4 Great Process Mapping Examples

 

Whether it’s a small startup or a worldwide enterprise, every organization needs established business processes to operate effectively. However, if you don’t have a clear understanding of how your methods work, it will be hard for you to figure out where things are going wrong and where you can make improvements. For that reason, investing in business process mapping software is key to ensuring that you keep up with the intricacies of various workflows that support your organization.


What is Process Mapping?

A business process map is an outline of the functions required to complete a process. For example, your HR department may have process maps that cover the details of bringing a new employee into the company and ensuring they complete any necessary paperwork. Essentially, they’re frameworks that provide a visual representation of how core functions work within your company.

Having business process maps in place benefit your company in many ways, including:

  • Removing any confusion about the state of your current business processes
  • Allowing department to follow a consistent blueprint for getting things done
  • Helping you spot redundancies in different process steps
  • Facilitating communications between business areas
  • Helping you remain in compliance with legislation applicable to your industry

Business Process Mapping Examples

The primary intent of process maps is to communicate how a process works. When you pick and apply the correct process map to specific business functions, you strengthen the understanding of your workers. Before we get into our business process mapping examples, let’s look at some common symbols often found within them.

Activity/Process

An activity or process represents a step or an activity within a process. A rectangle shape typically represents it.

Flow

The flow shape is typically a line with an arrow on the end. A flow highlights the sequence of execution within a process for the viewer.

Event

An event is what starts, changes, or finishes a process. The types of events you might want to make visible include errors, messages, cancellations, or links. Events are represented by a circle that contains other symbols depending on the event type.

Decision

The decision shape, represented by a diamond, indicates that the process must make a decision before moving forward. It can be a binary yes/no decision or something more complex that contains multiple choices, like a case statement in a computer program. You should try and capture all options that might impact a process's flow.

The above shapes are commonly found within business process mapping examples, explained below.

1. Flowchart

Flowcharts are the most basic type of process flow. It contains different symbols that outline the flow of steps within a process in sequential order. One of the biggest benefits of flowcharts is that you can adapt them to fit pretty much any function, like manufacturing, administration, or even project planning.

The best time to use a flowchart is when you want to provide an easy-to-understand example of how a process works. Flowcharts make it easy to spot where you might want to make changes to or improve processes. In addition, it’s easier for non-technical users to understand flowcharts versus other business mapping examples.

When creating a flowchart, you should:

  • Focus on making the process clear, versus making it look perfect
  • Capture the key personnel involved in a process, like customers and vendors
  • Get the input of individuals involved in completing a process within the business

2. Swimlane

Swimlane process maps are similar to flowcharts in that they map out the step of a process visually. The most significant difference between the two is that swim lane maps line shapes up in lanes that let the viewer know who’s responsible for completing each step, like a department or automation process.

 Here’s what to keep in mind when putting together a swimlane process map:

  • Where are you getting your information from?
  • Is there anything that might interrupt the swimlane flow?
  • Does a task need to be handed off to a different person, department, or process?
  • Will you need to wait for a decision from someone else before moving to the next step?
  • Will the process require data input to keep the process going?
  • Will you need to transform input to a different format?

3. SIPOC

The SIPOC process map is used to outline the intent of a process along with the key players involved. The acronym SIPOC stands for:

  • Supplier — The person or organization providing input to the process.
  • Input — The resource that the supplier adds to the process.
  • Process — The series of steps involved in converting an input into an output.
  • Output — The resource produced by the process.
  • Customer — The person or entity that receives the output.

SIPOC process maps typically consist of six to eight total steps. It’s an ideal tool for project managers who need to provide a high-level view of the functions involved in a process. A SIPOC diagram should convey:

  • The start and end of the process
  • Those affected by the process
  • What goes into the process
  • The steps involved in completing the process

By creating a SIPOC business process map, you can show stakeholders the information they need about each step and any dependencies.

4. Value Stream Map

A value stream map (VSM) is a detailed flowchart that documents the individual steps within a process along with the information flow and related data inputs. It may be easier to think of it as a more detailed SIPOC process map. VSMs are useful when you need to show how you can add value to a current process by making functional changes.  

VSMs are great for locating and eliminating redundant steps within a business process. For example, you may want to create a VSM of a process’s current state, then create a future state VSM that shows how it would work with your proposed improvements.


Create Better Business Mapping Process Flows

The flexibility and power of Integrify’s workflow builder support your need to create different types of process flows. The drag and drop tools let you build custom workflows that help you quickly come up with the process maps needed to help you increase efficiency throughout your organization.

Contact Integrify today for a demo of our workflow builder.

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