High Level Process Mapping

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What is it?

High level process mapping is a tool used to identify, at a “high” level, the most significant steps of a process. Practically everything we do is some kind of process whether it is cleaning up the dishes or parts of our job. A process is a series of activities of inputs and outputs, where the final deliverable(or final output) creates value for the customer. The goal of a high level process map is to connect the various suppliers and their inputs with the process, and the process to the intended customer outputs.

Here are a few tools that help us do this, (Click the tool for more information!)

  • SIPOC (or COPIS) Supplier – Input – Process – Output – Customer: Identify who is the Supplier and what they’re inputting into the process. Contains a summary of the process and what it delivers(Output) to the Customer.
  • Value Stream Map: Map of all the tasks needed, both value-added and non-value added, to complete the process or deliver the product. Helps to identify the non-value added steps in a process.
  • Flow Diagram: Show show a team interacts with each other and what each team member should be doing and when it should be done in comparison to other tasks.
  • Time Charting: Helps identify “valueless” time or waste in a process.


Why Do We Care?

A process map makes it easy for the project lead and team to communicate what aspect of the challenge they are working as well as visually communicate the steps in the process to members not on the team.

Each type of process map may deliver different value, and it is up to you to determine which tool to deploy to best map your problem. But don’t get too anxious, these take very little investment to create and will only increase your understanding of the problem.

Helpful Tips

  • In Lean, you’re encouraged to “Go to the Gemba”, or where the action is happening. Don’t just create a process map from memory, go to where the process is taking place and write down EVERYTHING.
  • Start with the end customer first. Determine: what they need, why they need it, what they do with it, who they get it from, and how they get it. (May also be useful to ask how they prefer to get it). Do this with each step in the process from end to the beginning and log the answers to each of these questions

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