Just as you use a map when going on a road trip to be sure you arrive at the right destination, a business, such as a pharmaceutical consultancy firm, will also use a “map” to improve and monitor processes to ensure efficient and smooth flowing operations.  Within business, this is known as process mapping.

Because a business usually involves a variety of different processes, mapping them, or drawing them out with charts and maps, makes the work more visible.  This, in turn, increases communication and understanding among the employees who are doing the work.  A Process Map basically outlines the steps it takes to get to the ultimate goal, which is customer satisfaction.  A Process Map can also highlight areas where improvements to systems are needed and make it easier to develop solutions to a problem.

Understanding process mapping is something that takes time and training, but there are some tips you can follow to make the whole process a little easier.

1.    Choose the right person or team to create the map.  These people should be well educated in the process involved and have an interest in improving the process.

2.    Be certain to establish the basic rules of the mapping process and display them on a chart for all to see.  Examples of these rules might be that all persons remain in the room until the session is complete, that there is no finger-pointing or blaming allowed, that anyone can give input, etc.

3.    Be sure the meeting room is large enough for the number of attendees so everyone is comfortable and has enough personal space.

4.    Have a good supply of paper and sticky notes on hand.

5.    Use a laptop to record details as you go, and if possible use it with a projector so everyone in the room can see the information.

6.    Try to keep everyone in the room actively involved in the process.

7.    Create a rough draft of the process first and work on a good copy when all the data has been collected and arranged.

8.    Always respect each person’s contribution however small it may be.

9.    Push on past the point when everyone seems to be out of ideas.  This is often when the most creative ideas emerge.

10.    Be patient.   A good process map may take a while to come together.

Process Maps are a valuable addition to any business.  They are well worth the time and effort it takes to create a visual portrayal of processes and procedures that employees can easily understand.

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