Process mapping is a term used to describe any activity involved in identifying what a company or department does, who is responsible for doing it, the standards to which it should be applied, and how successes will be measured. This process is used in many types of businesses to help companies streamline production, increase profitability, reduce waste, and much more.
The activities used for process mapping are part of the overall business process management. When done correctly it will take a goal and help compare it to the overall goals of the business to ensure that all the work being done is helping to achieve business goals. In short, everything that does not contribute to the main objectives of a business is considered waste and, therefore, will be eliminated.
Why business process mapping
When people think of process mapping, they often see it as a good way to document processes so everyone knows how things are done. While this is undoubtedly one of the benefits of this strategy, it is not the only one. The following are just a few of the many reasons why process mapping is so popular, and why all companies should strive to implement it in their facilities.
- Training: Process maps can be a key component of new employee training. Maps can be given to them to see how things should be done.
- Troubleshooting: When there are problems in the process, it will be much easier to see exactly where they are occurring. This can help find solutions to problems much more quickly.
- Standardization: Standardization is a great way to eliminate waste and ensure consistency across shifts, across facilities, and anywhere else where there would otherwise be variation.
- Big picture: When you have a good process map in place, everyone can see the big picture. This helps each department, or even individual contributor, to see where they fit into the bigger scheme of things.
- Compliance: In industries with regulations, a process map can be used to ensure everyone is compliant with these regulations at all times. The map itself can even be given to inspectors to show how things are done and compliance with regulations.
- Team involvement: When creating a process map for a company, all employees should contribute by working through the steps they are involved in. This team involvement can help keep people engaged and even identify opportunities for improvement that may exist.
One of the best ways to understand this concept is to look at different examples of process mapping. This can illustrate how different types of companies benefit from the strategy.
Process mapping for manufacturing: The manufacturing industry is one of the most common places where process mapping is used. In the automotive manufacturing industry, there could be tens or even hundreds of different processes that need to be mapped. Looking at just one of the possible maps, it's easy to see how they can be beneficial. For example, a process creates the framework for vehicles. Each vehicle model needs a different frame and therefore a different process.
One step in each process is ordering or purchasing the materials used for the frame. The next is to melt the metals so that they can be shaped into the correct shape. Cooling the steel, testing its strength, cutting out the necessary areas, and laying out the frame so that other pieces can be added are additional steps. In other words, everything that needs to be done in the manufacturing process is one step within the process map.
Process mapping for restaurants: The restaurant industry would follow the same general concept where each activity within the restaurant has its list of steps that need to be taken. This starts with ordering the necessary ingredients, and goes through the actual recipes that need to be followed to make each dish, the plate, and finally, how it will be delivered to the table for customers.
Each restaurant should have its list of process maps to standardize the way things are done. This will help ensure that everyone, no matter what shift they're on, is doing things the same way so they get done efficiently and customers always get the product they expect.
Process mapping for the office: In the banking industry, a process can be carried out to find a new customer and open an account. This can start with advertising to attract new potential customers to a branch. Once they enter, bank workers review the paperwork needed to open the account. Then, any follow-up communication or other work necessary to complete the process is done.
This is also a good example to show how one process map step can lead to another. Once a new savings account is opened, the process map can recommend additional services for clients. Asking them if they would be interested in transferring their retirement accounts, mortgages, or other financial services can be a great way to "sell" customers. Using the process map can recommend the right products based on available customer information.
How are your processes?
Do you need to keep track of them?