Jump to content
Click here to know about ONLINE Lean Six Sigma Certiifcation ×
  • 0

Process Mapping


Process Mapping - is a diagrammatic representation of the flow of information and/or material in a process. It depicts all the process steps and the decisions taken in the process. Flowchart is the most common form of a process map.

Swim Lane Mapping - is a type of process map which is useful when the process spans across multiple teams / departments / units. Each swim lane represents one department and steps done by that department are captured in its lane. This helps in clearly identifying the doer of the step and also helps in identifying the handoffs in the process. The lanes may be arranged horizontally or vertically.

Value Stream Map (VSM) - is used to understand the flow of materials and information through the value stream to produce a product or service to a customer. A value stream map tends to be a macro-level map and contains much more information at each step than in a normal process map (e.g. wait time, cycle time, inventory, quality, number of people etc.). It is commonly used to analyse the current state to identify opportunities for improvement and thereafter designing the future state of a process.



An application oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by Arunesh Ramalingam on 9th October 2017. 




There are several types of process maps varying in their objectives and detailing. SIPOC, swimlane, value stream maps are some of them. If you had to suggest a sequential series for process mapping in an organization with increasing level of detailing, what will your suggestion be? 


Note for website visitors - Two questions are asked every week on this platform. One on Tuesday and the other on Friday.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

  • 0

The process mapping techniques in increasing order of difficulty that I would recommend are as follows:


Difficulty Level

Process Map Technique


Sub-categories within a Technique

Level 1




Level 2


Process Mapping


  1. Top-down Flowchart (or) High Level Process Map
  2. Deployment Flowchart with Relationship Map
  3. Detailed Flowchart

Level 3

Swim Lanes



Level 4

Value Stream Map or Material and Information Flow Diagrams


  1. Current State Mapping
  2. Future State Mapping
  3. Gap Mapping & Action List


Level 5

Key Process Input/Output (KPIV/KPOV) Mapping




A brief explanation of each technique:

1.    SIPOC/ SIPOC -R: Supplier Input Process Output Customer – Requirement

  • Simple layout that shows what the process accomplishes while identifying the key players proving a starting point for discussion.
  • Shows a few high-level process steps, required Input and Providers(Suppliers) and process Outputs and recipients (Customers)
  • SIPOC-R is a variation on the SIPOC in which the requirements (or specifications) for the inputs and outputs are listed


2.    Process Mapping

a.       Top-down Flowchart (or) High Level Process Map

  • It is the expansion of the centre “process” from the SIPOC into six to seven more detailed boxes.
  • Depicts the process in just a few steps providing quick and easy insights into what the process does (the major clusters of activity are) without getting into the details of how it’s done.
  • Useful when communicating to leadership who do not need the details.

b.       Deployment Flowchart

  • The deployment chart shows both "what" the process does and "who" are the people involved
  • Relationship Map may be drawn to show the participants and how materials, paper or information flows between them.
  • It is a combination of the top-down flowchart and relation map.
  • It helps answer questions like – if right people are involved at right time, or if there are a lot of people and hand offs or if there are barriers between people who med to collaborate.

c.       Detailed Flowchart

  • This provides additional details regarding the process like – each process step actions in detail to identify redundancies and wasted efforts and result of non-standard events.
  • This can help understand process that has built up needless complexity, but is time consuming.


3.    Swim Lanes

  • A Swim Lane Map is used to better understand a process that crosses organizational, or departmental boundaries.
  • It is at the same hierarchical level as the process map.
  • It is used to show the flow of information/material between different organizations.
  • This type of map is essential in showing “handoffs” between organizations, thus helping to understand failure points.
  • It should contain all communication path, decision trees or handoffs, as these causes disconnects and failures.


4.    Value Stream Map or Material and Information Flow Diagrams

  • It is used to display the current state of the process including material flows, information flows and other information.
  • This Value Stream map is used to better understand the value created, as well as “not created” –  VA, NVA, ENVA in each of the process steps.
  • It includes performance metrics from the individual processes and steps.

a. Current State Mapping – “AS IS” mapping of the process.

b. Future State Mapping – mapping the future process as per strategic planning.

c. Gap Mapping & Action List - The Gap Map identifies the gap or distance in the performance metrics from current "AS IS" state to future planned state and shows the course of actions to be taken to improve the metrics.


5.    Key Process Input/Output (KPIV/KPOV) Mapping

  • Using the Process Flow Map or Swim Lane Map, per key strategic objectives, the area for improvement is identified.
  • Once the target section of the process flow is identified, a standard block flow diagram of the supporting steps in that process is created.
  • Critical Inputs (KPIV) needed for and critical outputs (KPOV) delivered by the steps are documented.
  • The KPIV would contain potential root causes of an issue identified through RCA tools. Like “5 Why” analysis, Pareto diagrams, Fishbone diagrams and so on.

1.   https://www.processexcellencenetwork.com/lean-six-sigma-business-transformation/articles/process-mapping-with-flowcharts
2.   https://goleansixsigma.com/6-process-maps-know-choose-right-one/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1

Of the various types of Process Maps that are being used, I would focus my discussion on four of them. Viz. High level Process flow diagram, Swim lane Process map, SIPOC and Value Stream Mapping. However, the objective of each one of these mapping are also different. I will try to explain each as follows:




The order of usage could be debatable, with some suggesting that we may start with SIPOC and then move into detailed work flow, Swimlane mapping and Value Stream to be done, when we want to do a lean study. 


I would recommend that we start with the simplest method, i.e. the high level process map, then enhance it to a swim lane mapping with responsibilities included. The SIPOC may then be developed. It would be a good idea to maintain the Swim lane mapping and the SIPOC for the specific advantages that each one is offering. The VSM will certainly require higher skills, insight and information gathering. Hence, the VSM should be a task that needs to be undertaken once we decide to do a Lean study and are prepared to undertake the same.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1

Process Maps


A Simplistic view of SIPOC, Swimlane and Value Stream provided here. Let us take a deep understanding of each one








Value Stream



Focus on identifying the start and end points (boundaries) of a process flow(map)

Focus on identifying which process steps/processes in a process flow(map) are taken care by which department or by whom

Focus on identifying the value adding , value enabling and non value adding process steps/processes in a process flow(map)




It is a process map in which the start and end point (boundaries) are known.        

SIPOC stands for Supplier –Input- Process- Output–Customer.  Often this is the most used form of process map, to depict the end-to-end process flow of the product/service that an organisation makes/provides.  In a Six Sigma parlour, SIPOC is also called as COPIS, to give customer the preference,  to stress out the importance on out-side in perspective (thinking from customer perspective).

Let us take an example of an IT development project.  A Service provider is developing a web-based application to a retail customer. A zero level (high level) process map can be seen here


Zero-level process map




The above process map can be further sub divided into next level- level-1.


Level -1 process map




There can be a next level (level-2) . That could be code having defects and a rework coming to the developers. Let us see that level of details using a swimlane process map.



It shows who or which department or team is responsible for each of the the sub-processes or the process steps in a process flow.




As we can see the swimlane here as a horizontal division. The swimlane can also have a vertical division as well.


Value Stream:

It identifies the sub-processes or process steps in a process flow that are value adding, value enabling and non value adding.  For example, let us consider the following example. For the moment let us ignore the time taken for each process step. Our focus is to highlight the value added, value enabling and non-value adding process steps in a process flow.




Colour Legend:

Green – Value added steps; Blue – Value enabling steps; Red-Non value adding steps.

Now we identified this process is having a waste step and a value enabler activity. Can we improve upon this ? 


Now all processing steps became value added steps. With automated unit testing and automated system testing, high quality product is produced. This is a hypothetical case to demonstrate the value stream map's purpose (does not mean that automation should necessarily bring down the defects rate). 


Now what if the code review happens manually, why cannot we make use of static code analyser tools such as Checkstyle, PMD, Findbug, SonarQ....  Again we can expand the above diagram and split Code - Code Development and Code Review . Then eliminate the manual review with automation using one of (or all of )the aforementioned tools or any other tool that can help you on that.  So you can expand or go deep into your process, till you feel you have eliminated waste steps in your process flow.


Which of these three process maps can be used for detailing your activities or process steps?

The answer to this question depends on how your problem is ? Do you just need to expand your processing steps so that stakeholders need to know how it works ? Do you need to know who is responsible/accountable for each step of your process flow ? Does your organisation need a fix to avoid waste in your process for which you need to identify unnecessary process steps?  The solution for each of these questions will determine what type of process map you need to have detailed out.


SIPOC:  Use it when the stakeholders need to understand the full steps involved in a process.  Stakeholders could be project team, project sponsors, customers, senior mgmt (other than sponsors) or any other affected parties (positively or negatively because of the project). This is one of the most used after process map diagram.


Swimlane:  As can be seen in the swimlane diagram, in case , when we want to know the person/team who is involved in a particular sub process or process steps, then we would explore using this process mapping technique.


Value Stream:  

As we saw in the example, we use value stream when we want to know what are the sub processes or process steps of a    process flow, that are needed and what is not needed and what are the process steps (or sub processes) that might act as enablers to the needed ones. In case , where there is a need for improvement for sub-processes then we take a deep dive to find out where the non-value added activities or process steps are present and eliminate them



While SIPOC is a normally used process map,  to detail out at multiple levels, there are swimlane and Value Stream maps as well  that can be used for detailing. Swimlane can be used to detail out the processing steps when explicitly we want to know as who is responsible for those processing steps. Value Stream helps in fixing waste processing steps at a detailed  level and also provides value added processing steps.  


Hence concluding with the fact that detailing of process steps or sub processes in a process map can happen with any one of the 3 process maps – SIPOC, Swim lane, Value Stream though it depends on the situation or primarily the need of the customer.








Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1


At the outset, any project to be conceptualized, there is a requirement to identify the core process and the people / departments / institutions that need to be working together.  For this purpose a combination of High Level Map and a Relational Map would be ideal.  



The next step would be to identify the inputs and outputs of the process with clarity as to the suppliers, their inputs to the process and the output of the process and the customer who will receive the output/s.  Most times the process needs to also cater to exact requirements in terms of specific date for the output and the actual quality delivered by the process.  These can be achieved by using SIPOC and SIPOC-R. 



As the project proceeds to the execution stage, it is essential to keep monitoring the process as planned.  The use of High Level Process Map will achieve this purpose.  There are possibilities that the process may experience some niggles in the process.  To ease out the process one can use Detailed Process Map which can actually identify value added steps in the process as this may not be possible using the High Level Process Map.

To address these steps which could be identified for course correction on a Departmentwise manner, a structured approach is needed.  Swimlane Map will achieve this purpose as it will also identify clear handover steps.


Improvement / Future expansion:

Once the project is moving on in stable manner further improvement of the process would be possible with identification of gaps and steps were one can increase process efficiency.  Also reduction in Work in Progress and Inventory can be achieved at this stage.  In order to achieve this the Value Stream Mapping can be used.  This gives a lot of information while capturing the process as well as identify steps for introduction of PULL.


In Conclusion

Finally, if an organization is to use these tools in an increasing order of detail as well as in a phasewise manner, the following sequential order would achieve the most.

1)  Combination of High Level Map / Relational Map


3)  High Level Process Map,  Detailed Process Map & Swimlane Map

4)  Value Stream Map

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

The reasons why the humble flow chart evolved into the powerful process map lies in the analogy between the process map and the geographical map. Just as a location on a map is referenced by its latitude and longitude, a process step in a process map is referenced by a combination of (say) the person / team doing that step and the stage of the process in which that step occurs. The references could be also be different – for example, a timeline could be one of the references. These references or the facility to reference a process step constitute the life of a process map.


Now that this facility to reference is here to stay, swim lanes, be they horizontal, vertical or both are also an inseparable part of the process map. It does not matter as to which position in the sequence of detailing the process map is. Swim lanes make the process map easier to read and use. Therefore, it would be advisable to create and update one full set of swim-lane process maps from L0 to L5 levels.


In the ITeS sector and in a typical BPO scenario, would use the following sequence of increased detailing.






Entity Level

Customer, Supplier, Other External Parties


Sub-entity Level

Different Departments of the Customer and Supplier, Other External Parties


Process / Sub-process Level

Interactions of different processes or sub-processes with hand-ins and hand-outs


Activity Level

Activities done by different stakeholders at different stages of the process


Task / Sub-task level

Various tasks or sub-tasks that constitute activities


Field / Key-stroke level

Absolute detail of every field touched or every key struck


This set of process maps for every process is valuable as a training tool, as a real-time guide or SOP and as a trigger to identify improvement opportunities.


To augment the above, would also use an enhanced SIPOC that contains apart from the usual Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Output and Customers, related information like process step times, who does what step, the team size and distribution across shifts, the average volumes of these transactions, the qualifications of staff for this process, the training required and so on.


Other maps can be used to explain a specific perspective or to support a specific initiative. A turtle diagram or alternatively a Relationship Map can be used to understand at a glance, interlinks and dependencies. A value-stream map could be used to identify opportunities for leaning out a process by crashing lead-time.


Overall, a simple, situation-based approach to selection of process map types for use would help in optimal utilization of this wonderful tool.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Hi All – Good day,

My answer to question what would be the sequential series for process mapping in an organization with increasing level of detailing is that:

1. SIPOC (Level 1 process map): This will give the sky view of the end to end business detail to the end user. i.e. Supplier – Input – Process – Output - Customer

Now I will be working on “P” of SIPOC i.e. Process. This stage of SIPOC can be explained in 3 different layers. Details are given below:

2. Top down flow chart (Level 2 process map): where the flow of process is drawn either using Visio or in any other M S application by using commonly used symbols in flow chart.

  • Arrow - Direction of flow from one step or decision to another.

  • Diamond - Decision based on a question. The question is written in the diamond. More than one arrow goes out of the diamond, each one showing the direction the process takes for a given answer to the question. (Often the answers are “ yes” and “ no.”)

  • Semi-circle - Delay or wait

  • Circle - Link to another page or another flowchart. The same symbol on the other page indicates that the flow continues there.

  • Rounded rectangle or oval - Alternate symbols for start and end points

3. Swim Lane Flow Chart / Cross functional flow chart (Level 3 and Level 4 process map): is a visual element used in process flow diagrams, or flowcharts, that visually distinguishes job sharing and responsibilities for sub-processes of a business process. Swim lanes may be arranged either horizontally or vertically. The purpose of this process map is to define the boundary of the process and may be identify the voice of the customer. Generally, this type of flow chart can be used at 3 different level and this level differ from organization to organization:

  • Level 3: Provides the details at end to end of the process at different department including roles of the department, Input of the department and Output of the department

  • Level 4: Details in this level of process map is almost same as the steps mentioned in Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

4. Value stream process map (Level 5): This is a lean manufacturing or lean enterprise technique used to document, analyze and improve the flow of information or materials required to produce a product or service for a customer. The purpose of value stream process map is to identify waste between and within the process or process steps. These are detailed process mapping focus on both time stamp and material flow to identify value added steps and non-value-added steps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

I would suggest value stream map for a sequential series process mapping in an organization with increased level of detailing, because a value stream is"all the actions(both value added and non value added currently required to bring a product through the main flows essential to every product:

1. Production flow from raw material into the arms of the customer

2. Design flow from concept to launch

So Value stream mapping is simply an illustration of the sequential activities that take place within value stream. at each step of the map the practitioner evaluates whether value is being created and whether one or more of the waste exist, so the purpose of the value stream map is to identify those activities that add value and those that create waste, with the latter being targets for elimination.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Below are the suggested process maps in a sequence

1. SIPOC: Provides an highlevel idea of the process identifying its suppliers and customers

2. Process flow chart: further expanding the "P" in SIPOC to provide more detailing like decision boxes

3. Swimlane diagrams: organizing the flow chart in sections like departments, areas etc and providing a cross functional view.

4. Value stream maps: providing how value flows in the process

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Process map is a graphical representation of processes followed in any organisation. Process maps help us to:

1. Gain insight into the processes

2. Understand if there are any bottlenecks or repetitions

3. Brainstorm to check if there are any delays or NVA processes

4. Improve efficiency 


Different representation like SIPOC, Swimlanes, Value Stream maps have their own advantages and are used accordingly. SIPOC for example is used for high level process mapping during the define stage of the a six sigma project. Swimlanes diagrams are used when we need to break down the sub processes and check who on an individual or a functional level responsible for the process task. Value stream maps help us to understand and differentiate between the Va and NVA process tasks.


Use and application of the process maps needs to done according to our requirements.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

I have limited exposure to the "variety" in Process/Business Activity diagrams; however will attempt to share what i learned on this subject:

SIPOC and Product Charts are one of the most basic Process Map Capturing tools. They identify the key stakeholders and establishes their presence and involvement in the stated activity. Most of the associates in organizations can easily relate to and prepare these diagrams.

In a Flow Chart(5000 ft view), we capture the movement of information and material at a Micro Level. A Time Motion Study if overlapped with the Flow chart, makes it even more useful.

A Swimlane brings clarity to “Who does What” : i.e Role & Responsibility distribution.

However, the Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is looked at as a “Higher level work flow capture (30000 ft view)” which could encompass: Several Processes which might be interlinked and looking at this level sometimes yields Improvement Opportunities which otherwise are difficult to capture at a Flow Chart/Swim lane level. Experienced this while working with HSBC.

It’s very important to make as many aspects of a Process/Business visible, as it would simplify the ease of Operation. This also helps pick up  Improvement Opportunities on an ongoing basis: Continuous Improvement.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Organization has to start with SIPOC which is bird eye view of the overall process. SIPOC helps to understand overall end to end process starting from understanding who all are the suppliers for the process, what all inputs comes in to the process, what all process gets executed, to convert the inputs to valuable output, what all are the outputs of the processes and who all are the customers of the processes.  Second step would be to arrive at swim lane, which focusses on various interactions that happen between various departments or processes of functions within the organization. This help to understand the need of key collaboration across various functions involved. Next steps would be to study the value flow across the processes. Value Stream Mapping helps to chart down complete process breaking down every conceivable process steps, assessing if every element of the processes adds value to the customer or not. Also analyzing the cycle time of every process element. These analysis outcomes about value proposition and the time spent in the process steps together helps to make decision about the need of optimizing current process by possibly eliminating the process step, or reduce time spent on it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

The Graham process mapping methods has been the Business Analytics choice for business process analytics since 1946.GPM is an affordable process mapping tool that makes it easy for you to understand.improve and manage business process .by using it it will tell the story of the process .Maps taht tell the reaader what is goi g on, what items are used, who is doing the work , where the work is being done and how long it takes.

No other type of process charts supports decision making analysis, training and procedure writing as effectively as Graham process maps .

The structure helps you to prepare process maps quickly and consistently.its helps in strong foundation for continuous improvement.

It has eight basic symbols add as attachement .








Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

For any type of industry be it manufacturing, service or administrative, process flowchart which is a generic tool can be adopted for a wide range of purposes. The process flowchart depicts or is a visual representation of separate steps of a process in sequential order. There are many variations of a process flow chart: macro flowchart, top down flowchart, micro flowchart, service map flowchart, deployment flowchart etc. Different elements that can be included are sequence of actions, Inputs and outputs to the process, decisions to be made in the process and key people who may be involved in the process. The advantages of using the flowchart are it helps in better understanding of the process, better communication, better documentation and better planning. It is mainly used to define high level processes. Adding low-level processes can lead to confusion in reading the flowchart.

Cross functional flowchart or swim lane flowchart, on the other hand, visually groups processes and decisions by placing them in lanes. Parallel lines divide the chart into lanes, with one lane for each person, group or sub process and used when business process involves more than one department. It shows interaction between departments. Additional components to a process can also be added like roles and responsibilities. So this helps in showing who and what work is being done.  They also help in defining the time frame, i.e. which process is likely to take what time. It can be used for both high level and low level processes.

So swim lane flow chart is recommended to be used where minute detailing along with roles and responsibilities needs to be charted out across various departments to ensure proper & good process management.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

There are various types of process mapping, but we can categorize them in mainly 5 groups.

        1.       SIPOC

        2.       High Level Process Map/Flow chart

        3.       Detailed process Map

        4.       Swim Lane Map

        5.       Value steam Mapping


SIPOC:-  SIPOC stands for Supplier – Inputs – Process – Outputs – Customer

·         The required inputs (and their providers) are listed to the left, and the key process outputs (and their recipients) are listed to the right. The SIPOC provides a focus for discussion of what the process is all about.

·         With SIPOC we will be able to know who supplies to process, what is the output of the process? What are requirements of a customer?

·         It is recommended to have a SIPOC for every project because they are helpful when discussing the process with others and simple to make.







High Level Process Maps/High level Flow chart:-


It provides an overview of the processes and objectives that drive an organization. The purpose is to provide quick and easy insights into what the process does, without getting into the details of how it’s done.






Detailed Process Map/ Detailed Flow chart:-


While studying the high level process map, if we want to get more detail of a particular process. We may need to make a details process map for that process.




Swim lane Map:-


Swim lanes is a technique used in process mapping to simplify the work procedure. The process is divided into several swim lanes. These are represented by the different people that will perform that job.

Detailed process maps are often prepared in the swim lane format. This is because often there are multiple detailed process maps. Keeping track of who is supposed to do what may get confusing. Swim lanes help to simplify them.





Value Stream Map:-



VSMs are typically used in Lean applications. They are rich with information that is useful when planning process improvements.  Value Stream Maps are sometimes called Material and Information Flow Diagrams. With value stream map we can see how material is moving from one process to another and how information is flowing. We can also see WIPs and its level.

We can get relevant process details such as cycle time, change over time,etc.

What is the wait time for information/product can also be gathered from a value stream map.

They require more skill to build than simpler process maps, but they provide great information.





Below is the summary of various process maps.


Process Mapping

When It is used


to get overview of what are inputs/outputs,

what are customers’ requirements

High level process Map

Shows how the process works

Detailed process Map

To get deep understanding of the process

Swim Lane Maps

It shows which department is is involved with how much intensity in that process

Value stream mapping

It is the ultimate process map, which gives all the relevant detail about the process.



For me Value stream mapping is the best template to do a process mapping.



Now for an organization which is new to these tools, or for an organization which I am not aware of I will follow below sequence of process mapping.






Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

The balance score card advises as to how the customers, the organisation's finances, the up skilling of the staff and internal process should align to create a value add to the service/product. Mapping is the tool which encourages the way a score card is maintained, worked upon and designed.

Hierarchy of work in an organization is the layout which explains as to how a work moves from the time an order is placed till its delivery.


Tasks  -> Activity -> Process -> Value Chain is the flow realized.


Basis on the level of work, level of understanding needed, level of involvement, value addition and timelines in an organisation, the below table sheds some light.








 A specific unit of work required to create an output


 A group of tasks required to conceptualize an output

 Activities aligning to create a flow intending to deliver an confirmed output

 A series of processes strategically looped in to create a value addition to the product /service      


Required to carry out work FUNCTIONAL


 Required enough to Quality check the work COMMON

 Required enough to guide the output


 Required enough to validate and verify the outcome



Efficiency, utilization

Quality, Customer satisfaction

 Process improvement measures

Revenue and Profits

 PEOPLE involved are 




 Leadership and Functional


  Flow chart, RACI table, SOP-JD Matrix

  Process Map, Swimlane, Gantt chart

 VSM, Process Map, FMEA, Spaghetti diagrams

  SIPOC, Readiness review, Criteria quadrants, Risk assessment, Org chart


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Process Mapping is the mandatory first step for every team that wants to embark on a new Process / Activity or Redefine/ Correct a current ongoing Process/ Activity.

Mapping a Process at the beginning of the project by itself is Value add activity that helps to:

-       Define the process- provides an end to end visibility of the process- The objective is the driver

-       Team Building and Bonding- A job done together with sincere involvement from the beginning, receives wholehearted input and support from all participants of the group.- Well organised mapping sessions can put forth worthwhile recommendations that would not have been evident otherwise.

-       Responsibility and accountability is defined – Thus catalysing the success of the project

-       Highlight compliance and scope for improvement- especially when the project is to enhance an ongoing process.

-       Identification and mitigation of possible risks.

-       Support Operational Excellence, as well planned process maps helps to identify and negate most of the  operational hazards during the mapping stage – Training need, Automation need , Data formatting, MIS, etc id derived with every step that is mapped towards the process objective.

Thus process mapping can conserve timehelp to standardise processes and control costs in the organisation, thus adding value!!


In the QSR industry, which is close to the retail segment, “Detailing” is of great importance.


“Productivity and efficiency can be achieved only step by step with sustained hard work, relentless attention to details and insistence on the highest standards of quality and performance.”- JRD Tata


As aptly put in by Sir JRD Tata- It is important to be attentive to details that will deliver impetus to high quality and performance with standardisation. Having said that we must keep in mind that a step by step approach helps to augment the process in a better way as the value stream can be designed better by supplementing each new step with a tried and tested previous step.

With experience, I have learnt that the most common error that happens during a process mapping session is that people dive into improving the process before even completion of mapping- It is a natural tendency to try to correct a process just after detecting a defect. However, it is practical to define a Macro level representation of the “As is” status or the desired process, before trying to get it 100% accurate. “Seeing” the whole picture helps to make informed decisions about what you want to change or do.


Hence,Whenever I am starting a new project, I always keep in mind that the best place to start is NOW and capturing the current “as is picture” – always, keeping the objective in sight.




I always start with the SIPOC diagram to ensure that the project team relates itself with the process outputs and it’s customers. It is very important to consider the voice of the customer to be successful in business. SIPOC give a macro level perspective for a new process to be mapped or an existing process deemed for enhancement.

During the making of the SIPOC, especially in an existing process, it is best to capture all obtainable information, without directly relating to any part of the process through brainstorming and tabulate in the vertical format (unrelated method) to be able to get an overall scope for defining or redesigning the process.

To make lower level detailed mapping a horizontal table (Swim Lane method) needs to be drafted to accommodate information directly related to the process. This helps to evaluate the outcome and the requirement of resource etc. and helps to estimate the scope of ROI in value and time. So the SIPOC acts as a dynamic tool to create a script of the “As is stage” and an accepted new approach to change wherever viable.


Once the activities (Boxes) are planned for the process - It is best to follow the value stream method as:

-       Being a group exercise, the involvement is high

-       It is easy to learn and follow up as it portrays the process from the start of the activity to the end with visual representations.

-       It helps to identify bottlenecks ,and wastes within the process

-       Easy to document the transitional changes and thus analyse impact

-       Not expensive, as it can be done on paper- However, it is worth investing in technology. It is always convenient to use mapping tools like Microsoft Visio. There are other software / layout engines also with more functions, which are compatible with Excel for uploads and download of formats. Thus making it user friendly at all cadres of workforce.

-       Responsibility and accountability is defined at every process step – Thus catalysing the success of the project

-       Using software is also beneficial as only with a little bit of training on Value stream mapping Icons- Maps are easy to understand , PRINT and convey the process to all levels of workforce in pictorial fashion / Flowcharts through posters or wall hanging process charts. Wall hung placards with Process charts are very common in modern QSRs and called as station guides.

The Value stream mapping should be done downstream during planning phase and should be evaluated upstream, to ensure that the customer gets value for money. Providing value for money is the key way to provide customer satisfaction- roadway to successful Business!!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Process Mapping: 


Process mapping is a process of identifying the steps of a process almost in detail to see and understand the sequence, relationship and criticality of the process steps. 

The purpose of a process map is to document and represent in a graphical manner the steps, flow or a sequence and to identify the relationship of the steps within process. 


Process mapping can be done using many tools such as SIPOC, COPIES, Value chain mapping, swim lane methods, flow charts and others.


It is depending on the type of the process and the importance in terms of criticality, the suitable methods for mapping can be suggested.


Quite often, the processes in any organisation are usually complex in terms that there is always an interrelationships with processes. Nevertheless there are also simple process where a simple flow chart is good enough to map the process.


But with the need of increasing level of detailing, I would recommend detailed flow charts, the value chain mapping or swim lane method as these gives more scope for detailed study of each steps as well as in case of swim lane method it provides the scope for inter relating the steps with other processes in the swim lane. SIPOC is another effective mapping method to go in detail of each step.


In case of a sequential series of process mapping with increasing level of detailing I would suggest detailed flow chart or value chain mapping or swim lane method.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Lean six sigma professionals with their experience and expertise may chose the process maps/sequence based on the complexity and intended objective on what works best given the organization culture and management support with respect to time and resources. The experts have the choice to use a blended approach that works well.  While SIPOC is said to be a high-level process map, we have drawn up very detailed SIPOCs, given the time constraints, which has helped garner all outcomes which each of the process maps may offer.  As long as we follow the concepts, not necessarily to the book, but make a visually strong process map to achieve the intended efficiency and effectiveness, we are good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Sequential series for process mapping:


SIPOC : The importance of the SIPOC is that it shows, in very simple terms, what the process accomplishes while identifying the key players.

High Level Map : High Level Maps typically don’t require a deep knowledge of the process, so we can often construct them with the assistance of managers.

Detailed Map: We don’t normally need to see the entire process in detail, but there may be some parts of the process that require a Detailed Process Map. This is especially true if there are a number of problems with that step.

Relationship Map: Relationship Maps are technically not process maps since they don’t detail the work done, but they do show the participants and how materials, paper or information flows between them.

Swimlane Map: This Swimlane Map is especially helpful when establishing work instructions and training for the new process because it makes each participant’s role explicit.

Value Stream Map: Value Stream Maps are typically used in Lean applications where we are interested in either showing pull scheduling or opportunities to do pull scheduling. They are often detailed and difficult to read.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Process Map – is defined as a visual representations / hierarchical method of displaying the process steps / workflow involved in the entire process / part of the process, using the symbols provided. Process map is of 4 types.


What is the difference between Process Map & Flow chart?

The process of creating a diagram is called process map whereas the diagram is called flow chart.


4 types of Process map:


Ø  high-level,

Ø  common,

Ø  detailed, and

Ø  functional


High level

Common process flow

detailed process map


Defined as

SIPOC / COPIS is a a tool used to explain the relationship between, supplier, customer, input, process and outputs.

Called as a simple flow chart, which describes the process steps.

It is typically a lean tool, which adds details to common process flow

Breaks the steps into functional areas,


It is a macro level process map at above 60000 feet high.


It is a first step in construsting a detailed process flow.It uses Boxes and connnecting arrows to brief the process steps

It classifies the inputs, adds VA,NVA in the process steps defined.

E.g. VSM

It is frequently mapped against a time line

Realistic behind the flows

It is ahigh level flow which describes the relationship between Preocess input variables and output variables and people.

It pretends to follow the actual logic behind the process. It resembles the computer programming / original form of process design.

It will give you the detailed flow with flow of information/material/people with value added to it. This will help you identify the waste.

This flows involves a detailed process flow with department/ function wise to identify and eliminate waste in the process.



Difference between Process Maps and VSM


SIPOC – It stands out for Supplier, inputs, processes, output and customer. It describes the relationship between the supplier and customer, as to what the customer can expect as product / service of output, which are the steps the is followed to process the inputs as to convert into output.


Value stream Map: is defined as an image or pictorial representation of flow of material or people or information that is pertaining to product / service. A data is associated with each step defining its value.

E.g. Takt time, processing time, volume processed, no. of errors, etc.




Process Maps

Value stream Map

It defines and clasifies the process inputs and output variables.

It does not.

Identifies the waste at macro level. In short, it helps to visualise the current process.

It identifies waste between and within the process and the improvement areas. It adds value to the process flow. It helps to visualise and improve the process.

Boundaries are clearly defined so as to what to map in the flow chart.

It focus on the detailed approach as how the material / information flows.

High level visual representation is possible.

Takt time , throughput yield , VA / NVA , etc are few variables calculated.

Can be drafted quickly

Time consuming.

It is used in various methodologies like DMAIC / DMADV

It is typically a lean tool.


Part 2 :If you had to suggest a sequential series for process mapping in an organization with increasing level of detailing, what will your suggestion be? 


If I had to sequence the process map in my organization,


SIPOC tells us the entire process steps in a very brief manner but is not useful to identify the wastes. It does not answer our qustions like “what are the wastes? Why this step in the process is important? Which step is yielding less? Which step has more rework process? Which step consumes more time? Where is the delay? Where is the process reengineering step required? Etc..”. All these questions will be answered in the detailed process map with built in VSM. I would never conclude only detailed process map with VSM is sufficient, since the benefits of SIPOC is different from these.


In fact, many researchers says that a detailed process map itself is sufficient to locate the waste and improve though it has all the VSM does. Due to time, cost, people constraint, the VSM is done first to identify the waste and then a detailed process map of that particular portion is done.


Hence, I would use both detailed process map and VSM added to it. Both states the current state / Voice of the process, which helps to visualize the process and improve the process.


Hence my suggestion is as below.


1.       SIPOC / COPIS

2.       Basic flow chart with boundaries defined.(if required at the macro level)

3.       VSM

4.       Detailed process map


1.       SIPOC / COPIS

2.       Basic flow chart with boundaries defined.(if required at the macro level)

3.       Detailed process map with VSM built in.


Note( A moderator can decide if the detailed process map to be displayed over here or not")





Process Flow - Version 2.xlsx

Edited by Kavitha Sundar
File had to be modified.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
    • Total Posts
  • Member Statistics

    • Total Members
    • Most Online

    Newest Member
    Avinash K Singh
  • Create New...