The 4 V’s of Business Process

Volume, Variety, Variation and Visibility

Operations and process management is the activity of managing the resources and processes that produce products and services (Slack et al., 2006). Slack (2015) argues that what we should really expect from operations is “that it has a positive impact, that it contributes something, if not unique, then difficult for competitors to copy”.

We all agree that processes might be so different depending on the company industry and technologies as well as its organization dimension and structure. Yet the ways these processes are managed have a lot of similarities that directly impact the company performance. According to Slack et al. (2006) The way in which processes are managed is influenced by four Vs: the ‘Volume’ of the products or service demand, the ‘Variety’ of these products and services, the ‘Variation’ in the demand and the degree of ‘Visibility’ of these processes to the customers.

As an example, a company providing consulting services often sees a low demand, very high variety where the variation is high and the visibility is low. This explains that the customer price of such service will be quite high. As consulting project variety is high the cost for a consulting firm will be reflected by the number of senior experts that cover these projects’ required skills.

Thus, Understanding the processes’ 4V’s of each company departments is of utmost importance as this will help understand their cost of delivery and the price of the service or the product they offer.

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