Business Process Mapping is an activity that details and analyses how work (and other inter-related tasks) are performed to achieve a business value. It is a structured way of identifying and analysing how work flows into and out of the system in various forms, and various people.
All businesses are for the purpose of achieving value. Businesses provide resources as inputs and design processes to convert these resources into values that are required by customers. Multiple processes are performed together to create value. ISO 9001 and many other Quality Management Systems insist in using process approach for managing business.
The main outcome of a process mapping is creating a process flow. Many of us will be aware of Flow charting techniques. But flowcharting is not the only outcome of a Business Process Mapping.
How is a Process Mapping done?
Process Mapping involves the below key steps:
- Identifying relevant Processes: The first step in Process mapping is to identify on a broad level, the various processes involved in value creation. At this stage, you should also identify the customer requirements, understanding the major steps involved and interrelationship among various processes.
- Gathering firsthand Information: After the macro level information is received, you should collect details about the process. The business analyst should obtain details like inputs required, process owner, what metrics are used to review process review, risks involved in various steps, controls designed.
- Mapping AS-IS Process: Next the analyst should interview the team members who perform the operations to understand the details of the process, flow of work into the process, various steps, decision making criteria, approvals required, exceptions and other minute details. After collecting all the details, the analyst should create a process flow using standard flow charting notations. The AS-IS process flow should be a typical pictorial representation of all the details of the process.
- Analyzing for Improvement Opportunities: After the AS-IS process map is created, the analyst should analyze if there are opportunities for modifying, simplifying and improving the existing processes. After identifying suitable change, a new TO-BE process map should be drawn with the proposed changes.
In a broad scale, it resembles the activities in a PDCA cycle.
There are various applications and software available in market to assist us in Process Mapping. These applications also have advanced features like Process Simulation, Scenario analysis, Value Stream Mapping etc.
Applications of Process Mapping
Process Mapping can be done for several purposes and it has multiple uses. Some of them are described below:
- To have a clear understanding of the process, and create a clarity in Process Management
- To train the new team members and use it for training purposes
- To documents the existing process in Process Manuals
- To analyze and identify opportunities for Quality Improvement, defect reduction, Waste reduction, reduce complexity, LEAN process and Process streamlining.
- To standardize processes implemented at different locations
- To model and design IT applications and identify opportunities for Automation’
- To integrate business processes in case of Mergers & Acquisitions
- To assess the maturity level of operations against a set organizational or industrial standard
Thus Process Mapping exercise proves to be a very useful and essential tool in various facets of management.