You wouldn’t think that software had anything to do with process mapping. Surely a software developer just translates the existing process from spreadsheets/emails/bits of paper to an efficient software solution?
Well … not quite … as we had the privilege to discuss at a Collaboratory organized by UClan’s Transmission Project.
To put it bluntly: If you commission a software solution to automate your existing weak process, you will end up with a more efficient process … that is still weak.
Plus, if you are investing your time and money in a new solution, why not take the opportunity to get the process right, so get better ROI on your software solution?
So how does process mapping help you get best ROI on new software?
1. Understand what the problem actually is
If you don’t fully understand what the problem is, you can’t select the best solution for the problem. The reality in your manufacturing business may be that the process between collecting specifications from the customer and starting to manufacture the product takes too long. This may be because:
- There aren’t enough designers – So you need to recruit more designers.
- There aren’t enough machines – So you need to bring in more machines, or replace existing machines with more efficient ones …. Recruiting more designers will not solve the problem in this case.
- The team is relying on emails and spreadsheets, which is a cumbersome and unreliable way of doing things – So you need a workflow solution that fixes these problems.
2. Figure out how to improve the process
If you realize that relying on emails, spreadsheets, shared drives, etc is causing problems, it may be tempting to just go: OK, let’s just do things in the same way, but using a software solution instead of emails etc. This will actually improve the process. But … this would be a missed opportunity!
This is when you do process mapping. You sit down with your team to explore how it falls short. There may be bottlenecks, redundant activities that add no value, or wastage of resources. Through process mapping you and your team will decide on what the new process should look like – so these problems are fixed.
Only then should you commission the new software solution. So it automates a gold-standard process, rather than a problematic one.
It’s crucial that you understand what the problem is … only then can you solve it once and for all.
Often bespoke workflow solutions are the way forward, as you get the solution that is absolutely right for your business. See here how they work.
At Progrex IT Solutions we have vast experience in bespoke workflow solutions for manufacturing companies. Get in touch to discuss how we can help you.
If you are a manufacturing company and would like updates on how software can help you become more efficient and productive, just let us know.