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What is the process Approach?

The process approach is a method of understanding and planning the sequence and interactions of processes in the system. A process may be defined as reproducible, interacting activities that lead to the conversion of an input(s) into output.


Purpose of the Process Approach 

The process approach is an effective and efficient method for providing product and services that consistently meets and/or exceeds requirements and enhances customer satisfaction level. It involves understanding how the processes of the management systems work, and interact with each other.

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Elements of Process Approach Cycle

The following are some elements in the process approach cycle:

  • What: With “what” refers to the infrastructure such as process equipment, software, hardware, supporting devices and others. 
  • Who: With “who” refers to the human resources and their needs. This involves personnel skills, knowledge, experience, training, and qualification needed to carry out the process. 
  • How: This addresses the procedure or work instruction that explains the manner and ways the process will be carried out and describes the entities responsible for each process step. 
  • How many: ‘How many’ addresses the process monitoring parameters like action plan, trends, and production reports counting as evidence for PDCA. 
  • Inputs: Inputs refers to all the required resources that enable the process to start e.g. workers, event, resources, or supplies. 
  • Output: Output is the result of the process which should comply with the expectation of the customer both in-house and external. They can be in the form of goods, services, or the input into other in-house process.

Some of examples of organizational processes include the following: 

  • Production processes. 
  • Quality assurance processes. 
  • Training process. 
  • Information management process. 
  • Maintenance process. 
  • Marketing process. 
  • Customer communications process. 
  • Purchasing process. 
  • Internal auditing process.

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Implementing the Process Approach

Clause 4.4 of ISO 9001 standard requires that you first determine the inputs required and outputs expected of a process. Implementing the process approach involves the following steps: 

  • Determining the outputs expected from the inputs required,
  • Determining the sequence and interaction within the process.
  • Determining and applying criteria and methods to ensure effective operations and control of the process.
  • Determining the resources, ensuring that they are available.
  • Assigning the responsibilities and authorities for the processes.
  • Addressing risk and opportunities associated with the process.
  • Evaluating the processes and,
  • Implement changes resulting from the evaluation for improvement.


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About the Author

Adebayo is a thought leader in continuous process improvement and manufacturing excellence. He is a Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt (CSSMBB), Digital Manufacturing Professional and Management Systems Lead Auditor (ISO 9001, 45001 & ISO 22000) with strong experience leading various continuous improvement initiative in top manufacturing organizations. 

You can reach him here.

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