Complex System

I have shown four ovals vertically arranged labeled Production System. This signifies that there are four task groups or four production type units. They may be as simple as acquisition, production packaging and distribution. Once there is more than one unit it becomes necessary to coordinate between the units. This function is represented by the horizontal oval labled support-system.

(Note: the support system may be composed of the members of the production units who meet, or computer conference periodically to talk about support issues it need not be a separate organizational unit.)

If we think about the four production ovals -__-as acquisition, production, packaging and distribution we can readily see the need for /\ the triangle. For production to take place materials have to be purchased on time, for sales to be effective production has to meet its schedule. The issues of /\ triangle revolve around this necessity and around the fact that it doesn't always run smoothly.

Each of our production units have implicitly made a contract with the system as a whole (the other units) to do their specialties and they have agreed that they will be accountable for them. When it is necessary to either change the contract or if there is an accountability problem there is a # box issue.

For our system to function well it must know what is happening in its world. It may need to keep track of new developments in science or it may want to identify new markets and it needs to keep track of the competition. It needs to make plans in relation to all of these things. These are all {~} cloud issues.

In any complex system there are coordination issues which are not covered by the /\ or the #. Issues like over all product and service quality, which may involve all three production units, are * star issues.

The issues related to how we regard ourselves as a system. Our core competencies, notions of fairness, guidelines for service, written and unwritten rules of behavior (we are part of a team) are all part of [H] hexagon issues.

Seeing these functions in relation to the interaction between the various production -__- ovals helps us visualize what the functions within the production unit might be about. For example, in the production rectangle it is necessary to schedule work, /\ triangle issues. It is necessary for each member to be accountable for her/his contribution and to change that bargain when it seems appropriate, # box issues. It is necessary to plan and look outside the unit to know what may be important for the future, {C} cloud issues. It is necessary to fit within the unit and to do what the unit is supposed to do, [H] hexagon issues. And it is often necessary to question the working assumptions of the unit better and tune the quality of the operation, * star issues.

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