Part IV: Our Insight and Advice on Business Processes: Final Suggestions

(initially published on EFA on March 31, 2011, as “Our Insight and Advice on Business Processes”, republished here, as the last of a four-part series;  part of the retrospective Above Average: The Best of Escape from Averageness, 2009-2012)

I will offer you a couple of final suggestions.

First – the value we are attempting to create for “customers” (customers, clients, constituents, etc.) is created by the work flowing through processes, so, wherever possible, the other elements of the business operating model (systems, organizational structure, employees, culture, etc.) should support process design, not vice versa.

Second – knowledge of process design and process documentation is one matter, knowledge of process management is something altogether different.  In addition to the process areas, a working knowledge of management areas like Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, and Theory of Constraints – and how to blend them – is essential when it comes to good process management.  As I previously suggested, a process management interface – a tool that automates and manages processes – may or may not be important, depending on your situation;  process automation is not as important in homebuilding as it is in other industries and disciplines.

Third – as I mentioned at the outset – you need to be able to distinguish (and operate effectively) between the areas of process management and project management.  In particular, you would find a knowledge of Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) helpful;  CCPM is part of the Theory of Constraints.

As I noted earlier, I rarely plug SAI on the pages of this weblog.  However, SAI has done more work with processes – and done it longer – than anyone in the homebuilding industry.  Before the creation of the National Housing Quality (NHQ) Award, we were already assisting Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award winners in their efforts to refocus, restructure, and redesign their business operations around their processes.  Before there was any interest in the homebuilding industry on the documentation and management of business and operating processes, we were already recognized experts in that field.

Our process toolbox is the best in the industry.  We pioneered the development of many of the tools and techniques we use in this area.  We use the most advanced process flowcharting and modeling software available – after having participated in a part of its development.

We are adept at every form of process documentation, including cross-functional flowcharting, value stream mapping, and IDEF0 process modeling, all of the notation languages, as well as the methodologies – Total Quality Management, Lean-Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints, and Lean/TPS – that act upon them.

We know what we are talking about.  More importantly, I suppose, we are willing to talk with you, to help you make the right decisions about workflow.

By all means, please take us up on the offer.  Here is my contact information:

Fletcher L. Groves, III
Vice President
SAI Consulting, Inc.
PO Box 1755
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

(904) 273-9840 (office)
(904) 613-5213 (mobile)