Define Your Process


The official definition of a process is: a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end. How does your company define a process? Every successful company needs to have a well-defined series of actions that are consistent when handing work-related issues. If a problem occurs, will your employees know the right process to follow to solve the issue? Will that situation be taken care of the same way no matter which employee is in charge?

There clearly isn’t a way to plan and prepare for any problem that you company may face, but defining processes can help prevent repeating the same mistake more than once. Every positive or negative outcome is caused by a process. No matter what kind of process, or lack there of, there are steps that employees take to solve a problem when presented with one. If you don’t take the time to analyze what steps were followed and why they failed, then you will slowly deteriorate your business.

When it comes to figuring out what went right or wrong, there is a common tendency to focus on who did what as opposed to what was done. Dr. Juran, an early pioneer in quality improvement, described the 85/15 rule as employee error causing 15 percent of problems, while the process itself is accountable for the other 85 percent.

What can be done to define a better process?

  • Document issues that have occurred in the past. As mentioned above, you want to avoid repeating the same mistakes. Write down what occurred, why it happened, how it was solved, and how it could have been solved better with an improved process in place.
  • Research potential threats. If you don’t plan a process before an issue occurs, how will your employees know what to do? Strategize the best way for your company to handle the threat.
  • Educate your employees. There isn’t much use in a well-defined process if your employees know nothing about it. Continuously update your employees as new situations occur and when better processes are defined; make this documentation easily accessible.
  • Establish clear roles and responsibilities of employees. Avoid panic and blame when a problem occurs by making it clear that each employee knows their critical part in solving the issue.
  • Continuously evaluate and document new processes. This should not be a one-time documentation. Technology, standards, employees etc. update and change constantly and so should your processes.

Every outcome, good or bad, is a result of the process in place. If your company is unsuccessful at solving problems, it’s time to evaluate and define your process. Contact us today for assistance.

Jim DePew
Vice President & Consultant
Mobile: (330) 631-9022
Office: (330) 915-2355 Ext: 103