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5 Ways to Add Value to Your Process Maps with Process Simulation
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5 Ways to Add Value to Your Process Maps with Process Simulation

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Process mapping documents the steps of a process and their sequence visually. It is common across large enterprises, and your organisation likely has process maps of its processes already. However, transformation teams make important and complex decisions that require more than just understanding the process. Transformational teams should solve problems pre-emptively and maximise the impact of their engagement. They need to overcome resistance to change and get stakeholder buy-in and should leave a valuable tool with those stakeholders. This blog shows how your organisation can turbocharge the value of process maps by using them as the basis of Digital Twins with forward-looking simulation capabilities to unlock those benefits.

Benefits of mapping

Process mapping is common among large enterprises because it provides a comprehensive, in-depth understanding of processes. A process map gives users an overview of the steps and their order in a process. That overview comes in handy in many situations:

  • Training and onboarding: Operational teams can use process maps to explain the process to new employees and give them a simple tool that guides them through their new roles.
  • Eliminating inefficiencies, risks, and potential errors: Transformation teams can use process maps to identify obvious inefficiencies, waste, and complex tasks that likely result in errors and rework.
  • Communicating changes: Once a transformation team has decided on process changes, it can redesign process maps to communicate changes to stakeholders. 
  • Compliance: Process maps may be used to communicate the process to auditors, who may require evidence of thorough and rigorous processes and procedures.

Process Maps as Qualitative Twins

Some of the transformation and operations teams that Silico works with strive to develop their process maps into Qualitative Twins. They add functionality to their Process Mapping tools, such as commenting and share access to process maps widely across their organisation. Therefore, stakeholders can log issues, inefficiencies, and suggestions in real time. Transformation teams can then start their work with an overview of the process, a log of common issues, and a heatmap of where most problems occur. They may even get ideas to improve the process from the notes and comments left by operational stakeholders.

However, a Qualitative Process Twin provides only a starting point for the work of the transformation and improvement teams. Quantifying the Qualitative Twin or existing process maps and adding forward-looking simulation capabilities can help with five critical tasks.

Identifying the Problems that Matter in the Future

Using a Qualitative Process Twin, employees may log many problems, issues, and risks. Similarly, transformation and improvement teams may use historical data or anecdotes to identify what problems have occurred in the past.

Screenshot showing a Digital Twin's dashboard in the SIlico App 

Using a Quantitative Process Twin, transformation and improvement teams can simulate  forward-looking scenarios and predict what issues will arise in the future. Examples may be to simulate a process with different order volumes or FTE capacity to reflect expected demand or headcount changes. Thereby, improvement specialists can future-proof processes and ensure that processes support your business strategy, rather than optimising processes for the past.

Overcoming Resistance to Change

Stakeholders executing tasks in the process may believe things have always been done in a certain way and should remain the same. A Qualitative Process Twin can soften this stance by allowing stakeholders to identify problems and contribute to their resolution. However, some stakeholders may still resist change or slow down progress, particularly when improvement teams are proactive and strive to avoid future problems.

Using a Quantitative Process Twin allows transformation and improvement teams to demonstrate what issues will materialise in the future and why action is required today. For example, a team might simulate how the sales team’s growth expectations or the leads in a Lead-to-Order process will affect the delivery process. The team can stress the urgency and importance of change by showing how the otherwise increasing backlogs, dissatisfied customers, and delayed revenue will affect the business in the months ahead.

Maximising the ROI of Process Changes

Qualitative Digital Twins may include lots of ideas for improvement from stakeholders. Similarly, transformation teams may generate multiple ideas to improve the process. With limited resources and team capacity, transformation teams must prioritise among the many competing ideas.

A Quantitative Digital Twin with forward-looking simulation capabilities allows transformation and improvement teams to make evidence-based decisions on process changes' return on investment (ROI). Digital Twins can simulate the assumed impact of process changes and help teams to avoid common pitfalls when making such assumptions. Moreover, Digital Twins allow the connecting process and commercial outcomes and KPIs. Quantitative Digital Twins offer transformation and improvement teams a window into the future to identify the most impactful process changes.

Getting Buy-In and Commitment from Process Owners

Once the team has identified the optimal process changes, they can use process maps and Qualitative Digital Twins to communicate them to process owners. However, that may be insufficient to get buy-in and commitment to implement those changes.

A Quantitative Digital Twin with forward-looking simulation capabilities can convince stakeholders to commit to the planned changes and to take action now. Transformation and improvement teams can set targets and expectations using the forecast of future performance as a baseline and the simulated impact of process changes. Moreover, they can confidently answer how the proposed course of action performs compared to alternatives.

Continuously Optimising to Sustain Performant Processes

Transformation teams creating process maps or Qualitative Twins may struggle to convince operational stakeholders to maintain those tools. Once created, operational teams may not update process maps and perceive them as a pure reporting requirement. Similarly, without seeing their issues and suggestions acted on immediately, Qualitative Twins may not get the attention they deserve.

By developing a Quantitative Digital Twin, transformation and improvement teams leave a tool in place that is immediately valuable to operational decision-makers. A Quantitative Digital Twin can be used for, among others, capacity, inventory, and supply chain forecasting and decision-making, providing an incentive to update and maintain the Twin. Transformation teams can utilise these Digital Twins in their next improvement cycle.

Leverage your Existing Process Maps Through Simulation!

Take your process maps to the next level to identify future problems, convince stakeholders to act now, optimise the impact of your process changes, get stakeholder buy-in, and leave a valuable tool with process owners. With Silico, your team can turn existing process maps into a Quantitative Digital Twin of your process with forward-looking simulation capability in as little as four weeks. If you want to have your existing process maps converted to simulation models, submit your process maps here, and our Silico simulation team will do the work for you.

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