Process Mapping: supporting the quality and continuous improvement of processes

Topics: Business process mapping, Value stream mapping, Business process Pages: 6 (1760 words) Published: February 25, 2014
Process Mapping: supporting the quality and continuous improvement of processes

ABSTRACT:
Process Mapping has been applied in most companies which worry with their productivity and process’ quality. Aiming to know, analyze, correct and standardize the company’s processes, the main purpose of this increasingly used methodology is helping the manager to better control production. Being more skilful and having a process overview, the manager can detect some wastes and non-value adding activities, as defended by Lean Thinking. Through a literature review, this paper will describe how this important methodology can support managers to provide continuous improvement and more quality in their process. The use of different sources with different views of Process Mapping aim to analyze different benefits of this important tool, vital to provide to companies conditions to compete in a crowded marketplace.

INTRODUCTION:
Trying to find a way to meet customer expectations and gain space in an increasingly competitive market, companies adopt policies and practices to optimize their processes. In this context, the mapping process has an important role. With the primary purpose of improving processes through standardization, this tool has gained ground in all types and sizes of companies. Knowing the whole process from constant and detailed analysis of the activities involved allows the manager to find strengths and weaknesses of the process. From this, corrective and preventive measures are possible, as well as continuous process improvement and quality assurance. In this context, this paper will show how this important and increasingly used tool can provide these changes and improve the process’ quality.

LITERATURE REVIEW:
According to Anjard (1996), the purpose of Process Mapping is understanding better the processes to identify changes and, that way, improve its quality. For supporting this idea, he says that the known of the full process help to identify boundaries and goals to achieve, because the manager can investigate the process’ details and find a better way to do all the activities. Furthermore, this study says that process map shows the link between inputs, outputs and tasks, providing an overview of the process and allowing a quick view of possible changes. Another support of this idea is that knowledge about performance process is vital to competition and customer expectations, being extremely important “[identifying] and [analyzing] customer perceptions” (1996, p. 225). Moreover, process definition reduces order cycle and inventory costs, allowing managers more profits and resources to implement changes. In conclusion, Anjard says that the full knowledge of a process can show some keys and common problems, supporting the managers to “establish a formal feedback loop […] and [document] changes” (1996, p.225).

Another idea, by Cookson, Read, and Cooke (2011) is that Process Mapping can develop the Lean Thinking, helping to identify value streams and eliminate some wastes in process and contributing with its quality and continuous improvement. According to them, “removing, where possible, steps that are non-value adding” provides efficient and high quality processes (2011, p. 25). In this way, Process Mapping can improve the flow and generate value to process, raising the quality. Moreover, they say that Process Map demonstrates push-and-pull forces and the main change points, through a detailed observation and analysis of the processes. For all these issues being effective, Lean Thinking has to be disseminated within the whole organization, “[generating] enthusiasm for change and [identifying] people to take projects forward” (Cookson

et. al, 2011, p. 29). In conclusion, Cookson, Read and Cooke say that Process Mapping focused on Lean Thinking can be the key to guarantee the process’ quality and the reduction of waste in the activities.

A third research written by Le Duff, Daniel, Kamendjé, Le Beux and...

References: Anjard, R. P. (1996). Process mapping: one of three, new, special quality tools for management, quality
and all other professionals
Cookson, D., Read, C., & Cooke, M. (2011). Improving the quality of Emergency Department care by
removing waste using Lean Value Stream mapping
Le Duff, F., Daniel, S., Kamendjé, B., Le Beux, P., & Duvauferrier, R. (2005). Monitoring incident report
in the healthcare process to improve quality in hospitals
Rahani, A. R., & al-Ashraf, M. (2012). Production flow analysis through value stream mapping: A lean
manufacturing process case study
Windisch, J., Röser, D., Mola-Yudego, B., Sikanen, L., & Asikainen, A. (2013). Business process
mapping and discrete-event simulation of two forest biomass supply chains
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