The importance of business process mapping
Neglecting to consider business process mapping is one of the costliest mistakes a business can make during an ERP implementation project.
By assuming that your new software will transform your business without getting to grips with the fundamental day-to-day inner workings, you’re likely to set yourself up for an expensive fall.
Thankfully, this can be avoided with solid business process mapping. This involves clearly defining your processes, how you want things to be in the future and how your ERP software will fit in.
By taking the time to get the basics right, you can save money further down the line and ensure maximum return from your investment.
By creating business process maps, you and your workers can get back to basics and identify weaknesses in your current work patterns.
What is business process mapping?
A business process map is a visual representation of your business processes.
By carrying out business process mapping, you can get a clearer idea of the many operational steps that are taken by your business to provide an end-product or service.
In short, a process map will consider what your business does, whether or not each operational step is necessary or working optimally and what the ideal standard for success looks like.
Once you have done this, you should have a good understanding of your current operations and where you would like to take them in the future with the help of your ERP software.
Ultimately you will have a set of documents that spell our best business practice and where you can head in the future to fine-tune things even more.
Defining your current state of play
It should come as no surprise that in order to arrive at a situation where your processes are in an optimal condition you will need to get a firm grip on your current circumstances.
To do this step correctly, you’ll need to make process maps for every function of your business, starting at the bottom and working your way up. For every functional area, there should be individual, itemised processes that are incorporated into a workflow diagram for easy viewing and analysis.
Future business process mapping
With your process maps relating to current business processes, you can identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies within the system, leading to opportunities for improvement when your new ERP system is in place.
Now you can take your current process maps and create your ideal version to work towards in the future, focusing on making your operations as lean as possible while taking into consideration the future direction of your business.
It is important to note that at this stage you will want to focus purely on process – how your software fits in should be the next consideration.
Here are some points you can focus on:
- Who takes ownership of each task?
- Can you specify and articulate the task precisely?
- Who is the customer?
- Who are the stakeholders involved in each step?
- How can problems with the current process be fixed?
Other benefits of mapping processes
Now that you have your current and future business processes mapped out, you can streamline your business operations to get the most from your ERP investment.
However, it is worth noting just how wide-ranging the benefits are.
First of all, this can help you make an informed choice with ERP software selection – allowing you to make the software work for you rather than the other way around.
It is also useful to keep your process maps as a touch point during the implementation process itself, referring back to them to make sure you are keeping to plan when difficult decisions need to be made.
Finally, your process maps should continue to guide the way once the implementation is complete, setting the standard for your business processes going forward for years to come.
Want to learn more about business process mapping? Our consultants are available to share knowledge and guide you in the right direction. Get in touch here as a first point of contact.