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May 22, 2010

Benefits of Process Mapping

Process mapping is an essential tool of Six Sigma Projects that everyone needs to take advantage of. This allows you to get a visual glimpse of your business processes and how they are currently operating, as well as allowing you to see how they could be operating better by mapping out potential solutions.

Using process mapping along with other Six Sigma metrics can prove to be advantageous in determining the who, what, where, when, why, and how of problems and also the best possible solutions based on the available information. Here are five benefits of process mapping in your Six Sigma Projects:

1. Pictures are worth 1000 words. If you use charts, graphs, and other images, you will easily save yourself the trouble of writing up dozens of pages of information on the processes that need fixing and the data that you've collected. Pictures will serve you much better than a 100 page report in every single instance.

2. Process improvement is easier done when it can be analyzed through process mapping. Identifying issues and changing processes is much easier because you can pinpoint exact places where changes need to happen.

3. Visualizing processes makes the problem clearer from the start. When you can physically see where things are going wrong, you are going to be better able to fix them so that they can become more effective processes. People tend to understand the 'show me' aspect of data analysis better than the 'tell me' aspect.

4. Compliance requirements and standards need to be met. Using process mapping can help to keep track of the process improvement projects that you've done, including all the information and details about the process and the control of the improvements. It makes for better auditing and understanding within the organization.

5. Training can be more effective through visualization. You can have someone read a 500 page book on Six Sigma. You can tell them everything that they need to know, and make them write notes to keep track. They still won't remember as much or understand the practical application until they have a visual example to help them understand how things work.

Process mapping used with Six Sigma Projects has many different advantages and benefits, as you can clearly see. Allow yourself some time to figure out exactly what you need and how it can best benefit you, and then you will be in a much better place with your business. Six Sigma Projects are very effective means of process improvement, but can be even more effective with the addition of process mapping.