Processes are composed of various elements that, when integrated, help achieve specific outcomes in process management. However, sometimes these components or some of them may not be functioning correctly, resulting in inefficiency and avoidable delays in the overall process. When this happens, it is crucial to review the processes that are causing failures and segment them in order to identify the root cause of the problem.
Knowing the main components of a process will help increase visibility of each one, determine if they contribute to process effectiveness, detect irregularities for improvement, and assess if the components of a specific process add value and align with the business objective.
The purpose of this article is to describe the main components of a process and the characteristics that enable the achievement of business results.
Design or process flowchart.
The first element of the process is the design or process flowchart, which represents the sequence of activities and the order in which they are performed. It is a process flow diagram that illustrates the relationships between different tasks or activities to be carried out by the process owner. Each of these elements will define their efficiency because if there are repetitions or inefficient routines, it can become a problem that needs to be addressed.
Tools or technologies to execute each process.
Properly formalized processes require technological tools to increase their efficiency. This avoids manual tasks that can be executed using automation software. For example, in a sales process, an email marketing tool helps sales representatives communicate with potential customers by sending thousands of automated emails within a few minutes.
However, if a technological system in an activity is not functioning properly, attention must be paid to the technology used to ensure that it is suitable for executing a process. Otherwise, it will be necessary to consider another tool that fits the process and provides more value because technology should serve people and not the other way around. With this in mind, look for technology that is intuitive, easy to implement, and enhances process productivity.
People are one of the most important assets of companies, if not the most important, as it is thanks to their work that processes are set in motion and results become visible at the end of the cycle. If people or employees are not trained to execute the processes, they will be less efficient.
Therefore, once we have qualified individuals to execute the processes, we must provide them with constant training so that, despite market changes, employees can continue acquiring new knowledge to address the different day-to-day challenges in companies.
Inputs are important because if we do not have them at the right time, the process will become inefficient. Each of these elements within a process allows it to be oriented towards a specific outcome. This means that promoting alignment between these processes is necessary for more effective results.
Characteristics of a Process
In addition to the main components of a process, we should highlight their most relevant characteristics to make it easier to identify potential improvements for better performance.
A process always repeats itself because there is no process that is executed only once; otherwise, it would be a project. The cycle time involves determining the duration of a process: a month, an hour, a minute, etc.
Competencies or skills refer to the knowledge that people need to execute a process. For example, in a surgical process, the surgeon must be trained to perform the operation. These competencies should be high. Their importance lies in providing valuable information about human resources and the cost of onboarding new talent.
If you have a complex process with high requirements for qualified competencies, it will be more difficult to find people who can efficiently handle this process. At the same time, the costs of employing highly skilled individuals will be higher.
Regulations are rules that require certain activities that may not add much value to the processes but are necessary for formalization purposes. Some regulations can affect the efficiency of the process simply by being present, while others may not.
This refers to the expenses incurred in carrying out a purchase order. The costs involve people, inputs, and the sum of all the components of a process. These characteristics allow for taking actions to improve it or identify areas for improvement. If your concern is to make your process faster, then you need to work towards achieving that speed.
Customer orientation means that the company operates in favor of the customer to provide effective solutions to their needs. A customer-oriented process will adapt to their requirements and show concern in resolving their doubts and problems to ensure their loyalty to the company.
In this regard, it is not the same to perform a task on the move, such as being on a construction site handling building materials, as it is to be a sales agent sitting in an office communicating with clients.
Working conditions are directly linked to internal satisfaction because if these necessary minimum conditions are not met during the execution of processes, it is likely that employees will not demonstrate efficient performance in such circumstances. Ensure healthy working conditions to ensure equally healthy processes.
Accuracy in a process implies intelligent handling of information, i.e., how important the management of information is in the process to execute it as close as possible to the expectations of the process owner. A precise process is one whose results will be successful and aligned with the organization's objective.
Level of Importance of Process Components
To define the level of importance of the components, it will depend on the process itself, its complexity, the necessity of technology in the process, how qualified the person needs to be to perform it, and whether we have the resources to carry it out successfully.
Essentially, all components are important, but it largely depends on the specific process and to which component more value should be assigned. Along the same lines, the characteristics also depend on the process, as they provide visibility to the components described above.
In summary, the main components of a process are the process design or diagram, the tools for execution, the people to handle the tools, and the inputs to obtain the aforementioned components. Additionally, it is important to consider that the importance of these components will vary depending on the specific process and the characteristics that emphasize their value in achieving the objectives.