BUSINESS PROCESS MAPPING

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Business Process Mapping is a tool used to ensure consistency, to support business improvements and of course to make sure the team knows what they are doing.

  • Why would anyone map their process?
  • What does it mean?
  • Surely everyone knows what they are doing so what's the point?
  • Just giving everyone a job they are going to do it aren't they?
  • Things change though, how do your team know what to change?
  • How can your business performance improve?

These are examples of the questions posed by business owners when mapping their business process is proposed. It's useful therefore to consider an example, a case study where the time spent mapping the business process resulted in improvements in the sales, cash flow and profit not to mention significant revenue increase.

The business started reluctantly to work together, brown paper on the wall, post it's. The first session generated a simple map not too much discussion without any ah ha moments. The team used PowerPoint and Word to write up the basic processes.

The next stage working through the details, sales came up as an area of contention. Although there were 3 team members closing sales the senior sales associate indicated closing a deal had to be approved. The business owner disagreed and explained that authority to sell was delegated but within certain boundaries.

The issue here was the lack of written clearly defined expectations. An independent discussion with the team identified an issue to be resolved. The business owner knew the requirements, the boundaries and authority levels but hadn't shared the details with the team. In the absence of knowledge The team defaulted to requesting approval for all sales.

Why did this happen? Two sales staff plus the business owner were already involved in closing sales, but the owner was willing for the experienced sales associate to complete small sales. However all meeting as a team failed to differentiate between the team members.

With documented business processes written down and reviewed as a team the gaps could be highlighted. A know issue is much easier to consider, actions taken to address can be documented too. Then everyone, experienced and new is clear what they have the authority to do, more importantly they know what is expected and results can be tracked.

The result of this case study were significant, one team member was consistently under performing and other team members were covering. Impact the sales team covering admin tasks didn't have time to sell. Solution, subcontract administrative task and the under performer focussed on core skills (web design and marketing). Result increase in sales frequency and value more profit significant increase in revenue.

What can you learn from this example? Are you absolutely 100% certain your whole team knows their responsibilities and authority? Another example was similar but different, costs were high because of purchasing not having a budget just spending what they believed they were allowed to because other team members asked them to.

  • Do you know why you are running out of cash on occasion?
  • Do you always have your tax accrual under control?
  • Do you know when holidays will put your business at risk?

Business Process Mapping is the first step towards understanding your metrics and getting your business under control.

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