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What is a process?

The Quality Toolbook > Processes > What is a process?


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Processes are one of the 'Three P's' of quality in business, People, Products and Processes, where products are what is done, and processes are about how it is done. Thus people use processes to produce products. The word 'products' here includes the end goal of all actions, which is often an intangible service rather than a more tangible product. Thus statements about quality often talk about 'products or services' rather than plain 'products'.

A way of contrasting quality in product and process activities is by viewing production of quality products as doing the right thing and quality processes are about doing the thing right, as in the diagram below.

A succinct formal definition of a process is given by Joseph Juran:


'A process is a systematic series of actions
directed towards the achievement of a goal'


This phrase is expanded upon in subsequent sections of this chapter.



Fig. 1. The 'Three Ps' of business



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