Arguably the most powerful tool in continuous performance improvement, the Multi-Function Process Map actually lets you see what’s working—and what’s not
The idea of creating a visual representation of organizational processes isn’t new – it’s been around for nearly a century. Once called the flow process chart (1921), the Multi-Function Process Map has become a highly-effective visual tool that can be used in various ways—all of which can lead to significant, continuous performance improvements.
How are process maps used?
The Multi-Function Process Map is a versatile tool that companies use to evaluate productivity by examining the way that a product or service is delivered—from start to finish.
The map can be used as:
- An analysis tool
- A communication tool
- A training tool
What does a Multi-Function Process Map include?
While businesses can design and modify the Multi-Function Process Map to suit the needs of their organization, these are the key elements typically included:
- Key Processes
- Activity Steps
- Key Performance Metrics
- Employee Frustrations
Whether you use custom icons or text to create the map, it should outline:
- What is happening
- Where it is happening
- When it is happening
- Who is making it happen
- How inputs and outputs are handled and distributed
The benefits of process mapping
Multi-Function Process Maps are used to gain a better understanding of how a company produces and delivers its product or service and creates opportunities to improve and streamline the process.
By organizing the different steps involved, and displaying them, a process map offers a visual format that can be discussed, analyzed and improved upon.
It gives everyone in your company a better understanding of what the process is and can benefit the company in many ways including:
Multiple points of view: When you create a process map, you’re getting everyone’s take on the process, which means you may get differing points of view. This difference of opinion inspires creativity, diversity and innovation and helps you discover the most efficient way to operate.
New solutions: Some of the best solutions come from within the organization. Yet many issues (and therefore solutions) don’t come to light because there is not a vehicle or process to formally engage everyone.
Discover issues and gaps that are causing operational problems. While an individual may have found a workaround or shortcut for a problem that helps them work faster, it may be creating problems downstream in the operations. Multi-Function Process Mapping allows you to identify these issues and resolve them at the source, preventing the need for extra steps or activities.
Why Multi-Function Process Maps are so valuable
Multi-Function Process Maps Process maps provide visual representation that words on a page can’t do. They can save your company time and simplify your process because they allow everyone involved to evaluate it together. With a process map you can:
- Build a better process for every facet of your business
- Effectively communicate issues, solutions, and ideas
- Engage employees by giving everyone a chance to offer opinions and insight
- Solve problems or make effective changes
- Break the process down into steps so that each person involved understands their role
- Streamline steps in the process
- Improve employee performance by identifying weaknesses
What happens once the Multi-Function Process Map has been created?
A conversation begins: How can the process be made better and faster with increased efficiency and accuracy? Once you’ve created your new streamlined Multi-Function process map, make sure everyone is on board and set key performance indicators and goals to measure your results. Process mapping isn’t a one-time exercise. Periodic review of your processes through mapping keeps this conversation alive within your organization, which is what leads to continuous, sustainable performance improvements.
Versatile, visual and effective, Multi-Function Process Maps are one of the most effective tools for improving performance.