As automation technologies have become more widely adopted, business process automation is crucial to ensuring operational efficiency and maintaining competitiveness. Mapping out your business processes can help you determine which areas are the most complex and where the most opportunity for efficiency lies. Process mapping is a technique used to document and connect processes and workflows, often using a flowchart or diagram. It's a great way to visually identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and opportunities for improvement all at a glance.
First, identify the area and process or set of processes you'd like to map out. List out all of the activities involved, step by step. Here, it's crucial to get input from stakeholders in relevant organizations, as well as the staff carrying out these activities on the ground, in order to incorporate all of the details and work involved. Be sure to include dependencies on other areas, as you'll need to indicate these on the process map as well.
Next, gather all of the staff involved and run through the process map from start to finish. Identify any gaps or missing areas. This is also a great time to get feedback on potential improvements or blockers to these solutions, which can help with designing improvements or automations for the process. Once everyone has generally agreed on the map, analyze the process to find areas which can be improved or streamlined. Look out for areas which require lots of manual work or take up significant amounts of time from staff.