Companies with a worldwide presence face many challenges such as globalization, regional trading agreements and the uncertainty of the economic markets. These challenges require a coordinated approach which maximizes the benefits of a world-wide presence and at the same time provide a local focus. Global processes are the way to achieve this balance and include front end activities like customer acquisition or new business processing, support processes like information systems right the way through to back end customer retention and financial management.
Co-ordination. Teams need to develop a common process approach which regardless of culture speaks the same language i.e. what is the successful customer outcome (SCO)? Figuring out how work gets done and achieves the SCO is key to global process success. Implementation needs a pragmatic approach which acknowledges cultural perspectives. Bringing a strategic multi disciplinary team together led by qualified process leaders familiar with cultural and economic challenge is a starting point. Rolling out that discipline and process approach through geographic teams provides a means to learn and exchange and grow key processes to maturity.
Getting everyone on the same page. Even the way we think and speak of processes is different and so developing a common way of looking at work is critical to a successful operation. For instance the ‘collecting the money process’ has a very specific objective however each location may have different custom and practice – how do you ensure a uniform and yet different approach? The underpinning technology that supports a global process can be common, however the business rules that we operate to make sure our endeavour is successful often need to be different.
What is the relationship between global processes and performance improvement?
The relationship is absolute. In the 20th century we may have talked about standardization and conformity. Performance is now much more driven by the capability to act in the moment e.g. a US insurance company has the slogan ‘think global, act local’ which provides both a degree of uniformity and empowers the people locally to act in the best interests of the business – there and then.
It is the understanding that there is a framework and common structure to running the business successfully that provides assurance that senior management knows what they are doing and are operating as a team. Process is the way we get work done. It is the way we deliver value to our customers. It’s the way we create profits for our shareholders. This can then be encapsulated in our rewards systems and provide a framework for success, both in process, people, systems and global strategy.
Interesting discussion thread this week on the BP Group LinkedIn is certainly provoking a debate – see http://bit.ly/4Er8N6 for the latest.
The debate was sparked by Mark Barnett (SVP Process Bank of America) who delivered an eye opening presentation at the Lean Six Sigma and Process Improvement summit in Florida in Janaury 2010.
A key contributor to the merger and acquisition program of Countrywide involved the use of process simulation to test and validate certain assumptions. The result? Well let Mark tell you in his presentation here > http://bit.ly/czBdtc – biggish file< Jim Sinur (Gartner) has dusted off his thoughts on process simulation (see http://bit.ly/dvIUv0) so I think we can now officially call Simulation ‘flavor of the month!’
What are your 3 favorite business books of all time?