In any organization we need processes for four main reasons:
1. Increase efficiency;
2. Control quality
3. Ensure the organization is meeting Governance or Compliance requirements
4. Help manage change
In early stages of process technology and method development, each reason for using process technology was different. If you have been around enough you may recall the “time and motion” studies for industrial applications. I recall my father, who worked in a British factory, was always wary when the Time and Motion specialists came in to time his work. Needless to say, work practices were different when the timing was going on, as most workers were being paid bonuses based on volume of output.
This was an example of work in efficiency improvement, other programs such as Six Sigma began to identify areas of improvement in quality, Lean, Kaizen and others followed. Today we have a combination of these methods in use in different areas, but the overall message is now we need to look at our processes holistically; that is in a complete way. So when we have patient open for surgery in the efficiency area, we review quality and all the other reasons that should make things better at the same time.
In many ways this is a great improvement over sending teams of specialists in that are all looking at different aspects of the work. We have also learned from quality advocates like Deming and Japanese industry that quality is something that has to be built into the organizational culture as well as its processes to be truly effective.