Process Mapping – The Best Way to Improve Processes

90% of the problem can be found by process mapping. Discover the 4 basics process map to start mapping and improve.

📹 Related Video

– Value Stream Mapping Tutorial

– TED Talk on Continuous Improvement

– 90% of Process Improvement Is Done by Process Mapping

✏️ Transcript of the video

▶ What is process mapping?

Humans are visual creatures.

Therefore, representing information in a visual way helps to understand, manage and improve processes.

The process map is typically a diagram representing a flow of activity that takes a product or service from state A to state B.

For example:

A cell phone manufacturing process turns raw materials into a phone.

A customer care process turns a complaint into a resolved case for the customer.

There are different types of process map representations and each of these fulfills a specific need.

It is very important that the Continuous Improvement Engineer or Continuous Improvement Manager promotes the use of the process map that is best suited to the purpose.

Let’s see some types of process maps.

▶ 1. High-level process map.

This is also called a helicopter sight map. We have to imagine observing the process from very high up and drawing only the macro-activities.

Generally, this map should have between 7 and 10 steps represented.

If any step has particular criticalities in terms of quality, reliability, lead time, etc. you can switch to the second type of map for this macrostep.

▶ 2. Detailed process map.

The detailed process map provides sufficient granularity to help the team understand in greater detail what is happening in the process.

In the detailed map, the process needs to be further described.

Information such as FTY, Recirculation, Cycle Times, Lead Time, etc. must be added.

Any information that may be useful for the purpose of the project should be reported in the detailed map.

▶ 3. Swimlane process map.

This type of process map is used when the process
it goes through different departments of the organization.

Think of this map as a detailed process map that highlights
when the process passes from one department to another.

The name swimlane comes from the fact that in its representation it resembles an Olympic swimming pool where in each lane there is a department.

This map is very useful for the study of transactional processes and services.

The usefulness of this map arises from the hypothesis that whenever a product or information passes from one department to another, defects, bad information transfer and delays can be generated.

From my experience this hypothesis is always verified and therefore the swimlane process map is a tool to visualize these weaknesses and remedy them.

▶ 4. Value Stream Map.

The value stream map became popular through the “Learning to see” book.

It is a map where data is collected both on the flow of materials and on the flow of information.

It is widely used during lean improvement projects and is very rich in data such as:
Inventory, Lead Time, Quality Indicators, Recirculation, Information Transfer Methods, etc.

It is an operational map to improve the performance of a production line or service.

It was born as an evolution of Toyota’s material and information flow map.

In the description, you will find a link to a complete tutorial on the value stream map.

▶ Conclusions.

There is a TED Talk on Continuous Improvement where it is claimed that 90% of improvements come from process mapping.

I totally agree and choosing from these types of process maps presented in this video will surely have benefits in improving processes.



my name is Mark Anderson a 20+ year Lean Expert.
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