In the department, the mood is immediately put with the comment: "it is time to automate successfully, the process specialists can leave now". It indicates to me that not everyone has a positive experience with the process-oriented approach. Opinions are based on past experience. So I have a mission to convince colleagues that work processes are a good starting point for efficient business operations. That it contributes to pleasant work.
The process approach is often associated with assembly line working, forcing everyone into a framework without any flexibility. Unfortunately, this image has been reinforced for many years by the roll-out of ERP systems in large organizations. The standard processes in the modules are the "best-practices", determined by the software supplier. Many organizations have been disappointed by, for example, an SAP implementation. Was the choice a flight ahead not to have to wait any longer for that stagnant IT project? Due to the multi-year ERP contract and the investment that still needs to be recouped, a way back is not obvious, the Vendor Lock-in. The organization may be forced to work sub-optimally for many years to come. Often there is a proliferation of alternative solutions around the ERP system. These include the supporting processes such as stock management, sales, financial administration and HRM. However, these processes do affect the execution of the primary processes.
Keep It Simple
To convince them that process-based work is not something of the consultant, I ask those involved about their daily routines. What are the activities from the moment of waking up in the morning to the coffee at work. Would all this be feasible over time without a process based on experience? In what order is something done? Is it important to know who does what and when in a collaboration?
Although there are individual differences, it appears that everyone relies 90% on routines on a working day, the remaining 10%, the unexpected and unstructured events, need full attention. See here the power of a well structured working process, all attention and time can be devoted to the exceptions.
It is strange that many think that their work process should be thought out by others, that it is something abstract for the specialist. Giving the control of process design and process optimization out of the hands is a failure factor. Employees are experts in their own work process, know exactly where the information provision is inadequate, it just needs to be made explicit. By going through the work process, which is already being followed informally, with all those involved, the new procedural requirements are established.
Growing in the role
After several months of cooperation with the domain experts on their work process, the requirements for better information provision and IT solutions, something special often arises. The interactions create an awareness about how it has been worked for years. New ideas about how this can be done differently, more efficiently. The employees now carry out the Lean Management, the process optimizations themselves. The consultant has only facilitated this.