Business process mapping (BPM) defines each business process in simple steps from start to finish. Since its introduction in 1921, process mapping has evolved to become multi-dimensional, assisting organizations to achieve various business goals such as regulatory compliance, process re-engineering, simulation and activity analysis. Moreover, ISO 9001 requires an organization to follow a process approach for business management; process mapping works well to comply with these requirements.
Ideally every process in an organization should be adapted to deliver better results and strength team ownership. To be specific, there are basically three types of business processes that must be mapped for clear understanding and effective communication through the business:
- Management processes-the processes that govern the operation of a system such as "Corporate Governance" and "Strategic Management"
- Operational processes – the processes that determine the core business such as purchasing, manufacturing, marketing and sales
- Supporting processes – the processes that support the core processes; typical support processes include accounting, recruitment and technical support
Why is Business Process Mapping Good for Your Business?
BPM allows every business to structure its components and align its actions to achieve a common organization goal. No matter which department / organization you are from, process mapping can be used for your own purpose and can be customized to fit your business needs. Some of the departments of an organization that can actively use mapping to achieve effective business results, reduce costs and risks are Human Resources, Finance, Legal, Sales & Marketing, IT, Accounts, Quality Assurance, Customer Care, Operations, Manufacturing, Product Development and Research. Each of these departments can use a process mapping software to understand their processes clearly and communicate effectively with managers and teams.
Let us take an example of how an operations department of a medical device manufacturer can use process maps to save costs and gain competitive edge.
You are a VP of Operations for a medical device manufacturer …
Your business critical issue is that it takes twice as long and costs you roughly twice as much to fulfill orders as your competitors. Each of your three sales channels – phone, mail and e-commerce is faced with costly bottlenecks. The average order processing time for all three channels is 6 hours at a cost of $ 250 per order. Customer loyalty and turnaround time have become critical issues as unsatisfied customers begin to take their business elsewhere.
- Assign a team to develop streamlined, profitable processes for all three channels
- Share their model with every stakeholder to win buy-in
- Drive implementation through easy-to-share process maps
Benefits of Business Process Mapping Tools
BPM allows keyholders to identify critical steps of the process right at the start saving you time and increasing efficiency. Here are a few of the benefits of deploying a business process mapping tool in your organization:
- Discover the best processes to drive growth through the organization – Mapping your processes will give you a clear understanding of each step and how they inter-relate. Imagine having the power to make decisions by analyzing and simulating their impact first. Process mapping tools allow you to try "what-if" scenarios so that you get a true bottom line view and select the optimal processes for your organization.
- Get the bigger picture – Flowcharts are designed to allow a greater visibility of the critical company information in form of process flow diagrams and charts. This will assist the key holders to make the right decision at the right time.
- Proper resource allocation – When you know what resources are required to achieve the optimum results at the end of each process, you can allocate sufficient resources at the planning stage, saving you any deficits or over budget situations.
- Build confidence in the project management team – Process mapping gives you a comprehensive picture of every element involved in a process and allows you to account for influencing factors right at the beginning leaving no room for any last minute surprises. You can quickly identify the key concern areas of a project and deal with it proactively.
- Gain buy-in and drive change by sharing results – Effective communication is the key to gaining buy-in for a new project / plan in an organization. Are you trying to persuade your team to adopt a new SOP? Using a process map will make the process change effortless as it will enable everyone to view, understand and support the change process. As you effectively communicate change, you encourage feedback for continuous improvement.
- Ensuring regulatory compliance – ISO 9001 requires every business to follow a systematic approach for a process. Regulatory compliance can be made easy through process maps as it allows you to manage, visualize and analyze the current processes to achieve compliance through the organization.