Process mapping is an important part of a Lean Six Sigma project as it is a way for the company to fully understand the goal of the project. Process mapping is one of the first steps in developing a project and can help people understand what they have to do to achieve that goal.
Defining the goal
One way in which process mapping is essential to the DMAIC method and Lean Six Sigma projects is that it helps people define the goal. People working on the project should know the boundaries of the project which means how will the project start and how it will look finished.
For example, in a healthcare facility setting, the starting point can be the moment in which a patient signs the paperwork, and the ending points when they are discharged and the treatment is over. Whether a problem needs to be solved or a whole process needs to be improved, process mapping is a key step in defining the scope.
Tasks to Achieve the Goal
The second step of process mapping is finding out the steps that need to be taken to reach the goal from the starting point. In any business or company, there will be many steps that need to be followed from the start to finish to reach a target. In a hospital, the necessary steps that may need to be taken from the start are greeting the patient, handling documents, and handing him over to nurses before it is treated and eventually discharged.
For every step, a business can use inputs and outputs to track the progress out of every step. Businesses can list the data received by clients or customers as inputs, and the results that come out of the data as outputs. Process mapping can include metrics for every step so that both the workers and the company can know when a step is over and was successful and when it wasn’t.
Another step in process mapping is separating each step from one another and treating them individually as each one of them has different requirements. In this way, each step requires tools and resources to be completed. The steps should also be placed in the correct order as they are interdependent of one another and for one to start another must finish.
This can also help with process improvement as people and companies can notice easier where things do not work and what place needs improvement. Companies can use symbols in designing the steps and represent each one with one. Common symbols are terminator, rectangle, oval, D, arrow, or diamond, each showcasing different guidelines and measures that need to be followed to be completed.
Testing the Process Map
After the map has been finished it can be implemented in the DMAIC method and can be used in training with the employees. The map should be reviewed and analyzed first so that nothing is missing when it is implemented.
Process mapping is highly beneficial for all types of businesses and to the DMAIC method as people can get to know everything there is to know about a process and its shortcomings, or advantages.