Introduction of OPM Products and Productivity
The fundamental reference for all four SLP assignments is the Department of Defense Continuous Process Improvement Transformation Guidebook. You should acquaint yourself with its contents before beginning the first SLP refer to it throughout the course and cite relevant portions as you prepare each SLP assignment.
The Google online dictionary defines the noun process as A series of actions or steps taken to achieve a particular end. The Business Dictionary (Webfinance 2017a) gives a more specific definition: A sequence of interdependent and linked procedures which at every stage consume one or more resources (employee time energy machines money) to convert inputs (data material parts etc.) into outputs. These outputs then serve as inputs for the next stage until a known goal or end result is reached.
Deciding what belongs and what doesnt belong to a particular process can be challenging. A common clich states that Everything is connected to everything else. Heres an example. Buying a cup of coffee at Starbucks is connected to:
We could spin the list out indefinitely; electricity production for example is related to the production of fossil fuels which in turn is affected by the political stability of the Gulf states etc. But the further afield we go the less relevance there is to that cup of coffee.
As the Webfinance (2017a) definition implies any process consists of subprocesses each of which can be considered a process in its own right. Staying with the coffee example:
Even greater levels of detail could be specified. For example Filling a cup could be considered as a discrete process consisting of taking a cup from a dispenser placing it under the espresso machine loading the machine with coffee starting the machine waiting removing the cup from under the machine and passing it to the server. Some coffee products may require additional steps such as foaming milk with steam.
The first task in Continuous Process Improvement is to identify the process. We must decide exactly what for our purposes is part of the process and what is not. This decision is arbitrary. Here are some examples.
As weve implied every process takes place in a larger context (we could also say environment) which provides the resources inputs and outputs. The context for each of the items above would be:
Identifying the process within its context consists of identifying the specific resources allocated to that process its inputs and its outputs.
SLP Assignment: Process Identification
Think of a specific process youre familiar with. The process should be sufficiently important to merit improvement and also sufficiently complex to offer room for improvement. Filling a coffee cup for example could be considered a process and may be important but its so simple that its difficult to see how it could be improved. On the other hand; running an aircraft repair facility is a process within the larger process of running an Air Force Wing and while its definitely important it would be too complex for this SLP.
Any process is embedded in a context. This is the organization which provides its resources its inputs and either consumes or distributes its output.
Before going further please read all of the SLP assignments to make sure you dont do everything at once. That would result in an overly long paper which despite its length wouldnt have sufficient details or adequate explanations. For this SLP the specific tasks are:
Bear in mind that resources inputs and outputs may consist of materials products or services or any combination thereof.
SLP Assignment Expectations

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