Mapping a business process is a concept that has become increasingly useful in many organisations. Many are already employing software tools to automatically map out a procedure. Some may still be sticking to a more traditional approach. Regardless of how it is done, there are many benefits attributed to mapping a business process.
If you are relatively new to this concept, you may feel overwhelmed by the possible complexity of conducting a process mapping activity within your organisation. But contrary to what others may think, it is not complicated or difficult at all. Since there is already an established concept of how it is done, you can follow a framework and use it as your guide.
Framework of Process Mapping
Here is a guide to help you start with mapping out processes in your company or business:
Start by identifying the best practices within your company. One principle of good process mapping is to agree on the scope of the process map. It should be easily understood even by a person or party who is not directly involved in it. The process should also answer questions such as: Why is it being done? What goes into the detail of each step? Additionally, there should be standard metrics used to measure the success of each process.
Use an “as-is” approach. Determine where the process starts and ends. Identify all the steps involved in the process and check for areas that need to be improved or fixed. Collaborate with all the individuals involved in the process. Look for specific roles, responsibilities, outputs, inputs, objectives, activities, customers, risks and controls, and key performance indicators.
Analyse and evaluate. Carefully analyse your process map. Look for redundant functions or steps, bottlenecks, and points of rework. You can proceed with coming up with a workable solution on how to rework the process and remove unnecessary steps.
Think about the “to-be” of your process design. Make sure to document the process exactly as it is currently implemented. Emphasise problem areas that need to be improved. Document the differences in the old and prospective new process. Use a root cause analysis to check for possible potential problems.
It is also important to simplify the process as much as possible. You can also involve all the people in the organisation who may have something to add to the process. Ideas and feedback from employees can add value to the activity. When employees are more involved, they are likely to be more receptive to changes that may be laid out.
In the end, it does not matter whether you prefer a traditional pen and paper approach or a modern approach, for example, using Microsoft Visio or Visio alternatives for process mapping. What’s important is the implementation. Keep in mind that the success of this activity will largely depend on the receptiveness of the group and the consistency of your follow through.