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What Does a Process Manager Do?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 27 October 2016
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A process manager is commonly found in the manufacturing or information technology industry. He or she is responsible for the design, review, administration and performance of a specific process. The work of a process manager can be divided into three primary sectors: documentation, measurement, and operational improvement. Process management often includes re-engineering or redesigning a project.

The process manager typically is responsible for an entire production process or workflow. Employee supervision, equipment management and human resources tasks are often part of the responsibilities of a process manager. In some companies, this manager also fulfills the role of line manager.

Process documentation is used to create a manual of the actual steps required to complete a specific task. This manual is used by employees and managers as part of business operations. The documentation must be updated every time new equipment is used or changes are made to the operation. In many ways, process documentation is similar to developing a recipe or cookbook. Ideally, the documentation should be written so that anyone can understand the basic process quickly and easily.

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The collection of data is a large part of what this type of manager does. He or she often is responsible for recording the time necessary to complete each step of a process. These metrics can be used to track efficiency and the effect of any changes in the process. There are multiple ways to collect this data, depending on the tools used to manage the process. For example, a shipping company can collect data on the time required to move packages from the loading dock to the individual trucks through bar code scanners or related tools.

The process manager is responsible for reviewing the data and implementing any necessary changes. He or she uses the information to design changes to the current procedures and to provide a forecast of the expected outcome. Once the changes are implemented, the results are reviewed and compared with the expected results. Positive or negative variances are analyzed, and further adjustments are made. This type of work is ongoing, because new technology and methods are continuously being developed.

In order to become a process manager, post-secondary education in business administration or information technology is required. In many cases, additional courses in statistics, management theory and data management are required. In the manufacturing sector, engineering training or related experience can be very helpful, because the processes can be primarily mechanical in nature.

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Discuss this Article

allenJo
Post 3

@Charred - Documentation is okay just to get stuff down on paper, but if you want to benchmark the time to complete processes, you’ll need process management software.

This software puts all your existing processes in one central location online, and it incorporates some of the time tracking functionality that you find in project management software. So you can do reporting on who is doing what processes and how long, on average, it’s taking them to complete the work.

Charred
Post 2

@NathanG - One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from fellow employees at one of the companies I worked for was a lack of processes and procedures.

There could be ten different ways of doing the same things, and every employee you hire brings their own twist to the task. So I think that process management is an important role. I don’t necessarily believe that you need a dedicated process manager however.

For example, I think that you can take existing project managers from different departments, have them get together and more or less collate the different processes into one collection. You would accomplish the same results. However, it does need to be done. I agree with you – it’s a source of frustration for employees when they don’t have processes and procedures in place.

NathanG
Post 1

I once worked as a policies and procedures coordinator for the accounting department of a Fortune 500 company. While I was not formally known as a process manager in the sense described by the article, I was involved in the process management process.

We had a set of procedures drawn up by different accountants in the department. My job was to review the procedures, interview the accountants and make sure that current documentation accurately reflected how they were implementing their processes.

In a few cases I was responsible for crafting new processes from scratch but in most cases I was just editing existing processes. It was a very important position, because in the event of an audit, one of the first things the auditor would target would be the process documentation, and compare it to actual processes taking place. The two had better match.

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