First off, Happy New Year from the Operations Council! We’re looking forward to an interesting year of research ahead.

As you know, each month we highlight a series of best practices around a given topic as part of our “Topic of the Month” series, and in January, we’re focusing on Value Chain Management. Our study on Rebuilding the Process Value Chain was the most downloaded resource on our website in 2011, so clearly it’s an issue that is top of mind for many of you– and for good reason. The Operations function is often regarded as the ultimate owner of the end-to-end process value chain, with senior leadership holding the function accountable for coordinating the activities of other key participants in the value chain.

When we talk to executives about value chain management, one of the questions that comes up repeatedly is how Operations can be structured to be more process-centric. Traditionally, many firms have organized Operations by product or function, which results in minimal oversight by one individual or team over the entire end-to-end process.

This week’s profiled practice, Process Aligned Structures, shows how one firm transitions from a function-aligned structure to a process-oriented one, to ultimately improve the service delivery. The key to this practice is assigning clear ownership, and reinforcing that ownership through organizational structure and performance measurement.