Process Mapping

In this blog post, we will explore the concepts of process mapping, a key tool within the Lean Methodology Framework, and how it can help organisations improve their processes.

What is a process?

A series of activities that transform a set of inputs into a specific set of outputs.  Everything we do is a process!

What is a Process Map?

A process map (also known as process flowchart or Diagram) is a visual representation of the sequential steps within in a business process. The process map includes each critical process step along with process inputs at outputs.

Process Mapping

A process map represents how a process actually operates and is a living document that should be constantly reviewed and updated.

Process Mapping

The purpose of process mapping is to provide a clear insight into a process, aiding the identification of non-value adding activities (i.e., any activity which absorbs resources but creates no value), and potential areas for improvement.

What are Non-Value Added activities?

Typically, when we talk about non-value added activities, we are talking about the 8 Wastes. Process papping helps us identify these wastes within the process.  When we know what the wastes are we can put a plan in place to remove them.Process Mapping

Transport: Unnecessary transfer of materials, tools, equipment, documents, information

Inventory: Excess Inventory, producing or storing more than customer demand, building up unnecessary stocks.

Motion: Unnecessary movement of people, walking, searching.

Waiting: Unnecessary waiting, delays between departments, materials delays, chasing signatures (travel, searching).

Overproduction: Producing too much or too many, before it is needed.

Overprocessing: Duplicate or redundant operations, performing or producing to a higher specification than is required.

Defects: Failing to produce quality work first time. Generating rework or scrap. Not delivering the finish or service “right first time”.

Skills Underutilised: Underutilising skills, not utilising the skills or knowledge of employees. Not learning from past mistakes/issues


How to Create a Process Map:

  1. Define your process boundaries (start and end point)
  2. Go to Gemba (where is action is happening)– remember you are developing an “as is” map of the process.
  3. Map out the key steps of the process (Involve as many people in process as possible)
  1. For each step, identify and record the inputs.
  1. For each step, identify and record the outputs


Process Mapping


Different Types of Process Maps:

There are a variety of Process Maps that can be used depending on the complexity of the process or your business requirements.

Typical Process maps would include:

  1. Basis Flow charts
  2. Detailed Process Maps
  3. Cross Functional (Swimlane maps)
  4. SIPOC (Suppliers, inputs, processes, outputs, and customers)
  5. Value Steam Maps

Key Benefits of Processes Mapping:

  1. Clearly defines and documents how a process should be completed.
  2. Increase understanding of the current process
  3. Helps identify how a process can be improved by removing non-value adding activities.
  4. Aids Standardisation of processes.

Process Mapping is a simple but a powerful tool that can be used across any process in an organisation. It provides the business with a visualisation of how a process actually works and is the starting point for all Process Improvement activities.


Need some help with your process mapping approach? Get in touch with our team HERE