Process Mapping What Is It Really Good For?

Process mapping is a process that establishes the overall status of a business enterprise and defines what it does, the people responsible for running the business and the standard required to ensure the success of its operations. Clear-cut knowledge of these matters will enable managers to get a clearer picture of what the company is, where it stands and what it requires to become successful. All these are better seen and evaluated in a unified illustration referred to as the process map.

The majority of companies eyeing ISO 9001 status resort to hiring the services of a business process improvement consultant, to assist in coming up with business processing maps. Such a consultant may also be requested to help implement the new business processes efficiently and correctly.

Simply put, process mapping (some companies make use of flow charts) is an illustration of the different actions that a company has to do to accomplish a certain goal. Companies who want to maximize their productivity or who are experiencing production and output related problems can use process mapping to improve their processes.

The growth of the process mapping method is shown in the following timeline:

  • Frank Gilbreth introduced the flow process chart in 1921. Industrial engineering schools started to use this tool in their curriculum.
  • Businessmen got their first taste of the use of flow charts at a conference (geared towards work simplification) spearheaded by Allan H. Mogensen.
  • The process mapping tool was introduced to Proctor and Gamble by Art Spinanger, who himself learned from Mogensen.
  • Process mapping was also adapted by Ben Graham who was then working at Standard Register Corporation as Formcraft Engineering director.

Through the use of a map or a flowchart, decision makers and other employees are able to visualize and understand the whole company process and what is required to improve those processes. Among the process mapping tools commonly used by companies that want to move up the productivity ladder are:

  • International Standard Organization Criteria
  • Baldrige Criteria for Excellence
  • Balanced Score Card
  • Deming’s Total Quality Management Model

Process mapping requires a company to identify its process as well as its strengths and weaknesses. This will enable the company to identify the practices and the necessary changes that should be implemented to improve the overall performance of the employees and the company in general.

Through a diagram or a process map, the company is able to identify which is causing delay in the whole operations, which sector is doing its part and which processes requires overhauling to improve the whole company process. It is an important tool to ensure quality control and upbeat performance.

It is best that the process map be designed (under the supervision of a process mapping consultant) by the employees themselves since they are the front liners and have personal experiences that can help the improvement process. They are the ones who can really tell whether a certain process is working for them or not and they can also suggest ways to improve on the processes being used.