Process Mapping Essentials: A Roadmap for Business Efficiency

Businesses are built on great ideas. There are various ideas floating around in organizations within the teams. However, these ideas can help the business grow only when they come to fruition. All good ideas need a process to come to the execution stage. This is where process mapping can help.

Process mapping can offer the much-needed workflow or the work structure breakdown to give businesses a glimpse of how their tasks should be aligned. It is especially helpful in brainstorming ideas with the teams or in cross-functional teams.

This post offers insights into the principles and the framework of process mapping. We shall also be learning about how to execute process mapping.

An Overview of Process Mapping

Process mapping refers to the process where workflows are visually mapped out. This is done using process maps that utilize various symbols for the representation of the different entities in the process.

Symbols in Business Process Mapping

Symbols in Business Process Mapping

Using these symbols, process mapping becomes a self-explanatory process. It is simple for the users to understand what each stage is all about. These process maps easily substitute for the lengthy discussions and conversations for explaining the processes.

The best highlight about using process mapping is that it can be used for any kind of process. However, it is frequently used for the depiction of process analysis, process improvement, and training, among others.

Types of Business Process Map

There are diverse shapes and sizes through which a process map can be derived. While all of them provide similar efficiency and outcomes, a specific process map may be more suitable for the process than the others.

This section takes us through the different types of business process maps.
Flowcharts:

These are very easy to use as they have been in use for a while. There are different symbols to depict the inputs and outputs of the workflows. These are highly preferred and extremely useful when it comes to planning new projects.

Issues can be easily highlighted and spotted with flowcharts. Additionally, the flowcharts are instrumental in improving communication between the teams. Apart from that, flowcharts are also helpful in documenting the processes.

Modifications come easily while using flowcharts. This can be termed as one of the finest advantages of using flowcharts. They can be modified according to the business function they are being used for. This includes manufacturing and administration, among others.

High-level Process Diagrams

Businesses can get insights and a complete overview from the high-level process diagrams. These diagrams depict only the most important steps in the process. The map carries only the most relevant information with few details.

These diagrams carry all the business processes and their steps. However, it does not provide any operational details. These diagrams are crucial for explaining critical processes.

Detailed Process Diagrams

These diagrams are for deeper details. It offers complete details of all the substeps and subtasks. These diagrams help the users understand the process completely by highlighting the areas for improvement.

Swimlane Diagrams

It is used for crossfunctional or as a deployment flowchart. This kind of diagram essentially showcases the people responsible for handling particular tasks in the process. Swimlane diagrams are useful in clearly depicting the roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders.

Value Stream Diagram

This is essentially a lean management tool that works to bring together the product and the consumer. The value stream diagrams involve the use of different sets of symbols to showcase the workflow. Therefore, they come across as a bit more complicated.

SIPOC Diagram

SIPOC is supplier, inputs, processes, outputs, and customers. Here, the supplier is the company that has resources. These resources become the input. Then after following the process, the inputs derive the outputs. Finally, this output is received by the customer.

Principles of Process Mapping

Now that we have understood process mapping, it is also important to understand how it is carried out. For getting a clear understanding, let’s take a look at the following principles of process mapping:

  • Define the scope. The project that the company is working on must be defined with start and end points along with the tasks involved.
  • Define the intent of carrying out the process mapping.
  • Request feedback from all the key people in the organization and the ones involved in the process.
  • Carry out the ‘As-is’ analysis to achieve better accuracy with the process outcomes.
  • Ensure to include KPIs and keep monitoring them for different variables and values in the process.
  • Create ownership touch-points at various levels and stages of the process.
  • Make efficient use of technology to reduce the number of errors.

Framework of Process Mapping

To get started with a process, you must have a framework and an external structure. This framework provides a shape to the project. In the case of business process mapping, shortlist and finalize the processes that are ideal for your business.

Let’s take a detailed look at these steps that formulate the framework of process mapping for your business:

Recognize the best practices in your organization: Best practices always ensure that the project meets its desired outcome. The processes that get mapped must be understood easily by anyone who may not be technically connected with the process. The mapped processes can contain the questions and answers as to why the mapping was done for that process.

As-is process: This is about telling the users about all the details of the process including its start, end, and so on. This phase is also about defining the roles, systems, and the time taken. An efficient process design consultant can help you here.

Analyze: Once the process mapping is over, it is time to evaluate it. Look for processes that do not add value, and delete the unnecessary steps. Also, check if there are any issues or hindrances. Check if there are processes that are going back and forth between two touchpoints. On the basis of these points, choose an improvement plan to reshape the process flow.

To-be design: Having a bird’s eye view of the processes will lead to the to-be design phase. Once the complete workflow analysis and assessment are done, check if the process flow has reached the desired point. Think about the areas that would further need modifications to reach the to-be stage! Process mapping consultants who understand your business are apt to support this stage.

Benefits of Business Process Mapping

The benefits of process mapping can be enlisted as in this section:

Breaking down complex ideas
This is the primary benefit of business process mapping. The processes are explained in a very user-friendly way. They are easily understood by the team members who may not be connected with the process closely. Moreover, it is important for the staff to be able to read through the processes to be on the same page in the context of the project.

Identifying inefficient processes
This is another huge advantage of process mapping. All the stages or processes are clearly depicted which allows easy spotting of inefficient processes or improvement areas. Catching such inefficiencies is crucial for a successful culmination of the project.

Easily understandable business process chart
A standard operations manual can be difficult to understand. However, with process mapping and the simple depiction can enhance the readability of the manual or the process. Even the people who have newly been involved can see the self-explanatory images and flowchart.

Problem-solving capabilities
All businesses face issues and problems and there are ways to battle it out. However, there must be a method that would help the business to overcome these problems. Process mapping offers a methodology that makes it easy for the teams to spot and resolve issues.

Task assignment
Process maps can facilitate resource planning and include the people in the flowchart who would be appropriate to perform a specific task. Thus, enabling task assignment effortlessly.

Facilitates better communication
Process mapping can be specifically crucial in cross-functional teams. It provides for better communication for everyone to be on the same page. All updates and related information become easy to share. This effectively contributes to business streamlining.

Quicker decisions from visual analysis
Process mapping uses diagrams and flowcharts that enable clear visual representation. A clear and concise depiction paves the way for operational efficiency and quicker decisions.

Improves proficiency of the team
When a process is mapped through a structured and clear depiction, it is easier for the team to grasp the concepts in the process. As a result, it improves their proficiency in the relevant processes.

Business standards
Process mapping is also instrumental in getting your business the ISO 9000 and ISO 9001. It does so by providing a clear outline of the processes through charts.

If you are looking for growth and implementing process mapping, business process mapping consultants can be your guides. You can also get help from BPM consulting firms who hold a lot of expertise in the area and can help you revive the process.

About BPX

BPX stands at the forefront of SOP Consulting as business process consultants, boasting over 12+ years of dedicated experience in the field. Our seasoned team has partnered with a diverse clientele, spanning more than 12 countries, to tailor and refine business processes. At BPX, we specialize in crafting Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and adopt BPMN 2.0 methodology for leveraging advanced process consulting methodologies to optimize performance and efficiency. If you’re looking to boost efficiency or scale your business with streamlined processes or establish robust SOPs, BPX is your trusted partner in driving operational excellence and sustainable growth.

FAQs

The basic steps that process mapping involves are:

  • defining the scope and intent
  • requesting feedback from all key people
  • carrying out as-is analysis
  • monitor KPIs
  • Create ownership touchpoints at various levels
With a simple and clear depiction of each process in the workflow in the form of diagrams and flowcharts, any staff member can relate to and understand the process. This ease of use and simplicity enable the team members to reduce errors. Thus, improving business efficiency.

The steps in creating a process map are:

  • Identifying the problem areas
  • Charting the activities in the process
  • Determine the sequence
  • Drawing flowchart using the symbols
  • Finalize and analyze the map
  • Analyze areas of improvement

Author Bio

YRC-rupal

Rupal Agarwal

Chief Strategy Officer
Dr. Rupal’s “Everything is possible” attitude helps achieve the impossible. Dr. Rupal Agarwal has worked with 300+ companies from various sectors, since 2012, to custom-build SOPs, push their limits and improve performance efficiency. Rupal & her team have remarkable success stories of helping companies scale 10X with business process standardization.

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