packaging products, it takes time to adjust to any new system.

However, process management offers enough benefits to outweigh any possible costs by allowing some tasks to be automated and others to be done in a uniform fashion by everyone, ensuring the best organization and productivity possible.

Timing

Process Management gives an organization the ability to collectively define their business processes, so it has to be done regularly. The best time to implement process management is before people start to complete a task a certain way, but it can be done at any time.

Last Updated: December 19, 2011
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