What You Need to Know Before Drawing a Business Process Flow Diagram
A simple and effective method to help run your company is visualising your business processes. This means breaking them down into manageable tasks and linking them together to form a flow chart of all the required work. These business process flow diagrams allow you to understand better all the tasks/jobs/procedures that make up your company.
So what exactly is a business process flow diagram? What advantages do they offer? And how can you go about making one?
What is a Business Process Flow Diagram?
Business process flow diagrams map out every step a company takes within a specific process. This could be hiring a new employee, fulfilling customer requests, marketing and generating new leads, or shipping a product. Business process flow diagrams are a simple method for representing these processes visually and clearly showing each stage that requires completion before moving on to the next.
The processes that make up your business operations are specific to you. But reducing them to their component tasks is universal to all businesses, and diagrams are a great way to organise them.
A typical business process flow diagram contains symbols for different tasks (activity, decision, etc.) and workflow arrows. You can assign each task to a specific employee, attach relevant documentation (guidelines, compliance requirements, etc.), and set deadlines.
While this is a simple approach for getting started, business process flow diagrams can get more complex and bespoke to match your company. For example, you can implement more detailed process maps or cross-functional flowcharts. Each of these takes the approach discussed above and adds new layers to provide more functionality for overcoming specific challenges.
Advantages of a Business Process Flow Diagram
Using diagrams to represent the steps involved for each process offers businesses a range of advantages:
Communication – visually mapping your processes leads to a greater understanding of the work required, simplifying communication and collaboration between team members, stakeholders, external consultants, and customers.
Training – business process flow diagrams are great for training employees and teaching them the ins and outs of a new process.
Process Improvement – creating business process flow diagrams allows you to analyse their performance and better understand potential bottlenecks as well as areas where efficiency can be improved.
Processes Standardisation – diagrams can also help standardise processes across your entire organisation, ensuring you have successful, repeatable procedures.
Internal Audits – businesses can use workflow diagrams in internal audits to ensure they are aligned with their company mission and meet expected standards.
Compliance – business process flow diagrams play an essential role in meeting many compliance standards, including ISO 9000 certification, for example.
Accountability – with a clear depiction of your company’s processes, employees’ roles and responsibilities are known, creating a culture of greater accountability amongst staff.
How to Make a Business Process Flow Diagram
Drawing business process flow diagrams can require significant time and effort, but the benefits you receive are worth the investment. Here is a series of steps you should undergo to produce helpful business process flow diagrams that will make a real difference to your company:
1. Identify the Processes You Want to map
Clearly define the process or processes that you are going to produce a diagram for. Where do you want to start? Is there a process currently underperforming? Perhaps you want to focus on what will make the most difference to your customers?
Gather as much information as possible about the process. This means observing and studying every step in detail and interviewing all the participants and stakeholders involved. Good questions to ask yourself are:
What is the goal of the process?
What are the beginning and endpoints of the process?
How do you get from to the other? What are the steps in between?
Can you list every input and output of the process?
3. Draw the Diagram
Organise every step sequentially and add workflow arrows between each task involved. Finally, make sure you document everything in your chosen software for future analysis.
4. Analyse your Diagram
Once you’ve completed your diagram, you need to go back and analyse it. Does it encapsulate everything required for a successful business process? Are there areas for improvement? Can you streamline your business processes and remove unnecessary steps?
5. Review and Monitor your Business Process Flow Diagrams
Don’t just implement your business process flow diagrams and forget about them. Instead, use them to constantly monitor your business processes and look for improvements. For example, do bottlenecks continually occur at the same step? Are there steps that can be automated, reducing the workload on your employees and allowing them to focus on more meaningful tasks?
Workflowsoft is a visual process automation service ideal for designing business process flow diagrams. Try a 14-day free trial and learn how to improve your operations and develop business process flow diagrams that make a real difference for your company.