"Factories manufacture Products, Business Processes produce Services"

What is Lean Process Mapping?

Business process mapping, as a Lean Tool, refers to activities involved in defining what a business entity does, who is responsible, to what standard a business process should be completed, and how the success of a business process can be determined. As a part of Total Service Management Pillar in Lean Transformation Model, a clear and detailed business process map or diagram allows outside firms to come in and look at whether or not improvements can be made to the current process.

Lean process mapping, also known as process charting, has become much more prevalent and understood in the business world in recent years. Process maps can be used in every section of life or business. Lean Consultants can contribute significantly in mapping business processes in detail to find wastes in the process flow. Redesigning business processes shall be then aimed at reducing cost and NVA.

The Major Steps of Process Improvement using Process Mapping
  1. Process identification - identify objectives, scope, players and work areas.
  2. Information gathering - gather process facts (what, who, where, when) from the people who do the work.
  3. Process Mapping - convert facts into a process map.
  4. Analysis - work through the map, challenging each step (what-why?, who-why?, where-why?, when-why?, how-why?)
  5. Develop/Install New Methods – through Breakthrough Thinking, eliminate unnecessary work, combine steps, rearrange steps, add new steps where necessary
  6. Manage process - maintain process map in library, review routinely, and monitor process for changes

Basic Components of Lean Process Mapping:

  • Activities – all the activities that collectively makes up the whole business process
  • Transactions / Flow – the sequence and manner of flow of activities across the functions, documents and timeline.
  • Timeline – depicts at what pace transactions occur across different functions. It denotes the lead time for each activity to start before completion of the previous activity.
  • People/Function – the different functions/departments/people who are involved to complete the whole business process.
  • Documents – across all the activities that make up the whole process, many different documents are recorded so as to keep the information flow recorded, maintain traceability and avoid bypassing of any function or activity.

Benefits of Lean Process Mapping:

  • Becomes visual representation of business end-to-end processes
  • Tracks changes in the processes
  • Helps in identifying and deciding activities and owners
  • Supports induction process of new recruits
  • Helps in identifying non value adding activities and optimize the process flow to shorten the overall time consumed
  • Can work as base for continuous improvement
  • Identifying risks in processes

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