Processes are sets of activities that have some level of definition and standardization about them.  The Enterprise runs using three types of processes.  These are Factory, Safeguard, and Exception.

The Factory Process is that process that implements the essence of the business. These activities are the “right” things to be doing.  We have previously referred to them as the “things we’re supposed to do”.  It is the core competency and operates at the highest efficiency and velocity.  Every step of the Factory Process is standard and should be automated to the highest extent possible. The Enterprise wants to push all transaction activity through it. This is the path for transactions from Customers who “play by the rules” of the game as the Enterprise wants it played.  This should encompass the majority of the transactions processed by the Enterprise.

The Factory Process must be protected by Safeguard processes to ensure it is not being abused.  These activities ensure that you are doing the “right” things right.  The high velocity of the transactions flowing through the Factory Process means that problem transactions can be completed before it is known that they are problems.  (e.g. Processing fraudulent transactions can cause money to leave the Enterprise with no hope of recovering it.)  Business-driven Enterprise Architecture and Internal Audit are examples of Safeguard processes.

Transactions that don’t conform to the Factory Process are Exceptions and run through Exception Processes.  In many cases, these are the activities that we have labeled the “things we really do”. Exceptions should only spawn from unruly Customer behavior.  If behavior within the Enterprise dictates a change, adjust the Factory Process or change the behavior back to that which conforms to the existing Factory Process.   The degree of automation for Exception Processes is thus dictated by the Enterprise’s ability to control or influence this unruly Customer behavior.  (e.g. Most Customers will need Customer Service at some point in your relationship to them and unless you are in the Customer Servicing business, it is an Exception Process.  There is always some level of Customer Service that can be automated and some level that shouldn’t be.  Perhaps the former set of activities should be considered Safeguard processes because they help the Customer play the game correctly.  The latter set is for those Customers who just demand more attention.  Understand the difference.)

The goal should always be to correct the exceptional nature of the transaction and then get it back into the Factory Process.  The idea of running a parallel process that handles the exception differently all the way through its lifecycle is both inefficient and ineffective.

The idea of an Exception to an Exception is illogical.  It is just another more obscure exception that has many of the same traits as some other exception.

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