Increase performance throughbusiness process improvement

Often businesses can be unaware of where to start when addressing performance issues. Process mapping helps to identify existing ways of working to allow an organisation to identify areas where they can create efficiencies. It’s also a key tool employed when an organisation is going through change, mapping both the current and target processes provides insight into how the business will be impacted.

When do you need to
look at Process Mapping in your organisation?

Process mapping is a highly effective approach often used by companies who are experiencing:

  • A change over in technology or key systems
  • A breakdown in handovers between departments
  • Confusion over roles and ownership in the organisation
  • A need to meet target FTE savings
  • A change in management to help understand the working practices

Using Process Mapping to identify any gaps or issues is an important first-phase before change is implemented across your organisation, but also after.

How do we use
Process Mapping?

Process visibility makes it easier to analyse any business, set targets and define measurable goals.

It is important to think beyond what is currently ‘known’ in the business, engaging with an external party such as Pathfinder will introduce a different way of thinking.

At Pathfinder we understand the need to challenge how the business perceives their capability to improve and recognise where they may have limitations. Companies that use a proven methodology for business process improvement realise an average of 40 per cent more benefit than those that don’t.

Our method involves an honest examination of the process captured. In a lot of cases, a process maps how the people think a process typically works or how it should work. How it operates can be quite different. Looking at other factors at play in the process can provide much richer insights. Seeing the facts of what is happening can result in clearly identifying the best course of action for optimum improvement.

What benefits can you expect to see from effective Process Mapping?

  • Increased understanding of the particular process
  • Pain points and blockers in existing processes identified
  • Visual representation of the process to share with relevant stakeholders
  • Improved communication between individuals engaged in the process
  • Clarity on process ownership with clear commitments
  • Support for the project planning phase
  • Provides essential documentation for Compliance and Audit

The Pathfinder difference

  • Many companies can diagnose problems in a process, but may not get to the real root of the issue.
  • Temporary fixes are put in place that end up being costly and unsustainable. These process improvement efforts address the symptoms alone. Only when the problems are properly identified can the real benefits stand the test of time.
  • Traditional process analysis looks at the flow of information and physical items through the process, we have found that this omits a crucial element of how and why processes operate; the implicit and explicit commitments that people make to each other to get work done.
  • Commitment-Based Design (CBD) is a discipline that is used to analyse the data and physical flows but also the added dimension of how commitments flow.
  • Improvement can be achieved by ensuring that the crucial components of a complete request are consistently present, and the performers take their responsibilities when giving commitments seriously.
  • Through the application of a Commitment Based Design lens in our process mapping, we help our clients truly understand the ownership, dependencies and responsibilities in their processes. Looking at processes holistically across our client’s business allows for more effective change rather than silo’s and handoffs between departments.
  • A core element of the way we work is to collaborate with our clients and share our knowledge and ways of working so they can learn to continually manage the process themselves long after we are gone.


Pathfinder approaches Business Process Analysis from a Lean perspective.

We focus on the overall purpose of the process, examine how value is added, examine how capacity matches demand and seek to improve the efficiency of the process through improving flow.

Pathfinder places an emphasis on the voice of the customer and assigning ownership for process outputs as a very valuable method for ensuring that the purpose of the process remains relevant.

Business Process Analysis - Pathfinder Management Consulting

Process Methodology
A Typical Pathfinder Approach for a process mapping risk review

Pathfinder typically delivers this type of work in waves.  Because of setup and preparation, the first wave will be approximately 6 – 8 weeks in duration.  Subsequent waves can be much shorter as the waves gather momentum. The benefit of working in waves is that it gives the team a planning and scheduling focus and allows for an agreed focus area of processes to be completed in each wave.

Each wave typically has five stages:

Key features of the
Pathfinder approach to process mapping

This will achieve real change in your risk culture.  The approach focuses on mobilising colleagues to operate in a different way rather than on the purely mechanical process of identifying risks in processes. This is necessary to ensure that the effect of this work leaves a sustainable impact on risk culture. Pathfinder brings significant expertise in mobilising change quickly and sustainably.

Pathfinder insight:

Cultural change in Risk will be achieved when risk owners know that they will be consistently held accountable for what they have committed to improve.

This approach is designed to deliver the efficiency needed to build and maintain momentum.  This is necessary so that the mapping programme does not drag and lose focus.  To cover a significant number of sub-processes that link with critical outcomes while maintaining momentum will require a very lean and efficient process and tight project management.

Pathfinder insight:

From our experience, It is important that the process map is agreed and verified before the Risk workshop, otherwise there is a danger of rework.

The steps of the approach are carefully designed for maximum efficiency. This approach is designed to build trust with the wider business.  It is important that Pathfinder’s engagements are consistent with a high quality of delivery so that business owners’ trust in the Pathfinder team is enhanced through the process.  This trust is crucial to changing the risk culture.

Pathfinder insight:

When Pathfinder completed the Risk mapping in Tesco Bank, one manager called the Pathfinder team ‘Process Ninjas’ because the team did not impact the operation of BAU and yet offered valuable insights into the processes.

The approach proposes the most efficient use of our client’s time.  Preparatory work and advance scheduling will ensure a smooth engagement, one-to-one interviews to analyze the process and develop the maps and tease out the issues.  We will only use workshops where they are needed.

mobilisation stage of this work demonstrates to the business owners that their ownership of Risk is being taken seriously.

We will provide feedback and observations to Process Owners about their processes.  This is a value-add for them. This approach shows a way to transfer skills and build up your resources to complete the work.

This approach is designed to deliver consistency of outputs. Pathfinder will deliver a repeatable method for conducting end to end with maximum efficiency.

The method has a central QA that oversees that all outputs meet a consistent standard. The method will be documented in detail with guidelines.  This will allow multiple teams to conduct the work to a consistent standard.

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