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What is a transformation process? The one minute guide

Updated Thursday 18th August 2016

When businesses or economists talk about "a transformation process", what does it mean?

A transformation process is one where something it turned into something else.

How transformation works Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission - see article page for details The conversion of something into something else can be described as a transformation process

Sometimes, it's easy to see what has happened - like when a dairy takes milk and makes cheese from it.

How transformation works Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission - see article page for details Turning the fresh milk into cheese is a transformation process

With services, though, it can be harded to imagine, but the principle is the same - so a hospital changes people who are unwell into people who are fit.

How transformation works Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission - see article page for details Making people well again is a transformation process

Some business activity involves a lot of transformation processes - turning milk into cheese, then turning the cheese into shredded cheese, then turning the shredded cheese into a pizza topping.

Transformation processes take many forms

Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: See article for copyright details Making a physical thing into another thing

Taking a thing and physically turning it into something else - a piece of wood into a chair, or milk into cheese. This is manufacturing.

Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: See article for copyright details Moving something from A to B

Changing where something, or somebody is - delivering a letter, taking a taxi ride. This is transport.

Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: See article for copyright details Changing who an item belongs to

Transfer of ownership - selling someone a block of cheese, or hiring a pedalo for half an hour. This is supply.

Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: See article for copyright details Providing a space

Storage or accomodation of items, people or information - renting out a house, or providing cloud storage services. This is a service.

Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: See article for copyright details Putting data to use

Putting information into a different format, or to a different use - reading a gas meter, or compiling a spreadsheet. This is also a service.

How transformation works Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission - see article page for details Making people better, or fitter

Changing people's physical or mental states - health services or massage chairs. This is another type of service.

This article is adapted from material for The Open University course in Business Management. See a full list of OU Business School courses

Image credits:
butterly emerging from a cocoon by Emmanuelle Bourgue CC-BY-NC-ND
Tillamook cheese factory by Kristina D.C. Hoeppner CC-BY-SA
Hahnemann Hospital and Homœopathic Dispensaries by Wellcome Library CC-BY
woodworking by conespider CC-BY-NC-ND
delivery people by Garry Knight CC-BY
checkout lane by Random Retail CC-BY
lockers by nachans CC-BY
gas meters by Lisa Padilla CC-BY
fitness class by Nottingham Trent University CC-BY-NC-ND

 

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