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What process is most often the worst, most inefficient process in a company?

Tuesday, July 14 2015, 09:44 AM
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, July 14 2015, 09:51 AM - #Permalink
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    The list is long and ignominious, but my top three would be the following as they are endemic to every large org I've ever been in -

    1) Annual budgeting

    2) HR

    3) Vendor management, procurement

    • Bogdan Nafornita
      more than a month ago
      agree on 1). Budgeting is actually hardly a process, it's half art, half social engineering. In my 20+ years of budgeting experience (including designing from the ground up full budgeting and controlling systems), I have yet to see any tool that beats Excel.

      Because of its nature, budgeting needs a lot of flexibility and real-time scenario play. Nothing beats Excel at this.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, July 14 2015, 09:57 AM - #Permalink
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    An inefficient process is not a bad process as long as it does what it promises.

    So to me the worst processes are the ones that deliver results nobody needs. Those processes that go by 'we've been doing that since ages and to be honest, I don't know why'

    (btw, you know 'worst' is also a Dutch word? Still thinking about a bad joke) 

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, July 14 2015, 10:04 AM - #Permalink
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    Hmmm... What about the average IT servicedesk related processes? And I'm refering here to this:

    It's 5 minutes before 5pm and I need to send out that really important mail, which could make the difference between that order of 1 million $ or zero... Then my computer comes to a grinding halt... Ouch! So, I call, obviosuly in distress, the servicedesk:

    Servicedesk: "Ok, what is the CI number Sir?"

    Me: "Excuse me?!"

    Servicedesk: "That yellow little lable at the back of your PC"

    Me: "Oh... erhm, ah, it reads #54403-CL-551100-6"

    Servicedesk: "Hmmm, odd..."

    Me: "What do you mean, odd? Listen, I'm in a hurry!"

    Servicedesk: "We understand Sir, but that device doesn't belong at that location."

    • Scott Francis
      more than a month ago
      i think the failure mode here is not having a mac...
    • Emiel Kelly
      more than a month ago
      Didn't bring your own device?
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, July 14 2015, 10:04 AM - #Permalink
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    Where the accounting system takes over where process should complete the outcome. E.g. an invoice is only a report on the specific customer process outcome and can be the invoice created the second the transaction completes. Generically where accounting systems are positioned to run the business?

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, July 14 2015, 10:05 AM - #Permalink
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    Process for implementation of process-centric solutions.

    Thanks,
    AS

    • John Morris
      more than a month ago
      LOL "the process process".
    • Anatoly Belaychuk
      more than a month ago
      Good point!

      I've been in the situation recently where the customer needed to fix a broken purchasing process. Yet to do that they had to purchase BPM services. I call it "recursive process problem".
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, July 14 2015, 10:25 AM - #Permalink
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    Information Technology- and it's widespread lack of ability to truly understand, keep pace with, and empower the performance of business processes and people. CIOs watch my lips: "Legacy preservation does not add value; learn to talk mobile, cloud and smart working".

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, July 14 2015, 10:28 AM - #Permalink
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    3 votes

    Nomination for the "worst process"?

    Sales

    Evidence? (The word "process" appears 15 times in this article . . . )

    Article|McKinsey Quarterly

    Freeing Up The Sales Force For Selling

    Most sales reps spend less than half of their time actually selling. Here's how companies can reshape sales operations to allow them to focus on their real job.

    http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/freeing_up_the_sales_force_for_selling

    My comment:

    CRM software is mostly not very good, and for systematic reasons. And process is at the core of what CRM software is about as a technology. I have written about this problem elsewhere.

    Briefly, CRM software does not help the sales rep do the front-line job of sales, which is about personal productivity, low-latency task management and narrative or story. Most existing CRM is concerns low-transaction volume deal management and contract tracking -- which is important, but which is really just a version of an SOR (system of record, per Geoffrey Moore) or ERP software application. The SOE requirement (system of engagement) on the other hand, which is what CRM should be about, is typically a much higher transaction volume process.

    And for multiple reasons including sales governance and sales research, it is a huge opportunity waiting for a solution.

    Salesforce is vulnerable I think.

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, July 14 2015, 10:41 AM - #Permalink
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    6 votes

    By far the worst process is the one for evolving processes.

    Imagine that you've done the perfect process.

    You start it rolling. Generate oceans of useful data - process times, latency, utilisations, redundancies.

    Suddenly you have 10 times more data than you had when you first designed it.

    With ten times the data, you'll design a better process, surely.

    Then start doing some AB testing to clear up all those areas where you weren't sure what was best.

    And some load testing to make sure you have capacity and resilience, without wasting resource.

    But our process for evolving processes is broken.

    A hangover from the Time and Motion days.

    Hire a guru, make a best guess and impose it whether people like it or not - that's the process.

    What we should be doing is creating a number of MVPs (minimum viable process) to generate that data.

    Then rapidly re-iterating, testing all the possibilities in a short, sprint to a process you can introduce to users.

    Then a system for encouraging, generating and quantifying their feedback to ensure process-market fit.

    Last, but definitely not least, we should introduce visual management so everyone can see how to improve further.
    And embedding this in the management systems so it continues to happen long after the project team has gone.

    Think SaaS - not Sale and you'll automatically create a better Process process.

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tim Bryce
    Tim Bryce
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    Tuesday, July 14 2015, 10:59 AM - #Permalink
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    Those involving the design, development, testing, and implementation of Information Systems. Why? Analysts and programmers, who are supposed to be the agents of change, are the most resistant to it, not to mention discipline, organization and accountability.

    References:

    1. http://timbryce.com/
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  • Accepted Answer

    Maria Paz
    Maria Paz
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    Tuesday, July 14 2015, 01:18 PM - #Permalink
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    Since the question is so general, I will focus on the worst process in a small business.

    For SMEs one of the most critical processes is the sales process. The reason is that selling is essential for any company but more so for a small business. Most SMEs cannot afford a CRM program to store the information of the clients, so they use spreadsheets and emails and files. This causes major difficulties:

    • They don't know how many sales they're dealing with or at which stage they are.
    • Sometimes they miss opportunities because each step takes so long that clients end up buying to the competitors.
    • There are invoice problems which lead to unnecessary costs to correct them.
    • If a salesperson leaves the company, invaluable knowledge will be lost.
    • Finding a document or files takes really long and sometimes they get lost.

    This difficulties lead to missed opportunities, customerdissatisfaction(because of delays or mistakes) and endanger the company's future.

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, July 14 2015, 01:49 PM - #Permalink
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    No one process in particular is most frequently the worst. If you're looking for the worst process in a given organization, look at the one that is at the heart of that company's business. Often, this process is highly specific to that company: there are no packaged apps or widely accepted practices to follow. The process has grown with the business, but unevenly, so it is largely manual, and not every participant is on the same page. The whole thing relies on institutional memory, but employees move around or depart and memory weakens. Participants may find themselves running errands for their computers: rekeying information, using spreadsheets to calculate sums, etc.

    Example: my brother, may he rest in peace, was in the car business. Once, when I was getting a car from his dealership, I asked him if the one I was purchasing was a Wednesday car. In ancient times, for those of you too young to remember, it was widely understood (though I can't attest to the veracity of this theory) that factory assembly lines experienced higher absenteeism early and late in the week (due to weekend recovery and anticipation, respectively). Thus, at either end of the week, various employees had to be reassigned from their usual jobs to different ones, and quality suffered.

    But my brother replied (and this was already quite some time ago) that automation had eliminated this problem. Employees didn't have to keep specialized processes in their heads: automation kepts things standardized, removing the need for specialized knowledge not easily transferred from one worker to another. The first car built on Monday and the last built on Friday were of the same quality as any other coming off the line.

    That's the power of automation. In knowledge work, automation means BPM. BPM helps you make every process a Wednesday process.

     

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    • Emiel Kelly
      more than a month ago
      So, now the cars are all evenly bad ;-)


      'yeah, you know; I saw it going wrong, but the process, you know'
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, July 14 2015, 04:44 PM - #Permalink
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    3 votes

    Hi all !!!

    I agree with the point of view of Emiel Kelly when He says that "worst processes are the ones that deliver results nobody needs"....means the process is not aligned with strategy, do not delivers value and just adds cost to the business impacting the efficiency and general results.

    An worst "business process" will exist when high level management is not able to understand the capacity of his Chain Value and is not able to translate the strategy for his people in a manner that is reasonably understood and with meaning for them.

    An worst "business process" will exist when people are not able to understand what is expected from the processes, how the process should be executed to support the strategy and which value must be delivered for Customers and stakeholders.

    An worst "business process" will exist when the systems are not able to act as enabler and supporter for the execution of business process as expected and required by the business.

    An worst "business process" will exist when the base managements are not able to coordinate the execution of processes and the resources available and needed for its execution.

    So, the worst process can be any one.... but specially those that does not deliver what is expected as value by Customer and results for Stakeholders and organization.


    Rgds, M


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  • Accepted Answer

    Ian Gotts
    Ian Gotts
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    Tuesday, July 14 2015, 05:51 PM - #Permalink
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    Let me consider this through the soundbytes of leadership and competitive advantage, and the yawning gap between rhetoric and repeatable excellence

    "People are our greatest asset" - recruit2retire processes

    "CX is the only competitive advantage" - Customer Experience quote2cash2service

    "Change is the new normal" - process of process improvement

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  • Accepted Answer

    Amy Barth
    Amy Barth
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    Tuesday, July 14 2015, 06:21 PM - #Permalink
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    2 votes

    The one no one uses because it's too complex, or it's cousin, the one you need to have a personal SME walk through the process with you (in real time) because it's so complex. Of course, I'm thinking of the "TPS Report" variety of processes, which should be outdated by now, but we all know they aren't.

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, September 29 2015, 11:46 PM - #Permalink
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    1 votes

    Playing safe is often the worst thing a company can do.

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