Process: A series of steps in a specific order that when followed will create a consistent result.
Processes are powerful tools that assist in team building, work flow and problem solving.
For team building and work flow, a process defines different parts of the operation so each team member understands their role in the show and how each member works together to create a consistent result. Each team member knows who is to participate in the process, what their job is in the process and who has the next step. A good process allows for flexibility as it should be seen as a guideline, or best practices, for getting the higest results possible, consistently.
The best part is that if there is a problem, each step of the process can be reviewed to find the step that failed for a quick resolution. The problem could be the result of a missed step, someone not knowing how to do their part, someone not wanting to do their part and so on. The problem step is easily identified and an analysis can be done to affect the problem.
The most effective process is created in department meetings by the management and employees who are involved in a certain process. This creates a quick buy-in and ownership because the employees helped develop it. All troubleshooting should also be done by teams that include management and employees. This helps minimize the stress on everyone.
Processes are the plays in the department playbook. The service write-up, for example, can have several processes that define how to do a vehicle walk around during write-up, proper repair order writing and proper test drives.
The idea is not to have a lot of different processes. Each process should be designed with enough detail so that a new person can review the process on paper, easily understand how it works and the steps they are responsible to execute.
Automotive Service Management articles can help you develop processes that meet the needs of your service department.