Distributed systems - worldwide
Not only corporations and large companies operate on an international scale. Medium-sized and small companies that occupy niches are also using global networking to optimise supply chains or to produce where there are locational advantages - be it through more favourable conditions or greater proximity to the market.
In order to be able to fully exploit the advantages in terms of efficiency of distributed systems for themselves and to increase value creation, it is important not only to know and monitor all the processes taking place - from production to logistics to administration - but also to analyse and optimise them. The goal of process analysis and process optimisation is to be able to accurately assess and increase the achievement potential of the own company in order to fulfil customer requirements as well as possible - and to maintain and expand the market position with appropriate prices and deadline fidelity.
Improve performance through transparency
The overall performance of the company can only be increased with knowledge of the processes, no matter where in the world they take place. It must be transparent what happens when, where and how, and what results it leads to. In a highly dynamic, international environment and in agile markets, the elements of one’s own value chain must be constantly reviewed for improvement opportunities. The necessary transparency is provided by the process analysis: It shows where weak spots are in which processes and with which process optimisation measures - as a logical consequence of the analysis - the performance can be increased.
The aim is to minimise throughput times and process costs, while meeting customer requirements in the best possible way and thus counter the waste of resources. REFA International supports you with advice and assistance - be it by assisting you on site in your company, also in your establishment abroad, or virtually through online training and seminars worldwide.
Processes are complex, time-limited procedures. Manufacturing processes in particular are characterised by the fact that they are continuously repeated with only slight variations. This allows them to be systematised, structured and also automated to a high degree.
Process analysis looks at the individual procedures within a process as well as the interaction of all those involved, whether human or machine, in order to record the processes holistically and reveal weak spots and potential for improvement. As it is increasingly applied to administrative processes and project management, the term ‘business process analysis’ has become established.
Recognised analysis methods used by REFA International are for example
- the SWOT analysis,
- the Ishikawa diagram,
- the Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA),
- the morphological box and
- the process portfolio diagram.
The processes to be analysed are selected top-down, from the value-adding core processes to the assisting and administrative processes, on the basis of key performance indicators (KPI). Three areas are considered:
- Process quality (e.g. zero-fault standard),
- Time (e.g. reduction of throughput time) and
- Costs (e.g. low consumption of resources).
A comprehensive process map can be created for the entire organisation on the basis of these process descriptions, which depicts all processes and shows potential for improvement.
Process analysis is not a one-off task. It must be permanently continued because the company, as a learning organisation, must constantly adapt to new frame conditions and changing customer requirements. In order to be able to act flexibly and with foresight and also take into account the desire for individualisation of products (up to batch size 1), processes must be permanently analysed and continuously improved (-> Continuous Improvement Process, CIP).
The results of the process analysis are the basis for the subsequent process optimisation. This includes all measures that serve to improve the analysed processes. The aim is to increase the performance of the organisation by increasing effectiveness, efficiency and/or service orientation.
Increasing effectiveness is usually done by introducing new processes and technologies. Since the production process is interrupted, one also speaks of revolutionary or disruptive optimisations. Increasing efficiency, on the other hand, is possible without interrupting operational processes; optimisation takes place in an evolutionary manner in the form of a continuous improvement process (CIP), according to Six Sigma, Kaizen, the Balanced Scorecard or even after the use of creative techniques to find ideas within the framework of integrated process management. Approaches such as Business Process Reengineering (BPR), Lean Production, Lean Management or Total Quality Management (TQM) are established here.
REFA International: We advise you - anywhere in the world!
For process analysis and the subsequent process optimisation, the consultants of REFA International use a six-stage planning system that can also be used in project management. It consists of
- the analysis of the initial situation,
- the evaluation and assessment of the analysis results,
- the development of solutions,
- the detailed planning for the implementation of the solutions,
- the introduction of the solutions and testing in trial operation as well as
- the establishment of the solutions.
Weak spots and bottlenecks are to be eliminated by changing process design and potentials are to be tapped through process optimisation in order to increase the efficiency of existing processes and reduce the use of resources. The goal, everywhere in the world, is always the same: continuous and sustainable improvement of company performance in order to compete in an agile environment under ever-changing conditions and to strengthen one’s own position in the market.