The Lean Six Sigma methodology emphasizes waste reduction and variation in organizations’ business processes. While working in an organization’s quality control and process improvement initiatives, different quality management professionals in the Lean Six Sigma project have various ideas regarding the process’s function and improvement areas. A process map helps track these ideas and create a shared understanding of the process and what should be improved. This tool finds its application in the define phase of the DMAIC process of Six Sigma.
What is Six Sigma Process Mapping?
Process mapping is the graphical representation of the process, including the existing process’s strengths and weaknesses. Six Sigma process mapping helps quality management professionals visualize the business process and identify areas that need improvement. There are numerous advantages of a Six Sigma process map. These are:
- It helps in determining the various steps in the business process.
- It helps in simplifying business processes and identifying areas of improvement.
- It provides a visual aid for quality management professionals to compare current and required process performance.
Steps to Create Six Sigma Process Maps
The creation of Six Sigma process maps depends on the complexity of the Six Sigma projects. Some process maps like the SIPOC (suppliers, inputs, process, outputs, and customers) diagram serve a specific purpose; in this case, it gives a brief outline of the business processes to the stakeholders. These high-level process map only outlines the process improvement initiatives and are used for stakeholders and executives. Quality and process improvement professionals use more detailed process maps to find defects and variations. Therefore, depending on the requirements, a Six Sigma process map template is created.
Listed below are the essential components of a Six Sigma process map template:
- Establish the process objectives – Every Lean Six Sigma process map begins with defining the purposes of the process and establishing the boundaries. By determining the process goals and limitations, quality management professionals will understand what they want to accomplish from the process map and what details it must include.
- Identify all process steps – Six Sigma process mapping must include all the business process steps from the start to the end.
- Organize and sequence process steps – After identifying all process steps, Lean Six Sigma specialists can organize the steps depending on the priority or sequence of the business processes.
- Use appropriate symbols to represent steps – Process mapping helps visualize; thus, appropriate symbols like rectangle, oval, arrow, diamond, and terminator must be used to describe process steps.
- Review the previous steps – Once the Six Sigma process map template is complete, it must be reviewed to check for omissions and mistakes. The Six Sigma process map is an essential tool for quality improvement. Therefore, it should be evaluated before being used for the next phase of quality control and process improvement initiative.
The Lean Six Sigma process mapping is a collaborative process involving all quality management team members. It is a vital tool for understanding business processes and finding problems. Thus, assisting quality improvement professionals in reducing waste and improving the quality of business processes effectively.
Lean Six Sigma process mapping is valuable for the quality improvement initiatives of an organization. Aspiring quality management and process improvement professionals should learn about the importance of a Six Sigma process map and how to create one for enhancing the quality of their organization’s business processes. Lean Six Sigma Certifications allow future quality management professionals to validate their knowledge and expertise using quality management tools and techniques. By earning this industry-recognized Lean Six Sigma Certification, these professionals can attain their organization’s quality objectives and ensure customer satisfaction.