Processes exist in every type of business environment, be it manufacturing or service, and the type of processes that are used and how well they perform are directly related to the success of every organization. Managers, therefore, need to understand how these processes work and measure their performance on a continuous basis. An integral part of managing processes is process analysis, which is used to identify weaknesses in the process or areas for improvement For every reprocess there are a multitude of performance measures. It is therefore essential for managers to identify those key performance measures that best provide them with the proper information that will allow intelligent and effective decision making. To be most meaningful, performance measures should be compared with something. Traditionally these comparisons have been made within an organization, looking at trends' over a period of time. Other comparisons were made with industry data that were readily available. More recently, however, companies have begun looking outside their industries in order to find those firms that have the best practices in a particular functional area or in a specific type of process. This policy of seeking out the best of the best is referred to as benchmarking. Proper performance measurement and benchmarking are critical elements for those firms that want to compete successfully in the global marketplace. In such a fiercely competitive environment, where rules are constantly changing and standards are constantly being raised, only those firms that are cognizant of both their capabilities and those of their competitors will survive Managers now recognize that there are many processes that cross functional lines. Process flowcharts and analysis. which were once used solely within the manufacturing function, also can be applied to these business processes. The lessons learned in manufacturing also can be applied in a service environment. Here, however, the customer's direct interaction with the service process must be taken into consideration. This type of analysis of service operations is often referred to as service blueprinting
In an effort to improve processes in terms of both effectiveness and efficiency, business process reengineering often starts from ground zero in redesigning a process. This approach provides an opportunity for new and innovative ideas to be introduced while at the same time taking advantage of the latest state-of-the-art technology that is available.