Swim Lane
Swim Lane is a workflow diagram to bring forth a clearer understanding of a process or series of parallel processes.The purpose of process mapping is to use diagramming tool to understand the process we currently use.

Processes evolve as organizations grow or itís operating environment changes. To address growth or environmental changes many organizations use quick-fix solutions to maintain desired Throughput or levels of Output, such as increase labor resources (Input)

Process mapping analyzes the resources required and work content (Input), the activities performed on the work (Throughputs), and the outcome (Output).Processes can involve complex parallel activities interconnected and dependant on tasks being completed satisfactorily.

Constructing a Process Swim Lane
Step 1: Determine the Boundaries
  • What type of process map (standard flow, or swim lane)?
  • What level of detail 1000 ft or 100 ft or in the weeds?
  • Where does a process begin? (procure to Pay, Order to cash)
  • Where does a process end?

    Step 2: List the Steps

  • Use a verb to start the task description.(authorizing, submiting, preparing, getting, etc )
  • The flowchart can either show the sufficient information to understand the general process flow or detail every finite action and decision point.

    Step 3: Sequence the Steps

  • Use post-it notes so you can move tasks.
  • Do not draw arrows until later.

    Start with the basic symbols:

  • Ovals show input to start the process or output at the end of the process.
  • Boxes or rectangles show task or activity performed in the process.
  • Arrows show process direction flow.
  • Diamonds show points in the process where a yes/no questions are asked or a decision is required.
  • Usually there is only one arrow out of an activity box. If there is more than one arrow, you may need a decision diamond.
  • If there are feedback arrows, make sure feedback loop is closed; i.e. it should take you back to the input box.

    Step 5: System Model

  • Draw charts using system model approach.
  • Input - use information based upon people, machines, material, method, and environment.
  • Process - use subsets of processes in series or parallel.
  • Output - use outcomes or desired results.
  • Control - use best in class business rules.
  • Feedback - use information from surveys or feedback.

    Step 6: Check for Completeness

  • Include pertinent chart information, using title and date for easy reference.

    Step 7: Finalize the Flowchart

  • Ask if this process is being run the way it should be.
  • Are people following the process as charted?
  • Do we have a consensus?
  • What is redundant; add what is missing.

    Step 8: Value vs. Non-Value Add Time Occasionally, it is unclear whether an event adds value. Here are three useful tests:

  • Does the event physically transform the product in some way? If so, it probably adds value.
  • If the customer observed the event, would he balk at paying its cost? If so, the event probably does not add value.
  • If the event were eliminated, would the customer know the difference? If not, the event is probably non value added.

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