What is Departmental Purpose Analysis?

One of the most important aspects of business is customer orientation. That is why it is also the foundation of TQM implementation in an organisation.

The focus on internal customer supplier relationship drives the efficiency in multi-disciplinary processes.

In line operations customer supplier relationships are fairly visible. However, in case of service or, support functions it is not so straightforward.

Thus comes the necessity of using a method to understand, analyse and manage these interactions. Departmental Purpose Analysis (DPA) is such a tool.

Used correctly, DPA can throw up amazing benefits for your organisation.

What is Departmental Purpose Analysis?

Departmental purpose analysis aligns departments’ focus on the customer by reviewing, understanding, recording & improving the “internal customer supplier relationship”.

When to use Departmental Purpose Analysis?

You may use DPA when there is a need to:

  • Understand the nature, details & quantum of COQ (cost of quality) in the department
  • Improve internal customer focus
  • Improve inter-departmental value focus
  • Improve inter-personal relations

Where can Departmental Purpose Analysis be applied?

DPA is a very versatile tool. It could be used in many processes, such as:

  • Line functions/ departments
  • Staff functions/ departments
  • Vendor interactions
  • Customer interactions

How to undertake Departmental Purpose Analysis?


Ask pertinent questions about the department like:

  • What is my department’s purpose in the organisation?
  • What is my department’s role in the organisation?
  • Who are my key customers (internal/ external)?
  • What are the key expectations of my customers from me (my department)?
  • What are the key activities/ processes done by my department?
  • What are the key outputs of my department?
  • Which are the key suppliers to my department?
  • Which are the key inputs to my department?
  • What are my (my department’s) expectations from various other support functions/ departments.
  • Does my superior agree?
  • Why is this department doing this activity?
  • Is it being done the way the ‘customer’ department would want it?
  • What impact does the activity have on the prime objective of satisfying the requirements of the external customer?


Based on the answers received in step one, or customer expectation metric is drawn. It creates a visual representation of customer supplier relationships.


Once a holistic understanding of customer supplier relationships is available, customer supplier meets are organised.


Iterative improvements are started till required level of customer satisfaction is realised in the targeted processes.

Why DPA?

After collating the information in this steps above the above (both within departments and across departmental barriers), DPA helps departmental managers address improvements in inter-departmental & intra-departmental efficiency & quality for the benefit of the organization.

When the requirements of the customer are seen as the responsibility of  the department an effective measurement system can be adopted.

Tools used in Departmental Purpose Analysis

The following tools are most commonly used while conducting departmental purpose analysis.

  • Customer supplier matrix
  • Customer supplier meets
  • Tortoise diagrams
  • Flow charts
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