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The world standards that have been created like ISO 9001, ISO 14000, ISO 27000, etc., actually require a corporate entity to follow certain procedures, and get the desired and expected results as stated in the process. To achieve the same, business process mapping can be of great help. It helps to ensure that there is a smooth flow of work in an organization. It immediately shows the areas of improvement, and helps to reduce complexities or bottlenecks. It is also useful when different areas of function are working together, and the results are dependent on the effective working of all the departments, since they work in chain. In such cases, it shows the missing links that might have resulted in slag, lost opportunities, missed credits, or invoices. Largely, it helps in all the functional areas to work smoothly and simultaneously.

What is it?

It is a tool used to define the actual work being done, objectives of the business, and how the success of a process of business should be determined, and lastly the impact of the whole process on the customers. It is a four-step process, which can be analyzed. Since it shows the effectiveness of a process and the respective performance, it acts like a gauge and encouragement for the employees. Hence, it helps in ascertaining the requirements of a business.

How is it done?

Business process mapping has four major steps.
  • First, identifying the process, which means understanding the way the process works.
  • The second step is to gather information on that process, in the sense, collecting data as to the aims, risks involved, and key features.
  • The third step is interacting with the people working in that process, and understanding the practical obstacles and accordingly design the maps.
  • The last step would be to use the organizational methods and approaches to make it more effective.
In the first step, the basic thing is to turn the table and check the process as it is in the customer's perception. That would help in understanding what exactly are the expectations and where the company is lagging behind. An organization has to compartmentalize processes according to the needs and understanding of the customer.

Once it has been identified; the key concepts, risk factors, and loopholes are to be studied and analyzed. The importance of that particular process has to be identified, so that the goals and achievements can be examined.

Then the next thing is to identify which set of people can bring about a change in the functioning and the result of the process, what kind of difficulties they face while working on the same, and where should the process be improved. At times it is as simple as that, because most of the time people who work on that process, already know where it requires improvement, but then due to lack of underwriting powers, fail to bring about the changes.

After all the information is gathered, the results can be mapped and the worksheets can be prepared. The two main methods of mapping are as follows:
  • Workflow Surveys
  • Process Profile Worksheet
Post mapping, it is time to cross-check and the method that is followed is personal interaction. Here, employees' individual role is questioned, and it is tallied to see if it corroborates according to the map. It takes about 5 days but gives effective results, and helps to understand how a business works. There are several mistakes that are possible, since it needs extensive research; which involves analyzing the existing documents as well as the previous recorded document, question every step, critically examine if there are any duplications, and keep a track of all the information collected.

Flowcharts

Flowcharts actually show all the information and the conclusion of this huge procedure. It is a graphical representation of all the data collected from the beginning to the end, showing the path the process follows, every bit of action, impediment, and ultimately the end. It helps in future analysis and facilitates improvement.