Businesses today concentrate on sustainable improvement. Sadly, many of them still have inefficient processes. Process mapping is a powerful business process management technique and strategic tool designed to allow a business or organization to coordinate the efforts of multiple teams and departments. It is a graphical representation of the framework of a work process showcased in a crisp, concise, and step-by-step manner. It can be used to create an efficient workflow, analyze the work being done, and provide better customer service.
Benefits of a process map
- With a clear diagrammatic representation, the work process is standardized, and everyone involved will have the same vision and can perform as a single entity.
- It improves team performance and thereby cuts down development costs while increasing employee and employer satisfaction.
- With a process map, roles, responsibilities, and standards are set. Employees work on the same page, thereby improving the entire methodology.
- It is diagrammed to communicate in a manner that results in a shared understanding of the process. There are no ambiguities regarding the different aspects of the process.
- Business process mapping documents processes. When used in onboarding training, it will help recruits to become fully productive employees much quicker.
High-level process map
A high-level process map, or level 1 map, is one of the more straightforward business process maps that shows just how a specific process works in only a few steps. It is aimed to give a quick and easy glimpse of what the process does. It avoids delving into the details of how it is done. It is useful when communicating with the company’s leadership and stakeholders who need not concern themselves with the intricacies of the process.
A deep understanding of the workflow isn’t required when creating a high-level process map. This high-level process map can be used, for example, to outline administrative as well as customer processes.
The principles of high-level process mapping
- Before deep-diving into creating a high-level process map, it is necessary to identify who will benefit from it, and how it will help the overall business.
- We recommend to start with the cartography of your company: design its Porter’s Value Chain. Here is an example:
The Value Chain will help you differentiate between primary and core activities (purpose of the company, which brings value to its customers) from the activities of support (transparent to the client).
- Based on your Company’s Value Chain, start from the macro-processes (procurement, operations, service) and go down in detail, representing the main processes that make them up. This method will allow you to select the level-one processes to be mapped.
- Define the intent of these processes.
- For each process, remember to define the main steps involved clearly.
- Obtain feedback from the management and everyone in your organization involved in the process.
- Work backward, from output to input.
Select mapping techniques
In our opinion, the best mapping technique for a high-level process mapping is SIPOC – supplier, input, process, output, customer. It is a process map that documents a process from its beginning to the end, in only four to six key steps. SIPOCs do not contain much detail and are usually one-page documents. They are a great starting point for documenting a process!
How to develop a SIPOC diagram
- Create a process map. You may use a wall space or a whiteboard at this point. Cards can be employed before finalizing the map.
The process can have anywhere between four and six key steps. Include information about the transformation of the product or about the main steps of the service.
- Define where the process begins and where it ends and the different steps involved in between these points. For a high-level process map, keep the details minimal.
- List the outputs and ascertain the final result, product, or service of the process. Note them in the “Output” column.
- Identify the internal and external customers of the final result (output) – who the users of the resulting outcome are. List them in the “Customers” column.
- List the inputs of the process. These represent the raw materials or information required by the first step of the process to perform its function. Note them in the “Inputs” column.
- Identify the key suppliers that provide those inputs and write them in the “Suppliers” column.
- Identify the requirements of the customer – this is an optional step.
- Get the process owner, team leaders, and all the stakeholders to verify the diagram.
Your company’s high-level process map will make it possible to fine-tune the analysis of your operations and to locate key processes. Another interest will be to help understand the interactions between these key processes and to identify the main inputs and outputs. Finally, it is a powerful internal and external communication tool to describe the organization implemented to operate your activities and meet your customers’ needs.