James Womack and Dan Jones are the founders of the Lean Enterprise Institute and the Lean Enterprise Academy (UK), respectively. Their book, Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation, is considered by some to be the bible of Lean manufacturing. It was initially published in 1996 based on their in-depth study of Toyota’s fabled Toyota Production System (TPS).
What Womack and Jones realized is that every outcome is the result of a process. Process thinking in operations management requires leaders and workers to view businesses as a set of related processes that work together rather than a group of departments that each support a specific function.
These ideas are widely used by businesses of any industry to better design, track, and optimize business processes operations. Companies have not done away with functional departments. However, they view the work departments do differently. A department can't exist as a silo. It receives inputs from other functions, and it provides outputs that other departments must consume to complete their work.