|Top 10 Tips for Business Process Mapping|
1) Don’t process map for the sake of process mapping - ensure the project/area/process selected will give an immediate business outcome. Most areas selected for this type of review are causing problems to the business or the business does not well understand what is occurring.
2) Create a process map with people who actually do the job as they will know the process best. Get the right people involved.
3) Map the process steps in sequence at a high level initially. Don’t get caught up in the detail too soon. It can help to use post it notes on a large brown paper/wall/whiteboard as the process steps so that they can be moved into the correct positions.
4) Be clear on the inputs and the outputs of the process early on as this will help to identify the major high level decisions and tasks in the process.
5) Write down the steps undertaken to complete those high level decisions/ tasks in the way the process normally runs. Be the ‘bean’, the ‘order’, the ‘product’ that is moving through the process…what happens to it? where does it go? how is it handled?
6) Concentrate on what actually happens (not what should happen in an ideal world or as the business manual says). What is actually happening in your business may not be what your business management manual says! If necessary GO TO GEMBA - go and watch, observe the process at each stage and record what occurs.
7) List ALL of the steps that occur with each task and make sure you include waiting time, errors, exceptions to the norm, moving things from one place to another etc… These variations can be the key to making savings later on and identifying improvements.
8) Complete the process map formally - link all of the inputs and outputs together and record all the steps, time taken, people involved - and make it BIG! There is great power, communication and understanding by visually showing teams WHATS SO!
9) Critically analyse the process AS IS. Identify non value added activities, disconnects, activities that do not yield useful outputs or appear to be done for the sake it, calculate how long steps take - cycle times, lead times and waiting, can you see where there are bottlenecks or delays. Clearly identify these measures on the process map.
10) Work on identifying solutions - some will be quick to implement and produce immediate results (QUICK WINS) while others will require further analysis and work (IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS) - and then prioritize and follow through.
…….once you’ve made improvements to a process DON’T STOP! Pick another process to address or even go back, map the same process again and make it even better. That’s what continuous improvement is all about!