Processes are the fundamental building blocks of all organizations, and both process understanding and process improvement form the lifeblood of total quality organizations. Processes transform inputs, which can include actions, methods and operations, into outputs. They are the steps by which we add value, and it should be the aim of customer focused, total quality organizations, for these outputs to satisfy or exceed the needs and expectations of their customers.

Everything we do is a process, whether it is documented or not, and in each area or function of an organization there are many processes taking place. These processes interact with other processes throughout an organization, as outputs from one process form the inputs to another. Each process is part of a larger process and organizations large and small can be seen as complex networks of interconnecting processes, the highest level being the organization itself.
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