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New Post 11/9/2007 4:35 AM
User is offline Frank19
20 posts
9th Level Poster


Re: Advice Needed Please 

Thanks adrian, I will work on that process flow notation.  I'm actually really enjoying learning more about these processes.  As per you guy's suggestion I started reading the IIBA Body of Knowledge.  It really is quite interesting to see the detailed and formal ways of going about the analysis processes that I have been doing all along in a much less organized and  more impromptu way

 
New Post 11/11/2007 9:52 AM
User is offline Chris Adams
323 posts
5th Level Poster






Re: Advice Needed Please 
 Frank19 wrote

Ok let me go through and list the process we currently use for picking material.

1.) The process is triggered when a pick ticket is created by the office.  Before this can be done two main criteria must be met.  First, the material must be on an open customer purchase order that is entered into the system by the order takers.  The second criteria is that the material must be in stock.  Material can either already be in inventory or it can be put into stock when it is received in by the warehouse.  Once these two criteria are met a pick ticket is created by one of our office employees and put into a basket to go out into the warehouse.  The warehouse employees then periodically come into the office and check to see if there are any pick tickets ready to be picked.  If so they bring them to the warehouse and pick the material.

2.) As far as the actual material picking process goes basically it can be done by any of the warehouse workers.  They are all trained the same way and all have the same job when it comes to picking the material.  What they will do is first get the pick ticket from the office.  They will then bring the ticket to the warehouse and stamp it.  The stamp contains an outline for their initials, the manager's initials, date, number of packages and weight.  They then pick the material from stock.  The in stock material can come from one of two places.  If the material was already in inventory before the order was created it will have an inventory bin location.  In that case the bin location will be listed on the pick ticket and the warehouse worker will go to that bin location and pick the material.  If the material recently was received in because it was not in stock and therefore was ordered specificially to fill this particular order it will be located in on one of the receiving shelves.  The receiving shelves have their own separate bin numbers.  When items are received in by the warehouse they put them on one of these receiving shelves and note that shelf on the vendor's packing list.  Then when our pick ticket is created by the office they reference this receiving shelf on the pick ticket.  The warehouse staff will then use this information to find the material on the recieiving shelves and pick it.

After all the material on the pick ticket is taken from stock it is put on the shipping bench along with the pick ticket itself.  The ticket is then initialed by the warehouse employee who picked the material.  It then waits there until a manager is able to double check that all the material is there and correct.  If it is correct the manager will then initial the pick ticket as well.  If it is not correct the manager will instruct the warehouse worker to go back and get the correct material. 

Once the ticket is initialed by both parties it is ready to be packed up.  The warehouse worker will then pack the material using the boxes and packing material we have on hand.  After it is packed the box is weighed and the weight, date and number of packages is noted on the packing slip.  Lastly, the customer name and pick ticket number are both written on a sticker and put on the box to go out.  That box is then brought over to the staging area and is ready to be shipped out. 

3.) I understand the importance of verifying this with the workers themselves but because I do that on a daily basis (I am one of the managers who approves outgoing material and therefore I interact with and was involved in creating this process with the warehouse) for this exercise I won't go through the process of asking them if you don't mind.  However, like I said, I can definatly see the value in going through processes with employees if the situation was different.

 



Hi Frank,

Sorry I disappeared for a few days, work has been pretty busy.

Adrian mentioned that you should create a Process Flow Diagram (using either BMPN or UML notations, either will work) and that is indeed the next step. You have done an excellent job of outlining the process in a narrative format. This narrative format could easily be turned into a more structured Use Case but I don’t want to get into the details of Use Cases right now.

There are several fancy software tools for creating these diagrams. However, most organizations just use Microsoft Visio. If you don’t have access to any software, process flow diagrams can be sketched and be just as effective. It just makes it harder to share electronically. If you are going to sketch it, then I would ask that you find a way to scan it creating an image file of some kind. Then we can figure out how to get it posted on the site and still be readable.

After you have created the process diagram we can identify areas they may possibly be improved upon.

One last thing, I’m so glad that you mentioned point number 3. To summarize, you are the manager of this process, you developed the process, and you trained the people who complete the process. Because of this you feel you probably know as well as anyone the process, and I would agree. However, just as a learning point I want to state that this can’t be a big stumbling point. You’ve created the process and documenting it is quite straight forward for you, but how can you be sure that each worker follows your process exactly, every time, to every last planned detail. Often workers find short cuts in their daily activities. They find ways to improve upon the process having off a few minutes here or a few minutes there and still achieve the same end result.

By verifying the process flow with everyone, you are:

1. Identifying process deviations that workers may take on their own and which may by ways you can improve on your current process.
2. Identifying process deviations that the workers are taking because they believe it’s a better way 9and it may seem to be 90% of the time), but in the end these deviations may cause and occasional error to be missed which is costly to the organization. This is an opportunity to provide more training to the workers and explain why the part of the process they deviated from is so important.

In the end it’s a judgment call, and only you can really decide whether this is an important step. I just wanted to draw attention to this as a learning opportunity.

Chris Adams
Core Member – ModernAnalyst.com
LinkedIn Profile
 
New Post 11/12/2007 4:22 AM
User is offline Frank19
20 posts
9th Level Poster


Re: Advice Needed Please 

I see and agree with your point 100%.  I see workers taking short cuts and "improving upon" processes here every day and it is completely true that although sometimes these are faster than the original process, the worker doesn't always see how the number of errors can be increased with the short cut.  I will certainly keep that in mind from now on. 

I am going to get to work on that Process Flow Diagram.  I'm sure I can find info on BMPN or UML notations on this site and I'll use that as a guideline.  Unfortunatly I don't have access to Microsoft Visio so I will have to sketch it and then scan the diagram. 

 
New Post 11/12/2007 8:12 AM
User is offline Chris Adams
323 posts
5th Level Poster






Re: Advice Needed Please 
 Frank19 wrote

I see and agree with your point 100%.  I see workers taking short cuts and "improving upon" processes here every day and it is completely true that although sometimes these are faster than the original process, the worker doesn't always see how the number of errors can be increased with the short cut.  I will certainly keep that in mind from now on. 

I am going to get to work on that Process Flow Diagram.  I'm sure I can find info on BMPN or UML notations on this site and I'll use that as a guideline.  Unfortunatly I don't have access to Microsoft Visio so I will have to sketch it and then scan the diagram. 



Frank,

Here is a link to a PDF document that introduces BPMN. Really most of what you need to be concerned with is in the first couple of pages. Figure 1 on page 3 gives a very basic layout for a process flow diagram. It uses only the most basic features of BPMN (Business Process Modeling Notation) which is all you really need. Notice the callout that are being used to describe the notation. You wont need these, except for maybe one at your Start Event. Many people will place there process preconditions in a callout on the Start Event.

Remember, we are all here to help, so if you get stump or have a question about standard notation as you create the diagram let us know.

Chris

Chris Adams
Core Member – ModernAnalyst.com
LinkedIn Profile
 
New Post 11/12/2007 9:26 AM
User is offline Frank19
20 posts
9th Level Poster


Re: Advice Needed Please 

Thanks Chris.  I already started reading that paper and I plan on getting started on the model tonight if I have some free time.  I also found that I can download a 60 day trial of Microsoft Visio online so I will do that as well.  I'll keep you all posted on the progress and ask questions as they come up.

 
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