Strategy is intention. Process is action. Even customer-centric strategies are inert until activated by well-aligned, customer-driven process design. But they won’t be fully activated by manufacturing process design approaches such as Lean, Lean Sigma or Six Sigma.The vast majority of customer-interactive process occurs in front and back office settings - and everywhere in service companies. Successfully redesigning office and service work to become customer-centric requires specialized skills and tools designed for these environments.
Office/service versus manufacturing process: The front and back office and service settings couldn’t be more different process-wise from production environments. They include a high percentage of decision-making knowledge workers, who are much harder to direct than manufacturing counterparts. Because so much work is decision-based, office/service process is far more variable rather than repetitive production work. And office/service workflows are interdependent, requiring cross-functional process design and management, whereas most production process is linear and functionally discrete.
Back in the 1990s, HYM tried modifying the most flexible manufacturing process approach developed, Theory-of-Constraints, to work in office and service workplaces. But we weren’t happy with the results. So we created the first office/service process approach, Visual Workflow, which was also the first customer-centric or “outside-in” process approach.
Visual Workflow: We launched VW in 1996. It was an instant success. Since then HYM has applied VW with global companies as well a myriad of SME organizations, including several as small as <$10MM in revenue. We’ve also trained many consultants and companies in VW techniques. To learn more about VW, read or download our free, Essential Visual Workflow. Or, if you’d like to continue to learn how customer-centric process determines technology support requirements, click here.