Measurement systems and process orientation with focus on the order process
Abstract: The inability of organisations to develop successfully and their lack of a holistic view and of relevant quantitative facts are factors that played a major role in my choice of a research area for this and my licentiate thesis (Ljungberg, 1994). These two theses together represent the work conducted for the PhD degree. There is a strong need in this research area for increased insight into the development of process-oriented measurement systems for analysing the order process, as well as into the prerequisites for this and the potential gains the development of such systems represents. Use has been made here of a systems approach together with elements of an actor-based approach. The boundary-crossing character of the research area required an interdisciplinary integration of knowledge. The research process included an extensive study of the literature, a major case study carried out in the form of action research, and a field study. Earlier work resulted in the Measurement System Development model, describing in seven steps how a measurement system can be developed. The step selection and derivation of measures had been found to call for further research. A two-part solution was developed: a method for the selection and derivation of measures, taking as its starting point a second part, a Process Measure Classification model. The company VOAC Hydraulics' desire to develop a measurement system for their order process represented the starting point of the case study. A project group containing representatives of the order process was created. Originally an isolated project, it came to gradually be related to a considerable number of strategic issues. It resulted in a preliminary measurement system, yielded new insights into the order process, and helped the team members develop an interest in processes and an understanding of them. Parallel to the project, increasing attention was directed at process thinking. A major reorganisation was carried out, transforming the organisation in the direction of being more process-oriented. The process-related work increased continually, leading to the speed of change being rather low, at the same time as the range of changes made was extensive. VOAC's suddenly being sold, however, meant a serious setback for the process orientation. Although further attempts at this were made, the results were limited. The case illustrates how significant momentum can be lost. The results of the research yield a framework for the development of process-oriented measurement systems and serve to clarify issues regarding both process measurement and process-oriented organisations. The major strength of the study can be seen in its providing for both of these parts and combining them so as to provide a holistic view of the development of measurement systems. Further research appears called for within such areas as: how to provide proper input to the Measurement System Development model, how to distinguish between different types of demands placed on a process, and development of the process of developing processes. (Ljungberg, A.: Measurement of service and quality in the order process. Department of Engineering Logistics, Lund University, 1994.)
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