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Process Mapping benefits - Some costed, real-life examples:

Process Mapping

Process Mapping is used in all large scale change projects, where savings can easily be measured in the millions of £s or $s. The technique can also be used for smaller scale reviews and changes. Process Mapping can be used more tactically to amend existing processes, tackle recurrent issues or simply to ensure that everyone involved knows what they should be doing - not everyone has a job description!

Using process mapping on smaller projects is not time consuming and can give many benefits, a number of which are usually 'quick wins'. The following examples are all genuine issues that have actually occurred, for the various reasons highlighted. Costs incurred are 'best estimates', but are indicative of the scale of each incident.

Whilst the existence of process maps may not have prevented all of the incidents, the maps would have provided a reference point, both for those involved in the process and those who were required to clear up the resultant 'fallout'.


Example No
Business Area
The Issue
Estimated Cost
Reason for occurrence
Order processing would not validate delivery dates. Orders could not be placed on the system for two days Manual paper order processing for two days until the resolution was identified. Dates on a system calendar had not been updated for several months £2,500 in time plus loss of customer goodwill Person responsible for updating the system calendar was on maternity leave
Leavers not notified to IT or Facilities. Leavers still had access to the office and confidential files on the IT system. Picked up by auditors Leavers must be deleted from IT systems when they leave. Review carried out to identify any other leavers remaining on the systems £2,000 in time plus questions from the auditors Change of staff responsibilities in the HR dept
Account Manager authorised change to product discounts. Agreed this with line manager but failed to notify Finance. Incorrect price charged on next two deliveries Late payment of invoice, with deduction for additional discount owed. Credit notes raised manually £500 in time plus loss of interest on late payment circa £3500 Newly promoted Account Manager unsure of the process
Event Management
A series of events managed by the same organiser with unused suppliers' products to be credited after each event. Credit notes not issued on time so event organiser withheld payment. Organiser put 'on stop' by supplier's Finance dept so no supplier products shipped to the next event The unused products had been returned to the supplier and signed off by Distribution. Finance were not notified promptly, so were unaware that credit notes could be issued. A process review identified this issue and the process was amended accordingly Loss of profit on one event was more than £20,000. Additionally, approx £1,200 spent in time, chasing outstanding returns Breakdown in communication between third party agency, Distribution and Finance
Marketing and Sales
Brand budgets reallocated following a budget review. Sales allocations not updated. Money subsequently committed in both Marketing and Sales Uncommitted money re-allocated from other brands, causing underfunded, less effective promotional support Difficult to quantify. Approx £250 in time plus loss of profit on reduced sales - estimated at £10,000 Marketing administrator left the company
Firewall port closed following a security review. EDI messages stopped working, resulting in orders not being received from customers Reason for EDI failure eventually traced to the firewall change. Firewall reconfigured and normal service resumed £600 in time plus 50% of one day's orders were delivered one day late Change of staff responsibility within IT
Finance and Sales
Access database in Finance manually updated with customer details, to monitor discounts. Excel spreadsheet in Sales manually updated with customer details to monitor brand distribution Process review revealed the duplication and the two systems were amalagamated Over the four years that the two systems had been running in parallel, approx £18,000 of time can be apportioned to duplication of effort No line of sight between Finance and Sales to highlight the duplication
Trade Marketing
Project deadlines regularly missed with promotional material arriving late in store Process review highlighted a lack of overview of progress throughout the process. New process steps added to address this £'000s spent on overtime working and rush deliveries to try to meet deadlines A very busy team


The incidents above are individual examples of situations which continually occur in many businesses. The common thread running through most of these is a change in responsibility, either through staff leaving/joining, promotion or re-organisation. If processes are not documented, it is is more difficult for staff to pick up their new responsibilities quickly and efficiently, leading to tasks being left undone and lack of communication. Another common cause of process failure is high workload. When staff are very busy they are often too buried in the detail to look at the wider picture and they don't stop to think about the implications of their actions on others in the process.

Process mapping can help to prevent many of these issues from occurring.

If you would like to find out more about our cost-effective process mapping service, please contact us:

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