ISO 14001 Process Mapping
The success and value of the environmental management system (EMS) depends on consistency of best practice. Without consistency it is impossible to understand processes across functional and geographic boundaries. Without understanding business processes is impossible to make accurate projections, benefit from past experience, establish reasonable goals and plans, and make improvements to systems. Consistency of best practice allows you to analyze your systems and determine their effectiveness. You can then make targeted changes in order to improve efficiency, decrease errors, and implement other improvements.
""...our text based processes were difficult to implement and maintain.... Pinnacle led us through a four month conversion process to a Process Map based system. Now all of our processes are easy to understand, easy to follow, easy to audit and maintain. Our new system is being used on a daily basis by people throughout the organization."
RoMan Manufacturing, Inc.
To achieve this consistency the first step is to capture your current practices (current state). Once you have current practices properly defined and documented you can train people, keep records, and evaluate your systems for best practices. When improvements are devised the process starts again with documentation. Consequently, your EMS relies on documentation. Furthermore, it relies upon the quality of the documentation. Documents that are hard to read, comprehend, retain, and access are poor quality documents and do not bolster consistency and adoption of best practices. Documents must be easy to read, easy to understand, and readily available.
ISO 14001 requires an organization to follow a process approach when managing its EMS. Process Maps are ideal for this purpose.
A Process Map is a graphical representation of a process. It represents the entire process from start to finish, including:
- process inputs and outputs,
- activities and responsibility,
- pathways, parallel processes, and process loops,
- decision points,
- key measures, metrics, objectives, and targets, and
- interaction with other processes.
Depending on your objectives, a Process Map can represent the entire process at a high or detailed level, allowing detailed analysis and process optimization. Furthermore, a Process Map is an ideal instructional tool for assuring effective training and process consistency. Once Process Maps are established, an organization can work towards ensuring its processes are effective (the right process is followed the every time), and efficient (continually improved to ensure processes use the least amount of resources). Process Mapping is a core Lean EMS® technique.
Traditional text procedures do not serve your EMS well. In general, they are long, confusing, unable to show parallel processes, unavailable (in binders), and require strong reading comprehension and retention skills. These issues are magnified in companies that must also contend with language and cultural differences.
Process Maps on the other hand can be 1/5 the length, show a greater amount of detail and complexity, are easy to follow, and are readily available (posted on walls, accessed via intranet, etc.). Process Maps play on the strength of the brain to recognize and recall patterns. They take a very complex system and make it a simple step-by-step operation that is visually intuitive. Inconsistencies and open loop processes are easily identified when placed in a graphical model. The Process Maps are then easily modified and used to train people quickly. Consequently, improvements are introduced in a matter of minutes. Having the ability to develop and maintain process mapped documentation as your organization evolves is a key component of the Lean EMS® methodology.
Contact Pinnacle to to discuss your Lean EMS® Curriculum.
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