The capacity of a process is expected to ensure that output just matches demand. Excess capacity is wasteful and costly; too little capacity means dissatisfied customers and lost revenue. A process with the right capacity requires having very precise forecasts of demand, interpreting forecast results into a process that is capable of meeting the expected demand.
However, process variation and demand variability can affect impact achieving a match between process output and demand, making it quite challenging. Therefore, to enhance better effectiveness, it is necessary for managers to be able to manage and if possible, eliminate variation.
A very negative impact of variations is disruption of operations and supply chain processes, thereby interfering with optimal functioning.
Some examples of how process variations can lead to disruptive operations include the following:
Poor quality and product shortages or service delays usually results in dissatisfied customers and, if not attended to and corrected leads to damage of organization’s reputation which in turn, affects future sales.
Variation occurs in all business processes which results either due to variety or variability. An example is random variability which is inherent in every process; it is always present. Variation can also occur as the result of management choices to offer customers variety. The following are some basic sources of variation:
Adebayo is a thought leader in continuous process improvement and manufacturing excellence. He is a Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt (CSSMBB) Professional and Management Systems Lead Auditor (ISO 9001, 45001, ISO 22000/FSSC 22000 etc.) with strong experience leading various continuous improvement initiative in top manufacturing organizations.
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