Process Mapping

TermiKnowledge - Supply Chain, Procurement and Inventory Terminologies
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Process Mapping is the mapping of activities associated with production, gathering of materials, collecting data, packaging and labeling them for effective usage, and finally delivering them to customers. In this process, data is extracted through various activities and is used to create product requirements and plans according to the business requirements of the organization. Business process modeling also refers to the activities involved in setting up a company's processes, identifying who is in charge, to what extent a company process is to be carried out, and how achieving the objectives of a company can be measured. A prime example of this process is Procurement. In Procurement, companies are required to purchase raw materials, products, and other goods and equipments that they will eventually use and/or deliver to end-users in exchange for payment for these items.

Each stage in the process mapping activity represents a discrete step along the execution path of the project. Thus, there are four stages in each process: planning, decision making, process execution, and control or monitoring. Each step in the planning stage includes questions asked by the users and the like, while the next two stages deal specifically with inputs from the users and their corresponding actions. The final stage in the process mapping activity contains the feedback received from the users, which are used to modify or enhance processes depending on the feedback. Process mapping is very useful in decision making because it identifies problems in the plans, which need to be corrected before proceeding further. It also identifies bottlenecks in the processes identified by the process mapping.

Process mapping enables better understanding of workflow, which is inherent to supply chain management. Workflow is a complex set of processes involving supervision, automation, and communication between various parts within an organization. Workflow models describe the operations of a certain workflow which includes all its stages and their interactions. The stages that are often considered to be involved in the workflow are the planning stage, the decision making stage, the action stage, and the controlling or monitoring stage. A process that is mapped out provides a clear picture of how such a workflow functions, enabling better understanding on how to supervise the workflow, control its processes, and make any changes that may be required. This helps improve the organizational performance by improving overall production quality.

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