Redesigning Processes and Operations

Author: Paul Henriques in: Business Solutions

Redesigning Processes and Operations

November 17, 2023

The purpose of any process or operation in your firm should be to maximize the value added to the end-product. To improve the value-add, it becomes essential to map and redesign your processes, both the operations in your shop and the external operations, such as where you purchase your materials and supplies to how the finished product and materials is delivered. The act of redesigning a process means more than just rearranging a location or a task. It is about taking a broader look at the operation and thinking outside the box.

Because processes are every part of your firm, any changes to how your team thinks of how you operate will, inevitably, touch all roles and staff. It starts with clearer messaging and goal-setting from leadership, moves through managers working as coaches for their staff, to finally staff as crucial parts of the machine.

The 5 Characteristics of a Process

All your processes are a group of tasks that are made up by suppliers, inputs, outputs, customers, and documentation. Processes that perform well will all feature the following characteristics:

  • Stated Design – A well performing process will have tasks that are designed to clearly indicate to operators what needs to be done and when. Stated design should deliver the purpose and context of the process with the documentation to back it up.
  • Knowledgeable Staff – Your staff should have an understanding of what to do in their respective tasks and the previous and following tasks. Knowledgeable staff should know their role, have the skills to perform it, and a positive behavior over their contribution to the product.
  • Accountability and Ownership – Ensuring that there is a person to be held responsible for a process will ensure it continues to perform well. Accountability means having a clearly identified person as the owner that can take required action and has authority over the process.
  • Infrastructure – The basis of anything is a solid foundation. For your processes having quality HR, IT, and facilities form the base elements of a well performing shop.
  • Metrics – As stated before, for you to know how well a process is performing, you need a way to measure it. Good metrics will be well defined and clear uses that matter to production. Always remember that if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it.

The 4 Enterprise Capabilities

Your processes are affected by it’s characteristics but also by the capabilities of your firm and the level at which they are operating:

  • Leadership – how well your executives support operational innovation and excellence
  • Culture – how your teams interact and their commitment to teamwork, accountability, customer focus, and change
  • Expertise – the knowledge, skills, and abilities of your teams to design processes
  • Governance – how your company can handle complex initiatives and projects
Capability Concept Composed by
Leadership Leaders support operational innovation Awareness




Culture Values teamwork, accountability, customer focus, and change Teamwork

Customer focus


Positive about change

Expertise Skilled and able to create processes People


Governance Has the methodologies to manage complex initiatives and projects Process driven




The 5 enterprise capabilities levels are:

  • Level 0: the process has inconsistent results. Staff are unaware of the process and/or metrics.
  • Level 1: the process produces consistent and stable results. Staff are aware of the process and metrics.
  • Level 2: the process is producing above expected results. Staff are aware of the process and can describe their actions within it.
  • Level 3: the process is generating optimal results. Staff understand and can express how they affect process and company performance.
  • Level 4: the process is best-in-class. Staff understand and can express how they affect their process, the company, and your customers and suppliers.

By knowing the capabilities and the levels, you can assign any one process to an easy-to-use table that will help you better view which processes need to be targeted first.

  Leadership Culture Expertise Governance Design Staff Ownership Infrastructure Metrics
Level 0
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4


Delivering sustainable, high-level results only happens when you have the capabilities and enable those processes to achieve those results. By creating a supportive corporate culture, you can encourage your teams to decide and design processes that will excel.

Keys to a successful redesign

To ensure your redesign is properly implemented, you have to:

  • Understand how each task in the process impacts the next
  • Connect the staff with the skills required to correctly perform the tasks
  • Gather the important data produced by the tasks
  • Ensure the data is used to accurately measure the task and process performance
  • Provide process support from leadership to the front-line
  • Maintain accountability
  • Be willing to tackle a complex process or task and redesign it

Total Package

When improving a process, you have to look at the complete item with the goal of adding value, or removing non-value-add actions, and not just a singular task or as a separate action. All the steps of the process should be looked at to ensure you can maximize the innovation and excellence. This can also let you look at the entire operation and how it could be improved or replaced completely by disruptive new methodologies or technologies.


The first step in changing the process is to build the business process map, so you can know all the important parts of the process, such as the inputs, outputs, customers, and suppliers. By having the process laid out and documented, you can begin to:

  • Establish workflows, control points, and key metrics
  • Perform trial runs on paper and in practice to ensure success

Form Becomes Function

How a process is designed will determine how well it performs. You have to account for the staff that must perform a task, how the task is performed, the order of tasks, the location, the circumstances of the task, the data created by the task and how precise the product of the task must be. All of these steps can be adjusted or managed with the proper methodology.

In the end, the process should be designed to ensure that all steps taken add value to the final product.

Measuring Success

The implementation of a new process or tool has to be measured. You need to know where you are coming up short and if the new way of doing things is actually improving over time and if it will exceed the previous status quo. However, new or redesigned processes will often overlap multiple functions in your organization and replace previous metrics, job roles, or departmental hierarchies. To ensure you can see how well the new process is working, your executive leadership team needs to be involved. Because most operations cross departmental boundaries, the only way to ensure success is to have those that can cross those boundaries freely to have the freedom to measure and adjust a process.


As stated above, you must ensure that all the staff at your firm understand the process. Added benefits are seen by those firms that also ensure that external entities that would impact the process (such as suppliers, shippers, and customers) also have an understanding of how they fit into the process.

Constant Improvements

One of the most useful methods available to operation management is PDCA or Kaizen. A simple cycle of constant positive improvement that requires reviewing the process in development, planning for and effecting changes within it, while constantly monitoring the process to ensure the changes are having the desired positive change.


Operation management is not just limited to the processes on the shop floor. All parts of a successful manufactory should be looked at regularly for ways to improve them, such as sales, finance, shipping, and procurement. The path to improving operations must start with improving your front-line workers by educating them and empowering them to make better decisions that focuses on the added value of the outcome and rewards those that help make that change. Empowering employees also requires managers as coaches, accountability, teamwork, and a focus on the value delivered to the customer. This sometimes requires that you redefine a role or its responsibilities while using technology to help disseminate relevant data across multiple departments.

One of the most sought-after tools to help improve in all areas of a manufactory is a state-of-the-art Manufacturing ERPII, MERP. This is an ERP built by manufacturers for manufacturers that is backed up by an implementation team that has decades of experience implementing their solution in a shop and can be on hand to help you review and improve your processes wherever possible.


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  • Paul Henriques

    Paul Henriques is the current Manager for the Documentation and Training team at OnRamp Solutions Inc. Paul has over 15 years of experience in writing training material and documentation for various software companies. Having had to learn OnRamp ERP to better document it’s features and write training material; Paul is constantly stunned by the amount of thought that goes into each feature and the capabilities that are within the program, with features for all the various business units of a manufactory. Paul spends most of his free time keeping up to date on all the latest news and best practices for the manufacturing sector. Paul’s favorite manufacturing quote: “There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.” – Henry Ford

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