When it comes to the business process map, it’s been said this quote is applicable: “A good plan is like a road map; it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there.”
After teaming with hundreds of mid-market manufacturing organizations, we know the value of business process mapping. But the first step is understanding exactly what is involved.
By definition, business process mapping lays out each of the step-by-step workflow activities for a functional part of a manufacturing organization. For instance, a business process map for shipping would include the steps of obtaining the customer order; picking the part; tracking the address; loading onto trucks; barcode label scanning and shipping paperwork, and any other process unique to a company’s shipping function.
Note that a typical manufacturing company will have upwards of 200 to 300 processes. Within each functional area, each business process map step isolates an individual process into a workflow diagram for a clear depiction of a process or series of parallel processes. Within the business process map, we document what happens in the process step – what was the input to the step, what happens with that input, and what is the subsequent output.
Four Levels of the Business Process Map
Our team of independent ERP consultants generally breaks down a business process map in the following four areas:
- Top Level – at this highest level the map tracks the major functions and processes of the overall enterprise. We often think of this level as a high level “value stream” map
- Business Process Categories – identifies all of the major business process categories unique to the organization.
- Category Map – identifies all of the categories of business processes in a graphic map or chart, depicting the connectivity of information between departments
- Process Map – is the most detailed level that depicts each business process step along with relevant inputs, process performed on inputs, and outputs.
In many of our client engagements, it has been suggested that existing ISO documentation be used to develop the business process map levels outlined above. We generally find that ISO documentation can aid in the high level overview but does not go down to the detailed category and process level needed to identify problems and waste.
Why Create a Business Process Map?
When embarking upon and ERP project, the process of business process mapping delivers several benefits, including:
- Helps the manufacturer flag, and ultimately eliminate, bottlenecks in a workflow such as an excessive use of workarounds, manual data entry, double data entry, excessive use of Excel or homegrown systems, use of paper files or proprietary solutions, as well as redundant record keeping.
- Helps resolve issues when those in functional areas complain about a cumbersome process.
- Tracks Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in order to deliver insight into where waste resides, where bottlenecks occur, and where there is a possibility for improvement.
Business process mapping is just one phase of an effective ERP project. This Ultra white paper shares five guidelines for business process improvement planning that will help your company achieve true business performance improvement and ROI.
To learn more, download the free white paper “A Roadmap for Business Performance Improvement.”