Process Mapping: Techniques and Benefits

Raghunath. T, Director

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    Organizations often experience project failures in spite of having the best team and resources. There might be numerous reasons for an organization not achieving the intended result, and a major one that is often overlooked is process capture. Processes can be captured effectively by mapping them in all their detail.

    What is Process Mapping?

    Process mapping is the visual representation of the steps involved in a business process, from the beginning till the end. The purpose is to successfully enable the transformation of inputs into outputs. Process maps are often accompanied by more detailed process documents, which spell out the process flows in even greater depth.

    In a large organization, where multiple projects are handled on a day-to-day basis, missing out on certain important elements, messing up the order of procedures, and forgetting the deadlines are not new things. By the time, you identify the gaps and try to rectify those; it would have been very late. When you have a clear representation of the steps and people involved in a process, along with the input, output, and dates, things become easier.

    What are the Benefits of Process Mapping?

    Better clarity of the process

    Visualizing the process helps in setting expectations and eradicating ambiguity. People know what their responsibility is and how to move forward at each phase. It is important to get all the teammates on the same page while working on a project and process mapping ensures that.

    Improves the functioning of your business

    The ultimate objective of process mapping is to add value to the organization. One must be able to figure out the opportunities of improvement and work on them. Process mapping provides you will all the required information and insights to improve your organizational processes effectively.

    Identifying and mitigating risk

    Process mapping aids in the identification of risks and educate employees about the risks areas and the actions that have been taken to mitigate them.

    Helps with compliance

    Process mapping promotes transparency not only for employees within an organization but for the people involved in compliance procedures as well. The compliance procedure becomes much easier when you have a process map that shows your processes are compliant. It can transform the otherwise daunting task of compliances to a cakewalk.

    If required, you can also redesign the process map to include the new compliance requirements.

    Defines future business process

    Process mapping is not restricted to the current functioning of businesses; it helps in designing the future as well. It lays the groundwork for future improvements. Once you identify the problems and propose solutions, the process can be altered to match your future objectives.

    Removes unwanted steps

    When you have every minute detail regarding a process before you, it is easy to trim down unwanted steps that do not add any value to the organization. You can take the help of your team, brainstorm, and eliminate repetitive and time-consuming tasks. 

    Training new employees

    Apart from the benefits listed above, a visual representation of tasks will ease the process of training new employees. You do not have to allot hours from your busy schedule for training purposes; all you have to do is provide them with the map.

    Process Mapping Techniques

    There are numerous methods to carry out process mapping; it can be done via;

    1. Individual staff or small group interviews
    2. Discovery workshops
    3. Examination of existing documentation
    4. Business analysis design
    • Individual staff or small group interviews:- This technique is carried out by asking direct questions to a small group of employees who perform the process. Their activities and tasks are captured, improved where necessary, and then translated into process maps and documents.
    • Discovery workshops:- When you need inputs from a larger audience, the best option would be to arrange a workshop. A facilitator will lead the workshop, but it will be the employees who will have to define the process and make the workshop a successful one.
    • Examination of existing documentation:- If the purpose of process mapping is to reduce the burden of documentation or to review the current management system, then the process can be developed from the existing documentation. You don’t have to waste your time developing content from scratch.
    • Business Analysis Design:- When the process doesn’t exist yet, this method can be used. The content for process can be taken from direct knowledge of the process or from diverse information sources.

    These are just some of the significant process mapping techniques, and these techniques are often used in conjunction with one another and not in isolation. There are also many more such techniques including direct work observation and import of existing processes.

    Process mapping helps in identifying bottlenecks, repetition and delays and unmasks the opportunities that lie beneath. Ensure you approach the right team who can help in sorting out process complexities. At HLB HAMT, our team has worked with clients across several sectors in the area of process mapping. They include Manufacturing, Education, Trading, Project Sales, Food & Beverage, Pharma, Real Estate and Retail among others. The team uses techniques adapted from advanced models like the Process Classification Framework (PCF) from the American Productivity & Quality Council (APQC) among others.

     

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