Cost Management
Costs and Expenses Reduction

Process mapping: learn how to do it to achieve better results

Process mapping is a set of actions aimed at identifying and surveying all steps of a procedure or task used in the organization. To this end, a diagrammed relationship is made, which reveals opportunities for improvements and potential imbalances in execution and planning.

Paying due attention to this exercise is essential to manage processes more efficiently. After all, what is not monitored and administered cannot be measured. In addition, by using these steps, it is possible to identify problematic sectors and activities.

Below, understand how to make a process mapping that is aligned with your company’s particularities. Keep reading.

Learn the types of process mapping

First of all, you need to know the types of mapping so that you can identify the one that best fits your management and that is in accordance with the organization’s processes. There are basically four types:

  • activity map – surveys all steps and processes of all activities that generate value for the organization;
  • detailed map – details of documents that identify and represent all inputs and outputs of a process;
  • workflow diagram – simple presentation of all tasks carried out in the company;
  • value-added chain diagram – use of symbols to connect activities, so that there is understanding and correlation between them.

Diagrams and flowcharts are tools that list all phases and steps of a task in a simple way, with an intuitive, functional layout that is easy to view and understand for anyone on the team. The types of mapping, on the other hand, are more detailed and sometimes more complex.

Define the processes to be mapped

Several and different activities can be mapped, from the simplest, such as customer service, to the most complex, such as contract analyses and financial issues of the organization.

The first step will be to define which activity, or activities, will go through the process mapping. Usually, managers prefer to start with the simplest ones that involve fewer steps and people.

Because they have few interactions, relevant information and bottlenecks may not be found, but it is a way to start this culture and survey in the company. However, you will see the need to move to complex, larger procedures that deal with a large volume of data to analyze, teams and phases.

To help you define what will be mapped at first, keep in mind some questions. For example:

  • What do you want to discover by doing the mapping?
  • What problem do you want to solve?
  • Which sectors do you need to map and solve problems?
  • Who will be involved?

Activities that involve the management and the strategies of a business are commonly worked, since these are processes that are part of the decisions and performance of the entire organization. In addition, procedures that are part of consumer satisfaction and bureaucratic issues are also surveyed.

Brainstorm activities

Once the activity for your process mapping is decided, it is time to sketch your diagram or flowchart – or brainstorm. Some models choose to do interviews with the people involved in each phase.

Thus, just fill in the blanks with the information provided by the team or person responsible. At this point, it is common to start identifying bottlenecks, imbalances and flaws in the processes.

Use the right tools

To make the process mapping easier, organizations usually use tools and methods. The most common is SIPOC, or Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs and Customers.

At the Suppliers step, you should establish a relationship with the partners involved in the activity evaluated. Here, it is important to consider this information because the materials and inputs used in the process can interfere with the results.

In Inputs, a specification is made of what exactly is provided to make this activity possible. In the Process field, a map is made detailing how the process is carried out, from the use and analysis of documents, use of manuals, etc. To this end, flowcharts can be very simple and easy to complete.

The Outputs, on the other hand, indicate the results of the procedure, that is, what exactly that activity does or produces and how it impacts the company’s results. Finally, Customers should be filled in with information about who are the people receiving the outputs from the mapped process.

In a bank, for example, the mapped process can be a contract or credit analysis. Thus, the outputs are for that customer who is looking for loans, financing and other products made available by the institution.

Eliminate unnecessary tasks

During your mapping, you will certainly find that some phases of some processes are totally unnecessary and often consume human and financial resources unnecessarily.

Typically, these are tasks that can be eliminated or completely automated by management and integration systems. This reduces not only the execution time, but also the cost of the process.

Determine the role of each process

In order to have an efficient process mapping, it is important to define the functions, attributions and roles of each activity analyzed. That way, you will be able to identify procedures that need updates and improvements, as well as those that can be eliminated and revised.

Draw up your map

To help the visualization, understanding and relationship between the steps of the evaluated process, use symbols and different colors to draw up your map. That way, you will be able to build an intuitive flowchart that is quickly understood and reveals important information.

To this end, arrows that indicate correlation between phases or suppliers, rectangles, diamonds, oval shapes and lines can be used. Ideally, anyone, and not just you, should understand the procedures of the mapped activity.

In addition, care should be taken to not do some actions that may jeopardize your process mapping, such as stepping out of your initial focus and include steps that are not consistent with the activity in question, and excessively detailing the steps of a process in a way that only you understand.

Process mapping is a tool that allows increasing a team’s productivity while improving steps and processes that have failed and are not presenting satisfactory results.

In addition to mapping, your processes should be standardized to ensure the level of quality and the expenses in an activity. Therefore, take this opportunity to also check out how to standardize your processes.