Business Process Mapping
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Business Process Mapping

Improving Customer Satisfaction

J. Mike Jacka, Paulette J. Keller

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eBook - ePub

Business Process Mapping

Improving Customer Satisfaction

J. Mike Jacka, Paulette J. Keller

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About This Book

Praise for Business Process Mapping IMPROVING Customer Satisfaction SECOND EDITION

"A must-read for anyone performing business process mapping! This treasure shares step-by-step approaches and critical success factors, based on years of practical, customer-focused experience. A real winner!" —Timothy R. Holmes, CPA, former General Auditor, American Red Cross

"Paulette and Mike make extensive use of anecdotes and real-life examples to bring alive the topic of business process mapping. From the outset, this book will engage you and draw you into the world of business process mapping. Who would have thought that reading about business process mapping could make you smile? Well, Mike and Paulette can make it happen! Within each chapter, the authors provide detailed examples and exhibits used to document a process. Each chapter also includes a 'Recap' and 'Key Analysis Points' which enable the reader to distill the highlights of the chapter." —Barbara J. Muller, CPA, CFE, Senior Lecturer, School of Accountancy, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University

"Keller and Jacka cut through the drudgery of process mapping with a path-breaking approach that enables the reader to better understand processes, how they work and how they work together toward successful achievement of business objectives. With great style and flair, this book will provide you with a different way of thinking and new tools to assist you in process analysis and improvement. This book is a must-read for auditors, risk managers, quality improvement management, and business process engineers." —Dean Bahrman, VP and Internal Audit Director (Retired), Global Financial Services Companies

"Mike Jacka and Paulette Keller show their expertise with the application of business process mapping in increasing customer service and satisfaction in this updated and expanded edition of this popular book. With clear, practical examples and applications, this book shows the writing talents of both authors, and it will be used over and over by those from all lines of industries and professions. Kudos for a job well done!" —Joan Pastor, PhD, Founding Partner, Licensed Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, JPA International, Inc., Beverly Hills, California

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What Is This Thing Called Process Mapping?
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.
—Douglas Adams

Who Cares about Processes, Anyway?

Most companies spend a great deal of time each year developing strategic objectives and goals. High-level objectives are developed that reflect the overall strategy of the company. Business objectives are then developed at the department level to support overall company objectives. Goals are developed to measure the progress toward achieving particular business objectives. And every employee has individual objectives that support overall strategies.
In a perfect world, there would not be any conflicting goals. All department objectives would actually support the company objectives. Every employee would understand these goals and objectives and understand how the work he or she performs contributes to the achievement of those goals and objectives. The company’s plans would be executed flawlessly and the story would always have a happy ending—the wooden company would become real.
However, such happy endings seem far too rare. Strategic objectives may be developed in isolation—from the top and communicated down. Department objectives may be self-serving and may not support strategic objectives. Department objectives may be in conflict with one another. Employees below the management level may not have any idea what the company’s goals and objectives are or how the work they do contributes to the achievement of those objectives. People only see their own story—follow their plot—and have no idea what is going on around them. They do not always understand the company’s or department’s story, and certainly have no idea how they can help achieve that happy ending.
The accumulation of activities that takes place in each business process is what ultimately determines a company’s success. So processes must be analyzed to ensure that they support key business objectives. Process analysis is particularly useful in ensuring the accomplishment of business objectives relating to customer service, efficiency, effectiveness, and profitability.

“Tell Me a Story”: Analyzing the Process

A vital key to transforming a business is the complete understanding of the processes involved in it. This understanding is necessary for any change management approach to be of value, and it can be included in total quality management, Sarbanes-Oxley analysis, process re-engineering, International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification, and even in developing a Baldrige Award- winning approach. But getting a handle on the processes is one of the more daunting tasks reviewers must face.
However, this task is not unlike the one Disney’s animators faced. The animators had to find a way to transform the narrative Walt Disney had told them into a movie. Likewise, reviewers must find a way to transform the company’s story into a concrete, tangible product that can be viewed, verified, and manipulated. To help understand that story, the reviewer needs a storyteller to bring the stories to life. The animators had Walt Disney; reviewers have the company’s employees. Walt Disney knew Pinocchio’s story inside and out. He would tell it to anyone who would listen. The company’s employees know their stories just as well, and they are willing to tell the details of those stories to anyone who will listen—where things are going right and where the plot is not quite so good. Each employee knows the job and knows the processes that are completed. These are movies that go on constantly in their minds. Although they often have not thought about it, they know the beginning, the transformation, and the end.
The challenge for any reviewer is to get that information and develop a finished product that anyone can look at and understand, not unlike a finished movie. This requires the reviewer to talk with that employee and learn each of the steps—each of the “scenes”—that make up that process. Process Mapping is the technique that helps the reviewer transform that employee’s movie into a finished product that anyone can view and understand.


We’ve already enumerated some of the more obvious benefits of Process Mapping, including better documentation of the review process, the ability to visually represent the process, and an overall view of the various aspects of the process. However, that only scratches the surface.
As previously noted, if the only step taken when developing Process Maps is to graphically document a process, then Process Mapping can become nothing more than glorified flowcharting. Instead, the Process Maps are part of a larger system. When all the steps of this system are used, there are additional benefits that may not be as readily apparent.


In daily life, processes constantly come in conflict as the objectives of one process directly oppose the objectives of another. For example, every workday, millions of individuals climb into their cars to start the process known as going to work. For many, the primary objective of this process is to arrive at work at the proper time. If the individual feels that this primary objective may not be achieved, then speed is at a premium and other objectives fall by the wayside. This individual then runs into a significant conflict with another objective. Municipalities have developed a series of processes intended to ensure achievement of their primary objective related to safe travel. Speed limits, stop signs, and traffic lanes all work together to thwart the time-conscious traveler. The driver’s objective (the need for speed) comes in direct conflict with the municipality’s objective (the need for safety).
In every aspect of our lives, every process is forced to interrelate with other, coexisting processes. The same is true in business. To meet the objectives of keeping shareholders, customers, and employees happy, executives and managers must juggle conflicting priorities—the objective of paying expenses comes in conflict with the objective of making a profit; the objective of keeping employees satisfied comes in conflict with reducing expenses; and the objective of making a top-quality product comes in conflict with the customer’s objective of paying a low price.
Far too often, analysis is done “in a vacuum” without considering how these processes interrelate. Reviewers will talk to one person or one function and find what works best for that single perspective. As a result, the reviewers may focus on one set of objectives at the expense of another. This analysis in a vacuum far too easily provides benefits to one while taking from another.
Process Mapping provides a method for taking a holistic approach to this analysis. Before sitting and talking with people, the reviewer gains a full understanding of the process’s objectives and how they interrelate with the company’s overall objectives. The objective of each part of the process is also reviewed to ensure that it benefits some greater objective. And, when identifying and recommending changes, the reviewer will keep all these objectives in mind to ensure that the effect of this change is fully understood.
By looking at the whole picture and integrating the various parts, the reviewer sees not only what needs to be changed, but also how the proposed change will affect everyone. With an overall view, the benefits for one can be weighed against the detriments to another, and the ultimate good can be appropriately considered.

Employees’ Buy-In

Too many reviewers come in with the mind-set that management must be pleased. Often, reviewers have preconceived notions of what they will find. And even if the reviewer is open-minded, the review is often done in isolation from the employees. Discussions may be held with management. There may be reviews of procedure. Files may even be reviewed. But the people actually doing the work are never brought into the picture.
Even if discussions are held with line personnel, the ultimate product may still be geared toward management or executives. Many reviewers obtain information on how things are supposed to be done, but they do not use the employee as a resource for understanding how things are really done or how they can be improved. And employees are not so slow-witted as to misunderstand what is happening. They recognize that reviewers are often in the room, but not listening.
Process Mapping allows a true buy-in to the completed product. Maps are developed in real time, and the employee can see exactly what is being recorded. They are developed in an interactive atmosphere that allows the employee to physically change what is occurring. Plus, it allows them to provide input on where the system can be improved. In our experience, we have gone back to offices where employees were excited about the process. They told new employees about the review that was going to be completed and looked forward to their turn to talk to us.
Despite the fears previously addressed, employees are still happy to have someone actually listen to them. They have a story to tell. That story can take up to eight or more hours of their life each day. And when someone actually listens, they are more than willing to share. We have had employees share ideas that changed the way processes worked throughout the company. They were willing to tell anyone who would listen—it is just that no one was listening.
One of the biggest mistakes we made when first implementing Process Mapping was something as simple as not sharing the finished product with all employees. We discussed the results with the manager and supervisors, giving them the completed maps. We left assuming that they would share the information. In short order, we heard from the employees that they were very upset. They wanted copies of the completed maps. Even those who had only a small part in the process were interested. It was a product they helped develop. They had ownership, and the owners wanted their product. Ever since, we always make a point of ensuring that all employees are provided with the final product.

Sense of Pride

The previous two benefits lead to the third benefit of Process Mapping. Many employees come to work and understand what they do (their story). They take something, transform it, and make it something else. Some are lucky enough to actually interact with customers and see the effect of what they do. But many see only that input and output.
Process Mapping not only provides management with an overall view of operations, but also provides employees with a view of how their work adds value and how they are part of a team. The holistic approach allows them to see where their work comes from. They can see the steps that lead to the product they receive and understand the work that has gone before. They can also see why they are doing what they do. Each step in the process should lead to further steps in the map. Eventually, this should lead to a final benefit to the customer. Process Mapping is often the first time employees understand why they are doing the work they do. It helps them understand why a bothersome statistic they are required to generate is important to a report that drives future customer transactions. Or it may show why they should not use a certain code they thought would make things run smoother.
In the book Gung Ho!, Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles talk about the “spirit of the squirrel”—the need for people to believe their work is worthwhile. They go on to state that worthwhile means that people must understand their work; it must lead to a well-understood and shared goal; and values must guide everything they do in their work. Basic to all of this is that people must understand how their work makes the world a better place.
For some jobs, this is easy. Doctors see their patients become healthier, pilots know they take people safely from one place to another, and politicians . . . well, let’s not press it. Other jobs seem so menial or useless that people only think they are part of a cog that makes larger cogs. But looked at as part of a greater process, any job takes on meaning. On one level, the file clerk may only be pushing paper, but on another level, he is ensuring that paperwork is available when decisions must be made. On one level, the janitor handles trash and dirt, but on another level, he is ensuring that the people in the building can achieve their work at its highest level. On one level, the factory worker just puts rivets in metal, but on another level he ensures that the product meets customer specifications in order to achieve customer satisfaction. Process Mapping, done correctly, helps provide the information that will show employees the true value of their jobs.
During one review, we asked employees what their work accomplished. They were not able to tell us. In fact, they told us that when they asked their supervisor why they did the things they did, they were told, “You don’t need to know.” We showed them how their work fit in with the overall process. Not only did it provide them with a sense that their work accomplished something, but also it led them to suggest changes and elimination of paperwork that cut days off the processing time. Not bad for a bunch of clerks.


If a process leads to completion of an output that nobody wants, it is a waste of time—there is no customer. The success...

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