Implementing process-oriented organisation

A process-oriented organizational structure can best support the processes. To develop a process-oriented organization, the core processes must first be identified.

Example: At an automotive supplier, there are three core processes: the so-called “customer care” process, the “time-to-market” process and the “order-to-delivery” process. The customer care process comprises requirements management, the marketing process and the sales process. The time-to-market process refers to product development, the development of manufacturing processes and the planning of material flows and operational processes. It also includes purchasing. The order-to-delivery process includes ongoing supply chain management and manufacturing and delivery processes.

Automotive suppliers can organize themselves accordingly. Quality assurance, finance, controlling, human resources, including personnel development, and IT can be added as cross-sectional functions across all three core processes.

In the next step, the functions are assigned to the core processes. This may result in separating sales from the order fulfilment team. While sales would be assigned to the customer care process, inquiry and order processing (previously more “sales back office”) would be assigned to the order-to-delivery process. Customer service would probably also be assigned to the Customer Care process. Sales would be organized according to customer processes. Key account management would be the obvious choice here.

Purchasing would not be subordinate to Operations, but would be carried out in the product and process development phase and thus assigned to the time-to-market process together with work preparation. Maintenance would be a function in the order-to-delivery process. A Technical Office would then be split into employees who can make equipment process capable as part of the time-to-market process, others who continuously improve equipment capabilities, and traditional maintenance people who look after the installed equipment.

The “heads” of the core processes would need to work hand-in-hand in a coordinated manner to seamlessly transition customer projects from one process to the next. The capabilities of each process must be aligned with the requirements of the next process. The final process transfers the products into the customer process. The better this customer-side process is understood, the more specifically the company’s own processes can be designed. In this respect, all core processes are present with different weighting in each project phase and ideally sharpen the capabilities of the overall organization with each other to avoid bottlenecks.

The processes determine the capabilities and capacities along the process-oriented organization. A project-based organization suits companies that agree on projects with their customers. A supplier business is basically a project business, because the service to be delivered on an ongoing basis must first be agreed, developed and made process-safe.


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