Definition: Process Mapping, or otherwise called as process flowchart, is a tool of management, that diagrammatically represents the workflow of a process or a number of parallel processes, so as to make a clear understanding of how a process works and help the entity in becoming more effective, by identifying improvement opportunities.
Process mapping uses a flowchart to demonstrate the structural analysis of process flow, which differentiates how work is performed actually and how work should be performed.
Symbols used in Process Mapping
- Start & End: To start the process, an oval is drawn to indicate the material, information or action. Further, it can also be used to display the outcome at the end of the process.
- Activity: To indicate a task or activity carried out in the process, we use a box or rectangle. There is only one arrow which leaves the box.
- Decision: Whenever there is a decision is to be taken or a yes/no question is being asked, a diamond is drawn. It must be noted that every feedback loop is closed, to ensure that every path takes you either back to or ahead to the next step in the process.
- Break: To indicate a break in the process, a circle with a letter or number is used, which is then continued elsewhere on another page.
- Arrows: Arrows are used to indicate the direction or the flow of the process.
Process Mapping helps to describe and understand the work that is being carried out in an organization. Further, it also analyses the processes to find out the areas of complexity and generating ideas for improvement and re-work.
Construction of Process Map
- Determination of Boundaries: First of all, the start and end of the process are to be determined.
- Listing Steps: The next step to this process is to list out the steps which are to be followed. The flowchart displays enough information to understand the process completely as well as it also describes all the finite actions and decision points.
- Sequencing Steps: To sequence the steps in chronological order you can use sticky notes to move the tasks. Arrows are to be drawn at the end.
- Drawing appropriate symbols: Proper symbols (as discussed above) are to be used to create the process flow.
- System model: System model approach is applied to draw a flowchart, wherein:
- Input: Utilizes the information depending upon people, machine, method, material, etc.
- Process: Subsets of processes are used in series or parallel.
- Output: Use the desired result or outcomes.
- Control: Business rules and policies are used to put control of the process.
- Feedback: Surveys are to be performed to get the feedback.
- Check for completeness: Process-specific relevant information is to be included, along with the title and date for reference.
- Finalize the flowchart: To finalize the process, the management should first analyse whether the process is being operated in the manner it should be. Further, they need to identify if there is the consensus of the members for the process, as well as if there is any redundant or missing activity.
The primary objective of process mapping is to use a flow diagram to clearly describe the process, that the entity is using currently, as well as what are the expectations of the customers from the company, what should be done for increasing customer focus and satisfaction.
Further, it will ascertain the best industry practices which are to be integrated, so as to identify the benchmarks to assess the success.