I recently began using the term "Hinges of Business" to describe the areas between business domains that form the real basis for execution. The term is derived from Thomas Cahill's concept of the hinges of history, which are the time periods between major changes that effectively led to a major turn of events. In business, no division, department or other organization is an island. The real business of doing business happens in the areas between departments, divisions and other organizations.Being able to see the hinges of your business requires the ability to look at your organization holistically. That is not as a set of discrete domains but as an interrelated group of functions that organizes and separates via subsets of resources on a routine basis. When you view your organization as a set of stovepiped domains, processes tend to mature in a domain-centered fashion. Thus, a domain requires all inputs to their processes to be provided in a way that best suits the processes they created without consideration of the burden it may create on other domains.

Today, many hinges are poorly defined and, therefore, lead to difficulties in execution and operational performance problems. For example, when insufficient availability of office supplies forces employees to make in-store purchases, the organization ends up paying more for the goods, adds overhead to accounts payable for an expense reimbursement and has to deal with lost employee utilization. Another example is due to inconsistencies that occur in retail businesses where stores are not replenished quickly enough due to the latency inherent in the intricate network of purchasing and procurement.

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