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A business process consists of several consecutive steps, such that if a process flows from one step to another then the pair of steps is considered single-way connected. How does one call a person or a team which is fed with results from previous step to begin their work?

For example, on a car production pipeline, painting only starts when each detail is ready to: cut, pressed, and welded. So, painting stage "consumes" prepared components.

What is a proper name, in general, for a person or team in such a relationship?

I have several alternatives, and all of them seems unsuitable for me:

  • consumer — one is called a consumer when she actually gets a complete result, not intermediate one;
  • customer — same;
  • next-in-line — too general, too impersonated;
  • stakeholder — too general.
  • Not an answer to your question but, in car manufacturing, the painting is one of the first processes to take place, usually immediately after press and welding. :) – Ste Oct 6 '14 at 15:29
  • I haven't really dig any information about it so I just dumped here the first example I imagined in my head. But after you noticed that, I found that, speaking about automotive, process is really far from what I've thought of it before. :) Thank you for your remark! – Fleischpflanzerl Oct 6 '14 at 15:43
  • I work for Nissan so I know a thing or two about the automotive process. :) We produce two completed cars every 57 seconds! – Ste Oct 7 '14 at 7:09
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Downstream (deliverables) is the popular term in the software industry. Similarly, upstream is also used to denote the predecessor step.

  • Supply chain model is what I'm actually talking about. But I only found a supplier-customer pair terminology. The latter, to not be confused with end customer, should be replaced by another word. Anyway, it seems very close to the solution. – Fleischpflanzerl Oct 6 '14 at 20:21
  • Producer-consumer is also a pairing popular among software developers. Not sure if it is used in the SCM space. – moonstar Oct 7 '14 at 14:21
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A dependent step is one that relies on a previous step to occur. It doesn't necessarily mean next-in-line exclusively, but certainly it can be used with appropriate verbiage (upon what does it depend?).

Usage example:

Packaging is dependent upon the completion of QA.

Edit: Another option is subsequent. (or simply next step)

The subsequent process after QA is Packaging.

The next step after QA is Packaging.

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In my business, we occasionally refer to internal customers who will receive and make use of (possibly develop/transform) the product of one team before that product (or whatever they make from it) goes to another team and/or, ultimately, to an end-user.

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An associate could be a more basic part of a business process than a senior associate.

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Conduit might remotely fit your the next in line assumption.

A means by which something is transmitted: an arms dealer who served as a conduit for intelligence data.

Source: The Free Dictionary

  • I may be mistaken, but I think it doesn't actually fit because conduit stands much more for the transport than for an object being transported or a next node in line which is being transported to. – Fleischpflanzerl Oct 6 '14 at 15:47

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