Process Thinking at Patagonia

By John Hunter, author of the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog.

YouTube video

Randy Harward spoke at the 2013 Deming Institute annual conference on applying Deming management methods and sustainability and Patagonia.

It was better because designers and developers went from being just people who bought things, and marketed them, to people who had to understand and solve problems throughout the whole process. They became process engineers, every one of them… It was a huge change for the company. Sales and satisfaction increased for the whole company.

Previously, that that were thought impossible, technical barrier, just fell away as we explored the whole process.

Randy discusses how end to end process thinking, systems thinking, created the ability for Patagonia to create sustainability and business success together. Without looking at the whole system, sustainability often can seem to create increased costs. But as the entire system is optimized (for sustainability, quality and customer value) there are big gains for the business.

The culture of process thinking and continual improvement don’t sound much different than what companies say they do. But the difference in practice is profound.

Related: Using Deming’s Management Ideas to Explore Sustainability2013 Annual Deming Conference Recap: Homecoming At PurdueEmployee Involvement at Western MountaineeringDeming’s First Theorem: Nobody gives a hoot about profit

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