Top 3 Business Problems that can be revealed by Process Mapping

Welcome back to the Whiteboard! As I started writing about one of my favorite topics, ‘what is missing from classic process improvement’, I couldn’t help but think about our Process Improvement 101 seminar that took place today (June 15th). This seminar is so full of information, that I feel guilty not sharing some of its goodies with you.

The premise of the seminar is to show you how easy process improvement is, and how much you can benefit from it. Remember the American Airlines story about the olive? It’s a classic! A few years ago American Airlines decided to remove one olive from each first class passenger’s salad in order to reduce costs ( or improve the dining process). In doing so, these guys saved $40,000 a year! It’s just proof that a tiny process improvement can draw big rewards.

In the seminar we take you through 3 key steps of process improvement:

  1. Define it! – creating a succinct problem statement, using facts and leaving out solutions, to describe your problem.
  2. Mapping it!- creating a visual, using several tools of the trade, to represent your problem
  3. Prove it! – collecting the hard facts that will support your problem statement, and most likely, also your gut instinct.

Out of these key steps, Mapping it intrigues me the most. Why? Because of the human learning style. Did you know that approximately 65 percent of the population are visual learners?

Visually representing a process by mapping it, allows you to see things that may not necessarily jump out at you when you read them.

Top 3 business problems revealed by process mapping:

  1. Touch points. How many people, teams, departments must a product or service pass through to reach the customer? The higher the number of touch points in the process the longer the process will take, and the higher likelihood that a defect will occur.
  2. Duplication. Process maps are great at visually highlighting work that is duplicated across the company by different teams. Do you ever have two people sometimes doing the same task when you don’t mean to?
  3. Bottlenecks. Bottlenecks occur when there is a blockage in the flow of information or work. Have you ever been in line at customs? Planeloads of cranky travellers trying to get home or start vacation and only 10 customs agents to serve them? (Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on the Glascow Airport security clearance area – what a great job they’ve done!)

In the mean time, stay tuned for our next blog next Friday at noon on what is missing from classic process improvement. And it’ a lot! (Enter your email below to subscribe.)

You can also get our free process mapping tool as well as a course module on the seminar today – it will be just like you were there LIVE! Just email us! We’ll be posting them on the site for download soon too.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @whiteboardcons to stay up to date on what we’re up to this week. Have thoughts or ideas? Use #betterfastercheaper to join the conversation!

Until next week,