I'm confused about the term "processes" in the revised (2000) ISO 9001 standard. The example (Fig 1) adds to the confusion. Can processes be defined as Sales, Engineering, Materials Management, Manufacturing, Quality Assurance, etc??
Agree. This is a confusion.
One of the definitions of a "process" is - "transformation of materials, energy and other resources to output". So where is such transformation in process - "Management Responsibility" (ch.5)? It is a function or activity, but not a process.
A process is any (planned) sequence of events which yeilds one or more outputs from one or more imputs. Sales is a process. Inspection is a process. Management responsibility is a 'topic', if you will. The things management does (e.g.: management review) are processes.
Design Engineering is a functional classification while design is done by a process.
Disagree. According to 3.4.2 of ISO 9000:2000 process is resulted in product. What is the “product” of Inspection “process”? A signed piece of paper or a label on a real product? See also note 2 in cl. 3.4.1 of ISO 9000:2000. “Processes … are carried out under controlled conditions to add value.” Inspection doesn’t add value. It is carried out due to external requirements and inability to ensure the highest quality. So, if I say “process”, I consider only production process which adds value to input, transforms it and resulted in final product(service). All other activities support it.
ISO 9000 page 10, item 3.4.2 says a product is the result of a process. You ask: "...What is the 'product' of Inspection 'process'?..." The inspection results are
the 'product' of the inspection.
Just before that 'explaination' is 3.4.1 which describes a process as "...set of inter-related or interacting activities which transforms inputs into outputs..."
Then you say: "...Processes … are carried out under controlled conditions to add value..." which is close, but read closely and you will see note 2 in fact qualifies the note with the term '...generally..'. Thus, a process does not always 'add value'.
I do not agree that the word process carries such as narrow definition as you imply.
Well, cl.3.4.2 NOTE 1
"There are four generic product categories, as follows:
— services (e.g. transport);
— software (e.g. computer program, dictionary);
— hardware (e.g. engine mechanical part);
— processed materials (e.g. lubricant)."
You say " the inspection results are the 'product' of the inspection." How can I define inspection results due to this classification?
3.4.1. Note 2 .The word "generally" (I suppose) is related to "under controlled conditions" and not to "add value".
I don't want to appear before you as a kind of mean-spirited man, but the thorough understanding of termin "process" is very important today. I see a lot of speculations in many articles around "process approach", "system approach to management", "process management", "management as a process".
->3.4.1. Note 2 .The word "generally" (I suppose) is related
->to "under controlled conditions" and not to "add value".
I understand the word "...generally..." to refer to "...value added...", not '"...under controlled conditions..." but I suppose it can refer to both.
My interpretation is that a way of doing something is essentially a process. I do not even necessarily relate it to a physical output. For eaxmple, in 3.4.4 it says: "...set of proceses (3.4.1) that transforms requirements (3.1.2) into specified characteristics (3.5.1) or into the speification (3.7.3) of a product (3.4.2), process (3.4.1) or system 3.2.1). Above I said:
->Design Engineering is a functional classification while
->design is done by a process.
and this pretty well confirms my interpretation.
My opinion is you are trying too hard to restrict the definition of process. You are trying to restrict the word process to apply only to operational processes and restricting the words "inputs" and "outputs" to physical items. There are inputs into the design process and outputs from it. There are inputs into the purchasing process and outputs from it. They're not physical, per se (e.g.: a design requirement is an input to the design process, is arguably not value added, and the design output is typically paper or computer file [design drawing and such]).
I stand my my statement that:
->Management responsibility is a 'topic', if you will. The
->things management does (e.g.: management review) are processes.
->So, if I say "process", I consider only production process
->which adds value to input, transforms it and resulted in
I believe my example of 3.4.4 makes clear that your statement is not correct.
Just flow chart your systems - you'll see they represent processes.
->I see a lot of speculations in many articles around
->"process approach", "system approach to management",
->"process management", "management as a process".
Yup - lots of people trying to sell you something. This is not that complicated. I stand by my assertion that if you do what I have recommended to clients since 1994 - flow chart your systems - you will see every system is a process or processes each of which has inputs and outputs -- and inter-relationships are well defined - that's all this is about. Your internal audit system is a process or a set of processes. Purchasing is a process or a series of processes. You have a nonconformance system which is made up of processes. Taken to the extreme, almost everything can be looked at as a process.
I took a course in the mid-1980's called "Business as a Process". None of this is new. It is more 'Good Business Practices' which is all ISO 9001 is. When you reach the point where you can understand everything you do in terms of inter-relating processes, you can then go on to evaluate each in terms of cycle time, effectiveness of interaction, etc. The course goal was, by the way, how to ensure continuous improvement -- a relatively 'new' concept to the ISO standards folks -- and stressed the use of experiments to generate knowledge as well as process feedback for learning.
If you take a step back and review ISO 9001 against the reality of good business practices you will find ISO 9001 is at least 10 to 15 years behind the times. If you are just now looking at your business as a series of processes with inputs and outputs, and you implement and take ISO 9001 to heart, your company will improve significantly.
"Taken to the extreme, almost everything can be looked at as a process" and "flow chart your systems - you will see every system is a process or processes".
Acting such a way I'll die at the first stage of identifying numerous processes (to my mind more than 500). Is there any alternative?