Four D’s

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Managing operations and processes involves a whole range of seperate decisions that will determine their overall purpose, structure and practices. The way operations and processes are designed and implemented have an impact upon how succesful the business is in delivering the good or service. Furthermore, any business that has mapped and optimised its processes, has the ability to generate new commercial opportunities through capacity creation  and process enhancement.

Management of these stream of activity existe within a set of four interconnected levels of recursion:

4Ds Of Operational mngmnt


Directing the overall strategy of the operation. A general, holistic view of the overall operational function, their strategic purpose, and an understanding of how to translate strategy into reality (direct) are prerequisites for the design of operations processes. Often this is acheived as part of a joined-up picture of the business and how Operations fit into this vision.


Designing the operation’s products, processes and services. Design is the activity of determining the physical form, shape and composition of operations and processes along with the products and processes that they produce. Understanding the stakeholders and alos who the internal/external customers and suppliers are will enable a richer interpretation of how the design can be optimised.


Planning and control process delivery. After being designed, the delivery of products and services from suppliers and through the total operation to customers must be planned and controlled. Measurement of performance and quality control enable the process to run seamlessly by alerting process owners to any deviation away from the plan.


Managers must continue to develop existing products, processes and services. There is a responsibility to develop the capabilities through the use of continuous improvement. The mainstay of any lean organisation is the ability to continually revisit Operational activity to further optimise and refine its processes.

Slack, N. et al. Operations and Process Management. 2nd Ed. (2009) Prentice Hall

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