Aug 27, 2008

Process before results?

To follow up on yesterday's post: I saw an item in today's paper where food inspectors were complaining of the workload and the processes used in monitoring food processing plants.

It seems a new process was put in place to inspect a company's plant, however the system put more work on each inspector's shoulders while giving them less time to actually investigate. According to some inspectors, it gives them a more "hands-off" approach and prevents them from making observations they used to do before the new process was put in place. Some inspectors have even started asking the question: "I don't have time to do both so which is more important: the inspection or the paperwork?"

Processes are important in any well-functioning system but the processes must help reach results better, faster and more cheaply. If those are not the results you are seeing, then the process is flawed.

Process should never have priority over results. Bear in mind that any new process will inevitably bring about a certain slowdown or will change results in the short term. That's a natural phenomenon, until the process becomes second nature.

However, any new process must be closely monitored to see that you get the expected results and that you do not suffer from The aaw of unintended consequences.

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