What Workflow Mapping Can Teach You About Efficiency
February 16th, 2018 • workflow
Workflow mapping is a method to diagram an entire process using different symbols to document process steps and actions. Workflow mapping is crucial for businesses because charting the course of a process visually helps you break down complex processes into easy-to-understand, pictorial diagrams.
But What Does Workflow Mapping Do for Efficiency?
Visuals communicate ideas much faster than text – 60,000 times faster, to be precise. Clear diagrams about processes concerning what needs to be done, where it starts and ends, who needs to do what, and when it’s supposed to be done yield incredible results. Workflow process mapping brings clarity to your operations that you wouldn’t get otherwise.
Workflow process mapping is like creating a guide before a hiking trip. If you only rely on what a fellow hiker told you, or the newspaper article you read, chances are, you’ll get lost. It’s hard to get an overall picture of your path unless you actually have a physical guide to look at.
A great map will include the best route, alternate routes, landmarks, and when to avoid certain paths. Other hikers can reuse the same map as the best way to reach the top.
Similarly, workflow mapping lets you see what’s coming next and gives you an overall view of the process.
What Else Can You Gain from Workflow Mapping?
Workflow process mapping creates an “efficiency roadmap” for your business to figure out the shortest route to complete a set of tasks. Here are a few specific instances of efficiency that workflow mapping brings to your daily operations:
Think about your business graphically
When you diagram your business processes in visual forms, you create a broader view of your process from an as-is to a to-be state. Everyone who is part of the process will have a clear and consistent understanding of the requirements, resources, and the end goal.
See inefficiencies, don’t just feel them
In the absence of workflow mapping, it can feel like you’re fighting with problems you don’t know exist. But once you sit down and actually draw out the process and write down its steps, you gain clarity on what issues to look out for.
Check for redundancies in your steps
Workflow process mapping also helps you to identify and stop the waste of overprocessing. The extra work and obstacles may not be obvious until you put your pen to paper and see the big picture.
Workflow process mapping helps you create a schematic plan with people’s names or roles for each step. There is great transparency on who is supposed to do what and at what point in the workflow. It can help eliminate the tendency to blame when roles aren’t clear.
Discover optional routes
Workflow process mapping also helps you explore shortcuts along the way or skip winding routes. If you think path B is more efficient that path A to finish a task, you can see that clearly on paper when you map out the process.
Apart from these, workflow process mapping is also useful to train new employees on existing processes, identify best practices, simulate processes, improve operations, and comply with regulatory rules.
When in Doubt, Map it Out
Workflow mapping is more than just presenting your processes in boxes and circles. It helps you map out processes in a visually appealing way to simplify the complexities surrounding it. There are different ways to use business process mapping, but they all lead to operational efficiency when carried out properly.
Workflow process mapping doesn’t have to be difficult; you can take the back-of-the-napkin approach to draw out processes on a whiteboard and establish clarity on your processes. Once you have workflow mapping sorted out, go for a do-it-yourself process management tool like KiSSFLOW to create simplified workflow apps for your teams.