Process engineering is the science of designing efficient processes that achieve required value adding outputs. The fundamental principle is founded in the 'feedback control loop', that is, to attain clean inputs, then applying measurement and control with continuous improvement, to achieve desired outputs.
Many business improvement tools and methodologies have been applied over the years under innummerable acronyms and names covering various aspects of process design engineering. Of these, most applicable to the process engineering approach prescribed here are: end-to-end supply chain management - to add value at every stage and across the networks that connect suppliers and customers directly; and lean business - to design processes that systematically eliminate both material, and administrative waste. These time honoured approaches may also be generically termed 'applied common sense'. During and at the end of any business improvement programme, the key questions are always, what value has been added and to whom, and at what expense?
Service and product performance is differentiated by the quality in design of the whole system.
The most common outputs sought are highest service level at the least cost. Increasingly, safety and environmental factors are needing to be central to the engineered design. There are always two sides to the equation to be balanced, on the one side, system performance, and on the other side, commercial and non-commercial business risk.
There are three process engineering components applied in sequence, to design for required, and discovered performance outputs:
1. Supply chain mapping
2. Supply chain and logistics costs analysis
3. Process improvement
Examples, career highlights
Supply chain partnership for The Laminex Group with Paccon Logistics for the containerisation of wood panel products from New Zealand to Australia. 20% unit supply cost saving, 25% lead time reduction, near zero product damage on large volumes. Multi-million dollar freight and product damage savings. Joint winner of the Australian 2007 Logistics Mercury Awards.
Team member and systems implementer of the formative fully integrated manufacturing and distribution system in 1986 for the Feltex Carpets Group. Combined In house and New Zealand developed software platform. Early implementation of integrated demand planning, on-line production recording, and lot traceability, anywhere.