It’s the name of this blog and it’s the tagline for my company, so clearly it must hold some special meaning to me. But I’m writing about it because whether you know it or not, it’s important to you too.
So, what is an integrated process solution?
Let’s define the concept by first defining the terms.
Solution is a word almost impossible to define without using some form of the root word solve. But we all know the definition … it’s the answer, the fix, the cure, the remedy that solves, repairs, restores or returns conditions to a healthy or desired state.
The problem with many solutions, as most process owners know, is they often either produce new problems requiring additional solutions or address the symptoms of the problem, not the root cause, and the problem pops back up in the future.
So what kind of solution do we want? One that doesn’t destabilize the rest of the process or de-optimize system performance or require additional changes, monitoring, inspection, etc. We want solutions that alleviate symptoms by addressing root cause. And we want them to fit into our process like a plug-in.
The next term is process, which in the simplest of terms is the means by which inputs are converted into outputs. It is a ubiquitous term that applies to … everything.
Did you say everything??
Think about it – what product, service, or concept isn’t the result of some form of processing? Give it a try … I’ll wait.
Even your attempt to answer this question was a process made up of several steps:
1. Consider the question
2. Challenge the veracity of the statement
3. Review and eliminate all known processes
4. Examine the remainder
5. Determine what remains is also the product of processes
This point will lead us into future discussions on process science, but I digress.
Our final term is integrate, which means to combine different elements to form a unified whole. It’s the unified whole part that’s key here. We want our solution to be one with our process. Do you know how to tell when the solution is one with your process? When it plugs in seamlessly … transparently; when it fully solves the problem … with no side effects.
It’s the kind of solution we want but that so often eludes us.
It’s what I’ve always wanted … and I even love the color!
So, what is an integrated process solution? It’s a solution that addresses and eradicates a problem by clean incorporation into the existing process architecture without collateral effects. Once implemented, it’s hard to imagine the process without it. It looks like it’s been there all along.
In order to develop this type of solution we must view the process in the abstract, where all processes are fundamentally the same and solutions are simple. That’s right, simple. Once identified, we translate our simple solution into an implementable application-specific remedy through the process of concretion.
Sounds like a great concept, but my process is different. I don’t think this will work for me.
This approach can be effectively applied to any process regardless of type, complexity or size. So stop relying on intuition, luck, trial-and-error or engineering judgment …
Engineering judgment? Don’t get me started!
And start developing solutions that are effective and robust.
With Process Science.
More next time.