Advanced Managerial Techniques
4.1 To Describe Processes
The Integration Definition for Function Modelling (IDEF0) technique is used to graphically represent processes, supporting the analysis of a complex system (such as an organisational system). The method was developed in the late 1970s by the U.S. Air Force within the project ICAM (integrated computer-aided manufacturing), to describe their productive activities and better manage the integration of these with computer technology. The IDEF0 term identifies a hierarchical set of diagrams that graphically illustrate the processes at increasing levels of detail. The IDEF0 approach is top-down in the sense that the analysis of the process under study proceeds from a more general level to more detailed levels.
At each step, four elements must be identified: inputs, outputs, constraints and resources. The analysis gradually becomes deeper and deeper by breaking down the initial process into sub-processes, activities and operations, up to the level of detail considered most suitable for the purpose of the analysis itself.
In this method, the two concepts ‘inputs'’ and ‘resources’, which are generally used as synonyms, here instead assume two different meanings. The inputs are represented by all the materials and information input into the process to undergo a transformation. The resources mostly identify people who work in the process and the machinery used in it. Finally, the constraints relate to anything ...