Processes form the foundation for any business. From employee management to order execution, a business is but an accumulation of processes. While budding startups and small businesses can get away with the old-school chaos, modern enterprises of any considerable size need to undertake proper planning to ensure the smooth and efficient running of their operations. At the bare end, it’s all just data moving around in a certain sequence.
This brings us to the question, what would be documenting, planning, and organizing these processes look like? Well, process mapping deals exactly with this and is an important part of any Business Analysis certification, trying to teach you the basics of business analysis.
Business process analysis deals with the analysis of the multitude of processes occurring in a business environment. Its goal is to analyze a process and assess the degree of success it had in achieving its said end goal. Overall business process analysis helps to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of processes in businesses. It achieves that by keeping a detailed and multistep evaluation-based approach to each business operation process. This aids them in identifying the flaws, faults as well as underlying loopholes in the said process. In fact, process analysis is very important to introduce improvements and ensure efficient execution.
Business process analysis methods are plenty and varied but they all share the same above-mentioned goal. A business may use one or many of these methods to achieve higher success and a more desirable outcome. These outcomes include greater cost saving along with a significant increase in revenue and business engagement. Apart from client-end satisfaction and revenue-boosting, Business Process Analysis also does a great job at improving employee relations and engagement over time, by pointing out specific attributes in a company that lead to low employee engagement.
Business process analysis brings a plethora of benefits to the table which is thanks to its problem-solving capabilities and in-depth analysis of current processes. These benefits are crucial for moderate-level startups as well as established enterprises. Let’s take a look at some of such benefits.
Higher efficiency: With the implementation of Business Process Analysis existing processes can be accessed from root up making for increased time management employee engagement without compromising the result or value of the end product. This is achieved by figuring out the problems and issues in current processes and working on them.
Better inventory management: The scalability of a business is often limited by the size of its inventory and resource capacity. Business Process Analysis excels in finding capacity limits ahead of time to avoid overspending and resource wastage. Apart from just capacity, BPA also points out other inventory-related drawbacks of a process.
Improved Compliance: Compliance issues can be one of the biggest setbacks for any company, regardless of what many believe ensuring compliance among employees is among the most difficult and cost extensive endeavor. What’s even more expensive is fixing issues arising from lack of compliance. As such BPA can greatly benefit a business by increasing compliance among employees.
A key role in business process Analysis is played by process mapping. While Business Process Analysis assesses the capability of a process to achieve its said goal, Process Mapping helps to effectively layout that process creating somewhat of a roadmap to plan the execution of the process from start to finish. This is important as it lays out the entirety of the process to be visualized and observed.
The concept of Process mapping dates back to 1921 when a certain engineer named Frank Bunker Gilbreth introduced the usage of flowcharts to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). The earlier system was very arbitrary and relied on assumptions from the user. While significant changes were made between the 1930s and 1940’s it was 1947 when ASME adopted the final symbol system for charting the informational flow.
Modern-day process mapping uses a certain set of symbols to paint a virtual picture of activities within an office. These symbols are laid out in a chart that is easy to understand, comprehensive, and extremely detailed. The simplicity of this method of charting allows every stakeholder in an organization to grasp onto and follow for proper functioning.
Some of the most commonly used symbols are:
▢ = Task start/stop
▭ = Step
→ = Flow/Connectors
O = Event
◇ = Yes/No decisions
? = Artifacts
D = Delay
⏢ = Manual input
On the surface, it can be said Process mapping exists only to make a certain process easier to grasp and understand for stakeholders, however, there is more to it which we will know once we go deeper.
Apart from just making a said process easier to follow, Process Mapping is also extensively used to get detailed and in-depth info on all operational insights and how they are affecting the company diagnostics and wider goals. This allows companies to save on resources and utilities while improving the agility of the workforce. The clear and comprehensive model makes it so the workflow is streamlined and devoid of major errors. Compliance and work culture are also factors that are shaped by process mapping.
Process Mapping achieves the above-mentioned goals by following a certain sequence of steps in its application, starting from identifying the process and selecting the right set of people for the said process. As the baseline for the process is laid, special focus should be given on overall workflow, implementation of an individual task, and the overall event. These are then to be visualized in form of a flowchart and verify for any inaccuracies or miscalculations and that concludes the mapping of the process. It must be noted however after the finalization of the flowchart it is a good idea to spot locations for improvements and optimizations.
Process mapping is a wonderful tool for budding startups as well as established enterprises. It’s an important part of business process analysis and can provide immense value to businesses. Overall, it is recommended for businesses to implement process mapping in their day-to-day operations.
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