What is Process Mapping? How can it help my business?

What is Process Mapping?

A process map is a visual display of the flow of work and is used in planning and management.

Ultimately it shows a series of events that produces an end result, whether that be a product or a service.

Process mapping is also known under a wide range of other terms, such flowchart, process charts, process models and workflow diagrams for example.

A process map details what is involved in a process and the people involved in it during the different stages from start to end.

What the purpose of process mapping for a business?

There are a variety of purposes of a process map, including:

  • Improve efficiency by highlighting weaknesses in a process and aiding improvement
  • Helps highlight bottlenecks, delays, repetition and poor processes
  • Helps with management of staff involved in the process, as it clarifies who is responsible for each part of the process
  • Allows creation of process metrics to define boundaries and results

Why use a process chart? And what are the benefits?

Most businesses use process charts to allow them to get a better understanding of a process.

A process can involve many different departments, staff and skill levels, and having a clearly defined process chart allows the business to understand the demands on each department, and find and improve the weak elements within it.

By making improvements to workflow, this can have a large impact on a business including:

  • Increased efficiency of processes by streamlining workflow
  • Team members are more engaged
  • All staff members involved in the workflow as well as management have a better understanding of the job, the people involved and the output
  • Increased profits due to the reduction in time and product waste
  • It allows a business to select "the right people for the job"
  • A visual display is often far easier to interpret than a complicated written document
  • Good process mapping allows easier future project planning
  • Creation of good process maps is often quick and cost effective if created by people with process mapping experience
  • It helps in the creation of real time data as well as measurable results

The connection between process mapping and a QMS (Quality Management System) such as ISO 9001

A QMS (or Quality Management System) such as ISO 9001 are used to document processes, procedures and responsibilities within a business.

Process mapping is an invaluable part in helping create the visual display of processes and is a great tool in helping to comply with ISO 9001, as it simplifies complicated documentation whilst giving a great overview of processes from start to finish.

What is involved in process map creation?

Process mapping covers six key areas:

  1. Identify the process you want to map. This element of the mapping process is the simplest. It's the identification of the process and defining the process.
  2. Review the current process and create a basic outline. At this stage, the absolute process is not the goal. But it's about outlining the process, working out the people and processes involved within and then deciding on the complexity of the map.
  3. Understanding the goal of the process, and where it starts. With any process map, it's about creating the entire workflow from start to finish. Understanding the net result at the end of the process is essential, as is where the chain starts.
  4. Once you understand the goal fully, now document it. At this stage, it's more about creating a set of steps the process follows, rather than actually creating the process in visual format. Bullet points help here, and just a "step by step" simple overview is sufficient.
  5. Draw the process. Using standard flowchart symbols, then create the process using points 1 to 4 above. There are many packages out on the market to help with process mapping if you do not want to do this manually.
  6. Agree and complete the process map. By getting every member who is part of the process involved in the planning and creation of the map, it helps engage every member of staff and helps them understand the entire process, rather than just their part of it. It empowers staff to allow them see the "bigger picture". It also allows them to see potential weakness and help improve process flow.

To find out more how PCH Quality System Solutions can help your business with process mapping and the benefits it can bring to your business, why  not contact us today by calling 07941 359 054 or sending us a message via our contact us page.