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What is a Business Process?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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A business process is a series of activities occurring within a company that lead to a specific end. Most often, it focuses on meeting the needs of the customer and delivering a good or service that will fulfill that need. This process is actually often a collection of interrelated processes that function in a logical sequence to achieve the ultimate goal.

Defining the exact steps of a business process will vary somewhat from one corporate structure to another, but there are some elements or sub-processes that can be found in most. To some degree, these sub-processes will always occur in an order that lead to successful completion of the manufacturing process.

The first step normally has to do with the acquisition of raw materials for the business operation. In order to maximize the benefit from them, efforts are made to secure materials of the highest quality at the most cost efficient price. Doing so increases the chance of achieving a higher amount of profit for each unit produced and sold.

Following the acquisition step, the process will move on to the structure and efficiency of the production structure. Here, the organization of the plant facility in order to allow raw materials to be processed with the greatest degree of efficiency becomes paramount. This is coupled with attention to such factors as employee training, setting reasonable production goals, and establishing a workable maintenance program for the production machinery.

The next step focuses on the sales and marketing effort. While it is established early on that the final product will be of value to consumers, it is often necessary to develop and implement creative strategies for making buyers aware of the product. As part of this effort, public relations, advertising efforts, and the establishment of a simple means of placing orders will often help to secure customers who are ready and willing to buy the produced products.

Once the goods are produced and sold, the final step of the business process has to do with delivery to the client. This portion of the process includes such elements as processing orders in a timely manner, advising the client of the scheduled delivery date, and making sure that date is met. On the back end, the delivery process also has to do with obtaining feedback from the customer regarding their level of satisfaction with the product and the efficiency of the physical delivery.

Depending on the nature of the industry involved, orders from clients may be secured before the actual process of production begins. Many companies operate with a business process that allows for the production of goods in anticipation of sales to consumers, however.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon242773 — On Jan 25, 2012

Where can I find out about business structure and how can I get the other steps which I can use as references for my studies?

By momtocfd — On Jan 27, 2011

Agreed @narnia219! This is where a business process analysis can come in handy. Having someone on the inside review the company's processes, or even contracting that work to get a fresh perspective, can really identify areas for improvement. Plus, from the customer's perspective, it's always nice to know your opinion matters.

By narnia219 — On Jan 24, 2011

This article does a great job, but I think there is something that could be added after the last step. The feedback received from customers should be taken into consideration by a company in order to improve their processes. Some business plans forget that part.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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