While value stream mapping works to identify waste in a specific area or process, the practice of process mapping has a much broader scope. Process mapping reveals how work flows through different departments, helping managers to uncover opportunities that can be improved or identify successful practices to can implemented in other areas. Process mapping is used to describe any activities that a business or department does, who is responsible for doing it, the standards to which it should be done, and how successes will be measured.
Some examples how a facility can benefit from using a process map approach include:
- Training: Process maps is an excellent tool when it comes to training new employees. Have the new hires review and hold onto a process map so they can see how things should be done.
- Problem solving: It is much easier to identify problems and see exactly where they’re taking place in the process by having a process map. This will help find solutions fast and implement them quickly!
- Big picture: A process map identifies problems quickly and by visually representing the production process from the moment raw materials come out to when the final product is shipped to the customer, it puts the process into perspective.
- Team involvement: Creating a process map involves contributions from all employees. The team involvement will not only help to keep people engaged, but more eyes on the map could mean more improvement opportunities are identified.
There are a number of tools for managers or leaders to utilize when process mapping in a facility. Depending on the facility’s needs or the complexity of process, it can be helpful to use a pre-printed map and fill in all the steps. There is also software available to digitally create maps, making them easier to edit in the future and send to other departments.
While the manufacturing industry is one of the most common businesses to utilize process mapping, this strategy can be applied for offices, restaurants, and many other forms of business models. Any type of facility that has some type of workflow can effectively use process mapping to find where improvements can be made and begin implementing changes.