Trends in business process quality management methodologies.
People, process and IT are amongst the most important assets of any organization. Optimal utilization of these resources has been the question of research in business and academia for many decades. The business world have responded by inventing various methodologies that can be used for addressing problems of quality improvement, efficiency of processes, continuous improvement, reduction of waste, automation, strategy alignments etc. Some of these methodologies can be commonly called as Business Process Quality Management methodologies (BPQM). In essence, the first references to the process management can be traced back to Frederick Taylor and scientific management. Time and motion study was addressed to improvement of manufacturing process efficiency. The ideas of scientific management were in use for quite a long period until more advanced quality management techniques were developed in Japan and USA. One of the first prominent methods had been Total Quality Management (TQM) which evolved during 1980’s. About the same time, Six Sigma(SS) originated at Motorola as a separate method. SS spread and evolved; and later joined with ideas of Lean manufacturing to form Lean Six Sigma. In 1990’s due to emerging IT technologies, beginning of globalization, and strengthening of competition, companies recognized the need for better process and quality management. Business Process Management (BPM) emerged as a novel methodology that has taken all this into account and helped to align IT technologies with business processes and quality management. In this thesis we studied various aspects of above mentioned methods and identified their relations. An extensive amount of information exists on these methodologies and they have been commercialized by various consulting firms. However, a comprehensive understanding of what these methodologies can do and deliver is missing. Purpose of the thesis is to study these three related methods in business process quality management; identify their relation to each other and how they have developed. An extensive literature review has been done prior to data collection to understand theory behind each methodology. Research data was collected by studying existing case studies describing implementation of above mentioned methodologies. Below are some of our key findings • BPQM methodologies evolved with time either by becoming more focused or through better integration of people and Information Systems • Processes are key for operations of any organizations. Processes need to controlled and developed over time. As BPQM methodologies evolved, they became more process centric. • Quality can be achieved as outcome through increasing process performance. Quality and processes are very closely linked to each other. It is impossible to expect high quality end-results without understanding what needs to be done to get a desirable output from various inputs. • Management support is vital for any BPQM methodology implementation. • Modern organizations are result oriented. Therefore the choice of BPQM methodologies is heavily influenced by their ability to improve bottom line performance.
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