Process Redesign is the approach to ensuring that a particular set of interconnected activities are performed correctly, and in the most efficient and effective manner possible.
The Systems View
Process redesign is best approached from a systems perspective. Take for example a restaurant. The restaurant owner may decide to change the ordering process by introducing electronic menus that allow the customer to make the order directly instead of through a waitress. However, this seemingly logical redesign may not yield the intended outcomes if the kitchen is unable to cope with a full house. A more effective approach would be to consider the entire process of meeting customers’ expectations. This would include seating, ordering, dining, and payment. Once a holistic view is established, it becomes easier to see how processes can be redesigned to improve the dining experience, or to increase the throughput of the restaurant.
Process redesign can also lead to transformational change as business owners question the fundamentals of various activities. “Why does it take seven days for a refund to be processed?” or “Is this the best way to deliver goods and services to the consumer?”. Such transformational change can potentially disrupt businesses, and provide early adopters with significant competitive advantage. A clear example of this is how ride hailing companies have redesigned the way transport services are provided. This has transformed the way people buy and consume the service, and has put many traditional taxi companies on the defensive.
Process redesign can take many forms. The following are some of the more common approaches:
- streamlining – the reduction of the number of steps required to complete a task
- re-sequencing – the re-ordering of tasks to improve flow and/or reduce wastage
- centralizing – bringing together common activities to achieve economies of scale
- de-centralizing – the distribution of activities to improve responsiveness and flexibility
- balancing – the adjustment of throughput and capacity
Process redesign has the potential to give adopters tremendous competitive advantage, either through transformational change, or through increased efficiency and/or quality. Applied properly, and in concert with job redesign, process redesign can potentially generate tremendous amounts of value in a sustainable manner.
Outcomes of Process Redesign
The outcomes of process redesign are improved quality or improved productivity of the process.