If you’re considering beginning process mapping or improvement, you’ve probably got some questions. We’ve gathered together 10 of the most frequently asked questions – and provided the answers.
1. What will process mapping help me to do; why should I bother?
Process mapping forms the foundation of all business transformation projects, whether large or small. Sometimes it’s tempting to skip the planning and preparation, and simply get on with the job. But if you don’t know where you’re starting from, your improvement is highly likely to fail.
The main objective is to improve operational efficiency and effectiveness. Process management helps you to identify challenges and opportunities. And to prepare the way for creating an improvement plan.
2. Does every department have to map its processes?
No, not at all. You can use it for one team or for an entire company-wide transformation, whatever you need. Simply start with the most business-critical areas. However, the more widely you map processes, the greater the benefits you’ll see as efficiency improves across the board.
Example of process overview showing activities modelled and opportunities to improve
3. What’s the difference between process mapping, mining and modelling?
They’re all part of process discovery. Process mapping is a task to define what your business does, who does it and how to measure its success. It produces a flowchart or diagram of the process. Mining is a way of extracting data to give an accurate picture of how your systems are performing.
Modelling is similar to mining but is future-focused; it builds a picture of how the business should work. This may be subjective as it doesn’t rely on data.
4. How much money will I save by mapping my processes?
Unfortunately it’s impossible to give a precise figure or a percentage. However, many efficiencies are natural by-products of process improvement. You’re likely to achieve benefits in areas like reducing wastage, saving time or cutting costs.
5. What type of process map do I need?
There are a wide range of process map styles and they’re each suited to representing different types of process.
For example, basic flowcharts are good for sequential processes, as they show how something is done from start to finish. Swimlane maps divide activities into lanes to show who’s responsible for each task. By highlighting different roles, they can help in training team members on a process. Value-stream maps can be complex, but are useful in identifying the flow of materials or information from supplier to customer.
6. What’s master data and how do I manage it efficiently?
Master data describes the components that make a business work, such as buyers, products, employees or office locations.
Holding the data in a centralised platform makes it easier to maintain and integrate into different processes. And ensures you can review those reports which access master data and understand how it relates to each process model.
7. How do I measure successful process implementation?
You should have defined the problem at the start of your improvement project. For example, you might be trying to tackle a process’s duration, use of resources, or compliance levels.
Use scenario modelling and simulations to assess whether your proposed changes will produce the results you need. And create a target operating model – representing the ideal future business state – to help set and maintain the business direction.
8. Do I need to invest in software? Is it expensive?
Of course, you could map your processes manually using sticky notes or a spreadsheet. But these methods are hard to monitor and prone to problems like inputting errors or poor version control.
Business process transformation platforms involve an initial expense. However, their flexibility and functionality ultimately deliver great value. When you’re considering a platform, here are three key questions to ask:
- Does it help you achieve continuous improvement?
- Does it facilitate data sharing and co-operation?
- Does it integrate easily with your other software?
Read more about how to choose a process transformation system here, including two other must-have features.
9. How do I encourage my team to engage with the new process?
Transformation dashboards show an overview of your project, grouped by business area, priority and progress. They’re invaluable tools to manage communication. You can also produce documentation and work instructions to support staff training and encourage engagement.
10. Where do I start?
BusinessOptix has extensive functionality, from the process capabilities outlined above to development of a full digital twin. You can use as much or as little as you like, to cater for your unique needs. To discover how your business will benefit from BusinessOptix, ask us for a demo.