Process Mapping

A process map is a visual mapping tool displaying step-by-step the process activities. The process map is also called Process Flowchart, Workflow Chart, or other derivation from these. Process Mapping includes inputs, outputs, and the process steps represented by a commonly used Process Mapping Symbols. The list of the symbols you can download from here:

What is the role of Process Mapping?

  • Helps to identify roles and responsibilities
  • Identifies dependencies, bottlenecks
  • Helps to understand the interaction between the process and technology requirements

There are three types of process flow map:

  1. Regular Process Flowchart: This is a normal process flow
  2. Alternate Path Flowchart: in this case, you have multiple choices, for ex., you buy online a pair of shoes. You had the option to pay either with a credit card or by bank transfer. The product is delivered to your address, or you can pick it up from a warehouse. 
  3. Deployment Flowchart: is characterized by the presence of the swimlanes. Swimlanes are rows that are characterized by different departments or persons.

Before you create the process map, please have in your mind the following suggestions:

  • Map the process as is happens, not as you think it happens or it should happen
  • Think the process across the entire organization, not only in your department
  • Talk with others who are involved in the process to have a clear picture of what’s happening
  • Define the START and END point of the process before you start mapping
  • Design the chart on a high-level, without getting into small details

Now let’s see the commonly used process symbols:

To evaluate your process map, you should consider this set of questions:

  • Are there lots of paper and manual processes?
  • Is the error rate high? Is there significant rework?
  • Are there many layers of review, approval?
  • Are there lots of customer complaints?
  • Are people acting based on documentation, tools, instructions, or on their knowledge to enable the process step?

It’s time to put this knowledge into practice. I will create a Flow Chart of a gummy bear production process.

The main steps in gummy production are the following:

  • Weighting the ingredients: assure the right quantity of the ingredients, and place all in the product hopper
  • Cooking: Once the ingredients are mixed, the resulting liquid is cooked until it thickens into what manufacturers call a slurry
  • Additives: add flavors, color, and acid to the mixture
  • Mixing: mix all the ingredients well
  • Molding: The slurries are then poured into Gummy bears molds for shaping
  • Cooling and setting: it is cooled to allow the slurry to set
  • Demolding: the gummy bear candies are removed and placed in a large drum tumbler
  • Tumbling in oil/sugar: the gummy bear candies tumble in a light food-grade oil that absorbs any remaining corn starch and keeps the gummy bear candies soft and fresh
  • Drying: the gummies must dry at least 72 hours before packaging
  • Packaging: the gummy bear candies are ready to be packaged and sold.

Process Mapping begins with the START and END point of the whole process. 

Start– Customer order    End-Deliver to the customer

Between these 2 points, we have the process steps listed earlier. Each process flow contains quality control for the output resulted from that process step. The answer to the question Pass inspection/control? is YES or NO. It’s irrelevant who is in charge of the inspection, it can be an operator or a quality member. For this purpose, the diamond shape was created (from the table with process mapping symbols). Every time a decision has to be made, the product conforms or not with the requirements, the diamond shape is used.

 Download the example from here:

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