Process Modularization : A new approach for designing processes
Abstract: Modular product design has proven helpful in dealing withvariance, while maintaining efficiency and quality. It allowscompanies to combine strategies that are otherwise difficult tocombine, by decoupling product systems to allow paralleldevelopment and manufacturing. Applying modular design to businessprocesses could help organizations in dealing with an increasingdemand of flexibility, while maintaining or increasing efficiency.Since research on process modularity is scarce and that there areno methods for modularizing processes, this study has adapted amethod for product modularization (Modular Function Deployment®)to be used for business processes.A major issue in doing so has been to find the right framework fordescribing business processes. Their abstract nature makes itharder (then with a physical product) to envision possibledivisions into modules. Structures and properties of businessprocesses, which traditional process models cannot reveal, havebeen exposed by the unconventional use of the ARA-model (Håkansson& Snehota, 1989) as a tool for depicting business processes. Thathas brought the conclusion that activities and resources,belonging to a business process, are codependent and part of abigger network of activities, resources and actors. Building onthese ideas, the Modular Function Deployment® method has beenadapted for business processes. A case process is used throughoutthe paper to show as an example and evidence of the findings. Evenif not yet implemented within the organization, the proposedmodularization of the process show great promise in improving theperformance of the process, as well as further embodying thecompany strategy within its architecture.
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