Do you want to improve performance and efficiency in your business?
Business process mapping is the documentation of every step needed to perform a particular task. It typically lays out a step-by-step workflow for manufacturing companies. An example, in the case of an online shopping fulfillment company, would go like this: receive an order from a customer, collect and pack the item, create a shipping order complete with address, load item into a mode of transport, scan all labels and barcodes for tracking and delivery to customer to complete order. A typical manufacturing company has over 200 such processes on average.
When a corporation is implementing or upgrading an ERP solution, all business processes ideally need to be mapped first. This is a complex task that calls for a process-level comprehension of how each task is accomplished today and how it will be achieved in the future along with a change management plan that deals with taking things from the first point to the second.
A business process mapping exercise at the start of an ERP project brings with it some core benefits:
⦁ It helps everyone on the team to visualize the process in a similar way and serves the process of educating those who are new, or not owners of the process, on specifics.
⦁ It helps focus stakeholders on the process and offers an accurate ‘current state’ understanding/sets expectations.
⦁ It helps manufacturers spot and eliminate bottlenecks in a workflow (example: manual data entry), allowing for them to be automated and more efficient.
⦁ It helps set, and track, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by offering insight into spotting where delays and errors can occur, making things more productive.
⦁ It helps improve compliance and adherence to standards of quality.
A business process map usually has four levels, as follows:
In this high-level section of the map, broad categories, particular to the company, are outlined. Typical examples of this include primary functions relating to customer and internal administration.
This level involves drawing an end-to-end process across all the main areas identified in the first level. This can be defined as a high-level process map but will not provide much detail.
The third level populates the process map with the people, tasks and other resources required to make a process work efficiently.
The last level completes the process map by further documenting the systems and procedures to complete the actions detailed. At this level, the process map shows all inputs, outputs, decision points and other factors that come into play. The process at this level can be all text, an algorithm or a detailed process map. Because level four maps are detailed, they are resource-intensive to create. While they are excellent training and reference materials, use them as needed, taking the time to assess benefits vs. costs, especially if the company is new to process mapping.
As more companies seek to automate business processes for better performance, careful business mapping based on which an ERP solution is selected, is an invaluable step that needs evaluating.