August 27, 2012 4 Comments
My sense is that to most people, process maps are boring and uninteresting. I mean who wants to sit down and write out how a product flows from one process to another? Well, I do and I actually love process maps, seriously, I do.
Why do I love process maps? I find them intriguing, for me a process map is a moving picture, with both sound and action. I become curious about how each process integrates with the whole map. It’s like an adventure, where I imagine what’s possible.
This all seems like a lot of fun and games, and it is, but what I like best about process maps are the benefits they provide my clients and our organization. I’ve listed my top five.
- Execution and Performance Management
- Throughput Maximization
- Process Improvement
How do each of these translate into realized benefits? Here’s how it works for me:
- Planning – when I understand all the processes and sub processes a product travels, I can plan for its arrival at its next destination/process. I understand how many people, what material and equipment I will need at a given time. I look to the map to navigate and plan resources accordingly.
- Training – With a map, I can share the journey of the product with my colleagues. With a shared understanding of the beginning and ending point, people begin working toward a common goal and seek to learn how to best get from one process to another process.
- Execution and Performance Management – With an action plan and a map, implementation becomes a shared responsibility because my team has helped to create the plan and they understand their role. Performance is measurable to the plan and compared to the plan and if unexpected results occur, we go back to the plan and make adjustments.
- Throughput Maximization – Having documented processes allows me to analyze each process, define process times and uncover bottlenecks. Once I understand where the constraints are, I am empowered to engage in, and encourage a problem-solving approach to the situation.
- Process Improvement– I think I like this benefit best. With a plan, and performance feed back for each process, I can make improvements to one process, and understand how the improvements affect the whole system. This eliminates bottlenecks, and reduces work in process so the whole systems flow evenly and smoothly.
Finally, let’s not forget that all these benefits add up to better quality, increased profitability and better client satisfaction! With all these benefits, it becomes easy to see why process maps are a really important business tool and why I love them!
What do you like best about process maps?