Process mapping is a real picture of the current state of a process so that you can understand it completely and use this understanding to consider ways to improve it. In this article we are going to cover the process mapping steps you have to follow to create a good process mapping.
In this context, we can define 11 process mapping steps, in step by step sequence, so that this activity is performed carefully and accurately to gain the best results. There is no step by step mapping of processes without following a logical order of steps.
Process mapping steps
First step: Determine your goals
Within an entire enterprise value chain, each process has a specific goal, to be considered in all of the activities of the organization, contributing to the achievement of their ultimate goals.
At this point, we need to understand the role of this process in question within the limits of their activity: what is its reason to exist?
It’s one of the most important process mapping steps to follow! Read more about strategic planning.
Second step: Identifying what are the outputs of the process
Outputs are deliveries occurring at the end of each process. They will add value throughout the production chain to culminate in the final product or service of the company.
Many are confused as they see the outputs as something physical and tangible, like a part or a product. In fact, the outputs can be of various kinds, such as graphics, data, decision-making, approvals and many others.
Just as the processes deliver outputs, they also receive inputs, as we shall see.
Third step: Identify the customer’s process
Again, forget the commercial concept of a customer, the person who buys a service or a product. In the case of processes, customers are individuals or teams receiving the outputs of the process.
In this context, note a differentiation:
- External customers: those who are not part of the company.
- Internal clients: those that are embedded in the organization.
Although the definition of “Internal clients” is not a consensus in the BPM community (according to CBOK there is only “external customers”), this term is useful to understand the relationship among functional areas during the execution of a process.
Fourth step: Identifying the process inputs
Inputs are all the elements that are modified during the process to add value to the production chain. They may be either physical or in other forms such as information and data, for example.
Step Five: Identifying the components of the process
All resources used during the process and that assist in the transformation of inputs into outputs are called process components and can be materials, energy, machinery, human resources, methodologies, technologies and many others.
Step Six: Identifying the process suppliers
If there are entries, there is someone responsible for forwarding them to the beginning of the process. So, they can start to transform them into outputs. As with customers, there are two types of suppliers:
- Internal Suppliers: people or groups within the company that delivers the inputs or components of a process.
- External suppliers: companies or individuals that supply the organization with inputs, services, and raw materials.
Step Seven: Understanding the limits of the process
Limits are the extreme points of a process when you start and when they end. The receipt of entries characterizes the beginning of the process, and its termination happens with the delivery of outputs.
Note that the persons involved in the process only now have control over it to receive inputs and, similarly, no longer have control at the time the outputs are made.
Step Eight: Documentation of the current process
One of the ways commonly used to document processes is by using a flowchart. It is crucial that all of the information gathered to date is recorded and analyzed by all involved, which must be by what is determined by the working group.
Step Nine: Identifying improvements that the process needs
It’s time to see what is working and what is not functioning in the process. Anomalies, delays, and bottlenecks should be singled out. Just as critical activities and those that add more value should be identified.
Finally, one should pay close attention to the activities which come into direct contact with the end customer and ensure that they have the best possible experience.
Then you need to look for solutions to problems.
Step Ten: Choose the improvements to be applied to the process
Tools for process improvement like PDCA, 5W2H, the Ishikawa diagram and the GUT matrix should be applied in the search for solutions that address the root causes of the problems.
After agreeing on the improvements to be applied in the process, they should be revised. And later, when applied, you need to monitor their implementation to ensure their success.
To deepen the subject:
Eleventh Step: Documenting the improved process
Again, documentation is crucial for any improvements to be standardized and escalated in the future. You can use the flow chart and other more appropriate tools for this process documentation, to achieve the best possible result.
As you might notice, the right tools can also help the process mapping steps, like a business process mapping software. Some have features that provide improved information and flow, transparency, indicators of real-time monitoring and management reports for easy viewing and interpretation.