How to Create a Business Process Map for Better Visualisation and Understanding

A map showing you a visual representation of a business process.
5 Min Read
How to Create a Business Process Map for Better Visualisation and Understanding

Process map can be a game changer for any business but must be well-designed and functional.By creating visualisations of each step of a business process, it helps clarify the workflow and improve communication and understanding among team members.

A clear and concise process map can also identify inefficiencies and opportunities for streamlining, leading to increased productivity, better customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, higher profits.

Whether you’re a small start-up or a large corporation, creating a business process map is a crucial step in achieving organizational excellence.

Let’s get started by explaining what a business process is and how you can turn those into a process map which offers you a how to guide on how something should be carried out.

What is a business process?

A business process is a set of repeatable steps that are followed to achieve a specific goal. Think of it as checklist of steps that need to be performed and ticked off to acknowledge it has been completed.

Every business is made of numerous business processes to enable it to run efficiently and effectively.

A business process defines the best way a task should be performed to help ensure that each task is completed in a consistent and efficient manner.

Business processes can range from simple and straightforward, such as a customer order fulfilment process, to complex and multi-faceted, such as a company’s entire supply chain management system.

What is a business process map?

A business process map is a visual representation of a business process. A map showing you and guiding you on the way to get to your end goal without getting lost along the way. Think of it as a business blueprint.

A process map documents the steps involved, the people involved, and the overall workflow process. Think of it as a “how-to guide” that communicates how tasks and processes are performed in an optimal way. Mapping business processes makes it easier to understand, manage, identify bottlenecks and fail points and thus improving the process.

A business process map typically includes the following elements:

  • Process Tasks: A process is made up of a number of smaller tasks. Break down your process into smaller tasks or activities that make up the process, depicted in sequential order if required. Some processes do not require to be performed in a set order but necessary steps must not be missed.
  • People: Clearly identify the team members and departments who are responsible for performing each task in the process.
  • Inputs and outputs: Document the required inputs, such as data or materials, that are required for each step, and the expected outputs, such as products or services, that result from each step.
  • Decision Points and Branches: The points in the process where a decision must be made, such as whether to continue to the next step or take a different path.
  • Workflow Direction: Show the direction of the flow of work from one step to the next identifying the specific end goals being achieved along the way.

A business process map can be as simple or as complex as necessary, depending on the size and complexity of each business process being mapped. The main goal is to create a process map that accurately represents how the process works and provides a clear and concise picture of how work is performed to get the very best results.

By creating a business process map, organizations can gain a better understanding of their processes, identify inefficiencies, and improve communication and collaboration among team members. It is a valuable tool for process improvement and can help businesses, as they say, work smarter, not harder.

History of Business Process Mapping

The origin of process mapping or sometimes referred to as process charting, flow process chart, flow charting, and process flow to name but a few is not well-documented. However, it is widely believed that process mapping as a formal methodology was first developed in the manufacturing industry during the 1920s and 1930s. Believed to originate from Frank Gilbreth one of the earliest advocates of scientific management process.

Process mapping was initially developed as a tool to help improve efficiency and productivity in manufacturing operations. The goal was to better understand the flow of work and identify areas for improvement. By creating a visual representation of the process, manufacturers could see the entire process, from start to finish, and identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement.

Process mapping has since evolved and has become a much more widely-used tool across many industries, including healthcare, finance, and government. While the specific benefits may vary depending on the industry and organization, the underlying principles of process mapping remain the same: to provide a better understanding of workflows, identify areas for improvement, drive continuous improvement and increased efficiency and effectiveness.

Getting started creating a business process map

Creating a business process map for your business can seem a little daunting, but by following these simple steps, you can start creating and documenting your business processes and hopefully help it be a smooth and successful process:

Creating a Business Process Map Checklist

Define Process

Understand the boundaries of the process you want to map. What are the start and end points of the process? What tasks are included, and what tasks are outside the scope of the process and potentially need their own process? Identify any problems.

Process Information

Collect as much information as possible about the process, such as the inputs, outputs, and tasks involved. This can be done in a number of ways:
Interviews – Ask key members of the team and people involved with the process on a daily basis for input. These people can also hold virtual information that can be used to improve the process.
Observation – Watch the process in action. This is a key element and is used as a way to improve processes in many methodologies—for example, six sigma, lean and Gemba to name a few.
Review – Review any already existing documentation.

Process Personnel

Who is involved in the process? What teams or departments are involved? Who makes decisions, and who carries out the tasks? Make a list of all the people and their roles and responsibilities within the process.

Process Flow

Using the information you have gathered, create a flowchart of the process, including the inputs, outputs, and tasks involved. Identify and include any decision and branching paths in the process. This is where there are two, three etc, possibilities in the direction the process can take.

Review Process Map

Review the process map with key everyone involved with the process and make any necessary revisions. Ensure the map accurately represents the whole process and that all people involved understand their roles and responsibilities in the process’s success.

Implement and Monitor

Once the process map is complete, it is essential not just to leave but to continuously monitor, analyse and improve the process. Implement changes and monitor the process to ensure that it is running smoothly. Don’t forget to update any adjustments to the map as the process evolves.

A business process map can be as simple or as complex as you need them to be, depending on the size and complexity of the process being mapped. The goal is to create a map that accurately represents the process and provides a clear and concise picture of how work is performed.

By creating a business process map you will gain a greater understanding of business processes, identify inefficiencies, and improve communication and collaboration among team members.

By following these steps, you can create a clear and effective business process map that will help you optimise your business processes and drive better to improve results.

Benefits of Process Mapping

The purpose of process mapping is to clearly define and understand how work is performed, who is responsible for each task, and the inputs and outputs of each step. This information can then be used to identify areas for improvement, automate manual tasks, and optimize the flow of work.

There are several benefits to creating business process maps for your business, including:

  • Standardise Processes: Ensure consistent results by standardising your processes, you can ensure that all team members are following the same procedures.
  • Knowledge Transfer: Documenting processes captures knowledge and make it available to everyone within the business. New employees or absences acting as a training document
  • Establishing Best Practice: A single source of truth, is how to perform a task and process as it gets the best results for the business.
  • Communication: Documenting and standardising processes, you can improve communication among team members and reduce misunderstandings about who is responsible for each task.
  • Collaboration: By involving key stakeholders in the process mapping process, you can foster a culture of collaboration and ensure that all perspectives are taken into account.
  • Automation: Analyse how a process could be improved and possibly automated. Process automation
  • Accountability: Team members know their roles within the process and assume responsibility.
  • Increased Efficiency: Analysing the workflow and identifying areas for improvement, you can streamline processes, eliminate redundancies, and automate manual tasks, leading to increased efficiency.
  • Problem Solving and Decision making: Identify problems and possible solutions. Enabling visualisation from the process map helps decision-making and identifying solutions.
    With a clear understanding of each step in a process, you can make informed decisions about where to allocate resources, how to prioritize tasks, and where to focus your improvement efforts.
  • Compliance: Mapping processes documents the way you are meeting all necessary requirements and strictly adhering to regulations. Ensuring compliance with any relevant regulations or standards.
  • Save Time: Optimising business processes and continuously improving will save time.
  • Reduce Errors: Errors, cost time and resources.
  • Customer satisfaction: Streamlining processes and improving efficiency, you can reduce wait times and improve the overall customer experience, leading to increased customer satisfaction.

In conclusion, by taking the time to map out your processes, you can gain a deeper understanding of how your business works. By visualising and standardising your workflows, you can gain a deeper understanding of your processes, identify areas for improvement, and drive increased efficiency and effectiveness.

Checkify Process Management

Whether you are looking to streamline operations, improve customer satisfaction, or stay ahead of the competition, a well-designed and executed business process map can help you achieve your goals. By taking the time to map out your processes, you can gain a clear picture of your workflows and make informed decisions about where to allocate resources, how to prioritise tasks, and where to focus your improvement efforts.

Checkify offers the ability to document your processes and manage them along with your daily tasks and workflow.

So, if you are ready to take your business to the next level, start creating your business process map and start managing your business processes today. The benefits will be immediate, and the impact on your business will be huge. Using the power of business processes, the sky is the limit!

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