Process Mapping identifies waste and leads to a Value Stream

This photo is from an actual engagement.  

The color key is:

  • Orange - Primary business system
  • Purple - Communication via phone, fax or email, or leave message
  • Pink - Wait for response / Delay
  • Blue - Manual form completion - a paper form
  • Hot Green - Spreadsheet, sticky note, or online something
  • Sea Green - Manual process - pick it up and deliver it somewhere

Notice the Red tags we added to denote enterprise risk from process failure or potential disconnect.

A recent example

We led a complete process mapping event for a manufacturing company that processed 30,000 customer orders last year.  We worked with them to detail their processes from Quote to Cash.  We divided their business into major 'functions', gathered the users in each function together and identified the steps.  Every single step.

Working with their controller, we then applied staff costs to the teams that performed each function and determined the average cost of a transaction, not including the production.

Then we went back and looked for waste: Non value added effort.  We found opportunities to reduce the steps and eliminate some forms, cutting the cost by over 50%.  That 50% went directly to the bottom line.

The opportunities are huge, and getting a visual representation of how the business works makes it much easier to envision improvements.

Six Sigma

Initially developed at Motorola in the 1980s to improve processes, meet customer expectations and maintain market leadership.  During the first five years, even suppliers were required to participate in the process.  Six Sigma was adopted by Allied Signal and GE and further developed into a true management system.  Success led to global acceptance across a variety of companies and all industries.