Designing Organizations: Business Process Strategies


A business process is a combination of activities that are formulated to produce a certain service or product for a consumer. It explains the process through which a business provides value for its customers. Process design deals with business processes that ensure productivity and efficiency (Galbraith, 2002). A process strategy is a sequence of decisions that ensure that an organization attains its competitive priorities. This paper aims to look at the process strategies and the circumstances under which they work.

Main body

Process strategies guide the resources available to the organization to produce something of value. A process strategy has three basic principles. Individual processes provide the foundation for the organization’s supply chain. Finally, management must be keen on all the processes carried out in the facility (Mintzberg, 2003).

There are four main types of process strategies. They are repetitive-focused strategy, process-focused strategy, mass customization strategy, and product-focused strategy (Gardner, 2004).

Process-focused is the first strategy. In this strategy, processes organize firms such that similar processes and products are classified together. Products may be high variety products or low volume products. A high variety of products allow customization, and few units are produced per run. They are hard to achieve, but it has high rewards. Low variety products vary in their characteristics. The advantage of a process-focused strategy is that there is product flexibility, and the equipment has a more general purpose. The disadvantage of this strategy is that it requires highly trained personnel, and there is low utilization of the equipment (Gardner, 2004). Examples of this strategy are banks, hospitals, and machine shops.

Repetitive-focused is the second strategy. Assembly lines, featured by modules, which were assembled previously, arrange organizations. Modules are enjoined for many output options. The considerations for this strategy are that it is more structured than the process-focused strategy, and it economically benefits from continuous processes (Mintzberg, 2003). Examples include fast food, truck, and cloth dryers.

A product-focused strategy is the third strategy. Products organize facilities. Products are made either in a continuous process or through discrete manufacturing. This strategy ensures there is high equipment utilization and an easier production process (Gardner, 2004). The disadvantages of this strategy are that there is less product flexibility, and it requires specialized equipment. Higher capital investment is necessary for this strategy. Examples of this strategy are soft drinks, light bulbs, and paper.

Mass customization is the fourth strategy. It uses technology and innovation to produce many products according to customer desires. The cost of production is low, and there is high product flexibility (Galbraith, 2002). Examples of this strategy are clothing, footwear, and art.


The best and most appropriate strategy to work in is the one that maximizes competitive advantage and customer value. This processing strategy should win orders while eliminating steps that do not add value (Mintzberg, 2003). Mass customization is a strategy that has unlimited opportunities, which are yet to be exploited. This strategy can be used almost in every manufacturing product. Mass customization mainly uses a service process design. A service process design provides a good layout, which produces winning orders. Mass customization hugely depends on technology, which keeps changing creating new opportunities and better products for consumers.


Galbraith, J. R. (2002). Designing organizations: An executive guide to strategy, structure, and process. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Gardner, R. (2004). The process-focused organization: a transition strategy for success. Milwaukee, Wis.: ASQ Quality Press.

Mintzberg, H. (2003). The strategy process: concepts, contexts, cases (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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