How Process Mapping Can Improve Operations and Profitability
by Blackwood Impact Group
What is Process Mapping?
One of the ways Blackwood Impact Group serves businesses looking to improve their profits is by providing Operations consulting. Your company’s Operations is essentially the inner workings of your business; it’s how you do what you do. This is an area of focus for us because the more efficiently your internal engine functions, the more profitable you will be.
As a part of our methodology, we employ a Business Process Improvement (BPI). It is a systemic analysis of your operations that is designed to identify where you can reduce redundancies, improve accuracy and become more efficient and cost-effective in the process of delivering your products and services to your clients. A vital component of a BPI is Process Mapping.
Much like a regular map diagram of a particular region in picture form, a process map can do the same thing for your business. Process mapping outlines all of the systems at play in executing your products and services to your clients. This workflow diagram can also show how your team interacts internally to produce your results.
Creating an initial process map is an essential first step in your BPI plan because it shows where you currently are. Before you can make any improvements, you must first know what isn’t working and why.
The visual representation helps to quickly identify and pinpoint where time, money, and human resources being wasted. It shines a light on areas that can be streamlined or eliminated to improve delivery times and error-free products. Here is an example of some of the information an initial process map can provide:
- Shows a visual representation of all the steps in your product or service production process.
- Shows a visual representation of who is responsible for which portions of the process.
- Shows a visual representation of where errors are prone to occur.
- Shows a visual representation of redundancies and duplicated efforts.
- Shows a visual representation of slowdowns and bottlenecks.
How Process Mapping Benefits Operations, Client Happiness, and Profits
Once you have an accurate picture of your current situation, your goal will be to create a process map of how you ideally would like to make progress. Process mapping the future direction of your company is useful for your team because it will eliminate any confusion about what should be happening.
It is imperative that core team members are a part of the mapping process. Get input from people who are affected directly and indirectly by each step in the process. Make the activity of developing your ideal process map inclusive so that the results will be relevant to all involved and will have their buy-in built-in.
To vision-cast your ideal operational flow, you will use the information gleaned from your initial process map. That information can help you and your team:
- Identify opportunities to remove unnecessary steps from an encumbered process.
- Identify opportunities to increased speed and accuracy by using technology.
- Identify opportunities for automation.
- Identify opportunities to implement checks and balances or quality control seamlessly.
- Identify opportunities to reassign human assets to higher-level tasks more in line with their innate skills.
The ideal process map you create as a result will outline a more effective way to deliver your products and services to your clients. It will visually communicate and increases understanding of the most important details of the process everyone should be following. It is an excellent alternative to forcing your team members to read through long instruction or procedures manuals. Because your ideal process map is more interactive and engaging, it will encourage the majority (if not 100%) compliance with your new standards by your team.
Process mapping benefits your overall operations because it improves communication within and across departments. Your process map will bring people together to collaborate and seek to create solutions together. As it brings efficiency to how you deliver on your products and services to your customers, they will be more satisfied with their experience with you. More satisfied customers mean an increase in referrals and repeat business. Ultimately, that spells greater income and improved profitability.
Is a Process Map Right For You?
Here at Blackwood Impact Group, we believe that all companies, regardless of industry or size, can always benefit from improving their processes. There are always opportunities to do what you do better and see increased revenue as a result.
Companies with small teams or where nothing happens without the owner are great candidates for process mapping. In his book The E Myth, small business guru Michael E. Gerber encourages entrepreneurs and small business owners to design their company so that it can operate without them. Process mapping is a great tool to help facilitate that shift.
However, companies facing specific challenges are ideal candidates to experience all the benefits process mapping, and a BPI can provide. If you are wondering if going through the process of creating a process map is right for you, consider these questions:
- Are you looking to increase your company’s profitability?
- Are you concerned your operational expenses are too high?
- Are you looking for ways to increase your company’s profitability without increasing leads or sales?
- Are your employees unengaged and regularly feel burnt-out?
- Does your firm need to optimize workflow and workload? Does it take too long to complete tasks?
- Are you receiving too many customer complaints?
- Do you see any errors in communications?
- Are you experiencing severe service delays or defective products being produced?
- Are you looking to improve existing or introduce new products or services?
- Are you a small operation where much of the work hinges on one or two critical individuals?
An affirmative answer to any of these questions signals that you and your team can benefit from engaging in a Process Mapping exercise. A great way to get started is by downloading our exclusive tool called a Process Improvement Table. It is an Excel spreadsheet designed to help you think through the various stages of your operation and product or service production.
Gaining visibility is a critical first step. If you have questions about the information you’re looking at or want help taking the next steps, which is to formulate effective improvement plans, we are here to help. Feel free to give us a call at 770-502-6295 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.