Process mapping is an important tool to manage Corporate operations, providing a full view of the company's operating model (processes, people and systems). By mapping and documenting processes, a company can define employee/area responsibilities and ensure that processes are not personified.
This tool enables constant evolution of the company's operations by setting processes, procedures, indicators and SLAs. When combined with continuous improvement methodologies and tools such as PDCA, routine meetings, 6 Sigma and TQM, process mapping becomes a key part in increasing efficiency, reducing risk and increasing operational quality.
Few companies currently use this tool in a proper way. Often, processes are mapped, but are not delivered properly, hindering their reading or making the material inaccessible to the target audience. Process mapping requires a great effort that sometimes is ineffective, and the material ends "shelved" after a few months.
Operational area employees, in general, have no familiarity with process design, therefore, if communication by the area responsible for process mapping is inefficient, documentation will be underutilized. Managers also don't have the habit of critically analyzing operation indicators. For an effective process mapping, it is important to ensure that the mapping is provided in an accessible manner to employees, and managers participate in forums with their subordinates and superiors to discuss the operation indicators.
In this context, the process book emerges as an ideal alternative for documenting mapped processes. In the book, processes are documented in a simple and instructive manner, making it simple to understand and apply the material. The company highlights in the material its process activities, rules for implementing the activities, used systems, focus areas, SLAs and indicators.
To map processes, it is essential to set clearly the mapping scope. There are several processes that have activities performed by different areas. When setting the scope, it must be determined which areas will be mapped. Usually, the book presents the processes from the perspective of a company area.
Company processes are constantly changing and being renovated due to a number of factors, such as system changes, legislation changes, task automation. As processes are constantly changing, the book must be renewed frequently to reflect these changes. Just as important as setting the scope is the decision on the book's time horizon. In general, the period for review is twelve months, but may vary according to company needs.
Mapping of current processes (As Is) must be accompanied by initiatives to improve processes, therefore, the book must contain future processes (To Be). It is important to ensure that identified improvements are viable and bring real benefits to the process, so at this stage is essential to discuss and validate opportunities with managers, analysts, and other areas involved. The company should also consider the deadline for implementing improvements and expected time horizon for renewing the book, as not always To Be processes will be the ideal processes, but the best possible processes in the given horizon.
Alongside the Book, a checklist must be developed to monitor operation adherence to the documented processes. This checklist consists of questions related to the processes that must be answered by the executors recurrently. For cases where there are a large number of executors, the verification may be performed by sampling. Using the answers received, it is possible to evaluate the adherence of new processes and the correct execution of those processes that have not changed. An adherence goal must be set for processes and area managers must be responsible for ensuring compliance with the goal.
Routine management is a key step in implementing a process book. When developing the book, key indicators related to the processes are set as well as how often they should be discussed. This corporate management model enables monitoring targets and indicators, supporting the decisions to be made with analytical information. Meetings and forums to discuss indicators are part of routine management.
There can be operational (Coordinators and team), management (Managers and staff), directive (Directors and team) and executive (Vice Presidents, Directors and Superintendents) meetings, and the indicators to be discussed are categorized according to their importance and features. In the meetings, the need to prepare an action plan is identified to reduce any negative impacts and who will be responsible for implementing it. There should also be meetings with other company areas involved in operations, for receiving or setting guidelines to be carried out.
In the current economic downturn of the Brazilian market and strong competition among companies, those that have the most efficient operations tend to stand out in their segment. A key tool for this increased efficiency is process mapping and design. The combination of the process book with routine management makes this tool useful and accessible for companies, enabling strategic and analytical management over business operations.
We at Cosin Consulting have extensive experience in the preparation of process books in several industries, from retail to education. If you are interested in understanding how this subject can be applied to the reality of your company or evaluate in more detail the results of our work, please contact us.