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Process Owners: Can multiple employees own a process?

Discussion in 'IATF 16949:2016 - Automotive Quality Systems' started by MCW8888, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. MCW8888

    MCW8888 Well-Known Member

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    5.1.1.3 Process owners:Top management SHALL identify process owners who are responsible for managing the organization's processes and related outputs. Process owners SHALL understand their roles and be competent to perform these roles (see ISO9001, section 7.2)

    Therefore, can multiple employees be process owners for key processes? Can someone explain the intent of this clause compared to ISO/TS16949? Thank you.
     
  2. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    IMHO - no, multiple people can't own a process. A top manager does. It's their process, they get measured by the stakeholders of the performance of said process. They have authority to say how the process is going to operate.
     
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  3. Miner

    Miner Moderator Staff Member

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    Unfortunately in larger corporations, you may have a business process that crosses multiple functions in a serial fashion, and there may be no logical way to assign responsibility to a single process owner because each function owns a small portion of the total (say 20%). In that case, you may have multiple owners, a governing council, or an arbitrarily assigned owner. Each of these have advantages and disadvantages. You would need to evaluate those and select the option that would be most effective. I have seen a single business process owner assigned when one function owns a larger portion (70-80%) and a council when no function owned more than 25% of the process. Having individual process owners for each function has never been effective as they will optimize their function's portion, which sub-optimizes the whole.
     
  4. Pancho

    Pancho Active Member

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    These are the cracks through which quality slips. Presumably functional managers have bosses too. Imo, that boss should be the process owner for your example. BTW, I believe that if the CEO is not the owner of any process, you are doing it wrong.
     
  5. MCW8888

    MCW8888 Well-Known Member

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    My special thanks to all of you..
     
  6. Miner

    Miner Moderator Staff Member

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    Unfortunately, in very large companies, by the time you go high enough to get a convergence of responsibility, you are at too high a level for the CEO to have any real understanding of the issues. Yes, you have ultimate responsibility, but without understanding, no true ownership.
     
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  7. MCW8888

    MCW8888 Well-Known Member

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    We are trying to address that now with the advent of IATF16949. We may understand the process but we do not have the accountability to the stakeholders. Our bosses have but our company is too big, they never know what is going on at our level in the organization. Example is the retrieval of Customer score cards from customer portal. There's been some gaps in the establishment of the end-2end process especially in the support processes.
     
  8. Pancho

    Pancho Active Member

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    Hmmm.... The manager at "convergence of responsibility" does not understand what she's responsible for? There's the NC.

    To achieve quality, key processes must be defined to the point that anyone reading the definition is able to understand it. Most of all, the process owner MUST understand the process. It is precisely the manager at "convergence of responsibility" whose job it is to do so. Abdicating it to a committee can't lead to anything good.
     
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  9. Miner

    Miner Moderator Staff Member

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    Take Amazon as an example. Let's say that Amazon's warranty process covered 5 different functions (e.g., customer care, logistics, shipping, accounts receivable, accounts payable...), each owning approximately 20% of the process. For the sake of argument, the lowest level of convergence is CEO, Jeff Bezos. Would you really expect Bezos to understand the detailed operations of that process? From a practical perspective?
     
  10. Pancho

    Pancho Active Member

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    Who is responsible for a process is an organizational design issue. At some point, likely years ago, Bezos was involved in the decision of who's going to be responsible for the warranty process. Whoever is charged with such responsibility had better understand the process, be empowered to change it, and to insure that participants do as intended, wherever such participants are in the org-chart.

    I guess I'm just skeptical that a committee can be an effective process owner. But, hey, different strokes!
     
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  11. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    A check of my peers came up with an answer similar to mine. At some level in an organization, someone is held accountable for RESULTS from a process. They OWN it. Maybe in some self directed workgroups, there's joint ownership, but those are so rare. I've never seen shared responsibility of a process, without conflict.
     
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  12. pkfraser

    pkfraser Member

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    Andy

    Agreed - "accountability" is the key. The process owner takes the credit for the success of the process if it works well, and has to sort it out if it doesn’t. Others will be responsible for specific tasks within a process. And the CEO should be too busy to own more than a few processes, if any.
     
  13. ncwalker

    ncwalker Well-Known Member

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    In a RASIC, you typically only specify one person as the "R" (Responsible). That guy is the process owner.

    Errors occur when this individual is not properly identified.

    For example, if I have an assembly line and it's not making rate, I may say all day long that the line lead is the owner, but if he can't hire/fire (employee count being part of the overall process) then I am holding him responsible for a process he does not control. He should not be the R in the RASIC. He should be (one of) the S (Support).

    That said, I can designate each operator on this line as Responsible for their piece of equipment. Suddenly, the piece of equipment may have 3 "owners" one for each shift. But again, I have to be careful of scope. Are we talking rebuilding the machine for annual maintenance? That's not the operator. Are we talking checking the oil, filters and deadman switches at the start of the shift? That very much CAN be the operators.

    At the end of the day, the "process owner" should be able to be resolved to one person. And it may have considerable overlap. But don't forget the goal - you're not doing this as a paperwork exercise, your doing this to tie KPIs and work instructions with SMART goals to individuals for accountability. Why? Most people LIKE to do their jobs and do them well - when they are clearly defined.
     

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