A process map also known as a flow chart is used in business to create a visual depiction of business functions from start to finish. A process map identifies each step required to complete a task as well as who is responsible for each step of the process and when and how it should be completed.
Why should businesses use process maps?
Businesses grow and change over time. As part of a business’s growth, new processes or equipment may be introduced and staff come and go. With these changes, knowledge can be lost. A process map ensures that critical functions of the business are documented and can continue to be carried out by current and new staff.
Parts of a process map
A process map is made up of four symbols, each depicting a part of the process.
- Oval – indicates the beginning and end of the process
- Rectangle – indicates a step in the process
- Arrows – indicate the direction of the process
- Diamond – indicates a decision
How to create a process map
In order to create a process map, it’s important to identify the key elements of the function that needs to be mapped.
In general, the following points need to be considered:
- What actions need to be completed?
- What are the steps required to compete these actions?
- What are the inputs or outputs?
- Who is involved in each step?
- Where in the process do decisions need to be made and by whom?
- What is the timeframe required to complete each activity and the process overall?
Whether a process map is basic or complex will be determined by the task that needs to be completed.
Process maps are an invaluable tool for all businesses to ensure the continuity and functionality of business operations.