The term support process or support process refers to operational processes that support the core process but do not themselves generate any direct customer benefit . Typical supporting processes are, for example, human resources ( personnel process ), accounting , data processing , maintenance , and canteen .
A characteristic of supporting processes is that they only contribute indirectly to added value . They could therefore basically be outsourced by the company. It is recommended to check whether supporting processes can be provided by external providers more cheaply, quickly and with higher quality ( outsourcing ).
On the other hand, the importance of supporting processes for the core process and the company as a whole is often underestimated. By outsourcing, the competence of dismissed employees is irrevocably lost and cannot be replaced by external parties. This applies in particular to knowledge and experience with corporate culture (values, standards, management style, internal relationships, customer and supplier relationships), but also to technical knowledge and experience with special production methods and processes. There are also additional interface and competence problems. Some companies then reverse such outsourcing.
Often there is also talk of support services (from the English literally for "support services"), which support the core processes. The support services are designed so that the support processes can be optimally adapted to the environment of the core business.
The distinction between the support process and the core process is often not that easy in practice. An example: Is the kitchen a core process in an airline catering service? If the quality of the food is in the foreground for the customer, the question should be answered with "Yes". What is the case when timely delivery is paramount? A catering company that sees itself primarily as a logistics service provider can, in this case, shift its focus from gastronomy to logistical services and even outsource the kitchen.
By outsourcing a supporting process, it becomes a core process for the contracted company .
But even if the idea of outsourcing is not in the foreground, it is worthwhile for a company to separate its support processes as independent modules from the core processes . The processes become more manageable and leaner and can - according to the concept of Business Process Reengineering - be assigned to process teams , which enables a one-face-to-customer principle .
Through benchmarking , ie the comparison of own performance with the best external suppliers, also may encourage internal optimization are set. Typical candidates for support processes in need of improvement are the printing of brochures and forms, garden maintenance or cleaning services.
If the resources for the provision of support services are pooled in organizations with several business units, this is referred to as shared services . By pooling the resources in the support center, the services can be provided more cheaply.