What Is a Process Library?
One of the best investments you can make as an organisation is to create a process library.
Historically, processes were difficult to keep track of and hard to keep up to date as the company evolved. Fortunately, due to the advent of technology, this has completely changed.
It is now possible to keep track of your processes, and this is the help you need to bring order to your chaos.
Let us show you what this means.
What Is a Process Library
A process library is simply a repository of all your mapped processes.
Your business is run on them.
A business process refers to the series of steps your business takes to accomplish a certain goal. When they work well, these actions should reflect the revenue you receive.
It is not enough to simply have the steps written down as a checklist or existing in your employee’s brains as parts of tasks they do daily.
Processes need to be mapped for businesses to truly flourish.
If you do not map your processes, you do not understand how your business is run. And if you do not understand how your business is running, you do not know where it is that you may be overspending or losing out on money.
We’ve had clients that were losing an entire week of work on activities. Once they mapped out processes and utilised Skore as a tool, they gained back precious time and resources to dedicate to their clients.
Had they not taken the time to map out their processes, they would not have figured it out.
Process maps serve to visualise how your company is working. They help you identify places to improve. This can include realising you are missing certain documentation, or that you have a lot of redundant forms. You can also discover that you can source materials closer, giving you a lot more time as a company to dedicate to other tasks.
These are the type of realisations that come from mapping processes.
A process map can take many forms and utilise many notations, but the end goal is always to help you optimise your business and achieve operational excellence.
If you take the time to map out your processes as they currently exist and then continuously check that they reflect the reality of your business, you will begin to practice continuous improvement. Your business continues to grow steadily and efficiently thanks to having them mapped out.
And you’ll compile all of these processes for constant review and update in your process library.
Why Does My Company Need a Process Library
In the past, mapping processes was a time-consuming, complicated process that involved sticky notes, pen, and paper.
Having your processes mapped and in one place typically meant filing cabinets or papers that were lost after a very long workshop session. It was a headache to think about where you could keep your maps safe to come back to. More often than not, they were lost or forgotten about. They would have to be remade because by the time anyone looked at them again they were so out of date.
When businesses originally began to map processes, this would be done in long, tedious workshops involving all employees, from stakeholders to front-line workers. Because companies seek to understand exactly how all parts of their business function, they involve all relevant workers involved in a particular process, from different departments as well as the experts and stakeholders.
This isn’t inherently a bad thing.
It’s helpful for everyone to know each other and understand what they contribute to each process and company goal. Opportunities for new ways of thinking or combining forces can come from these sessions.
After all, it was at this point that businesses would discover redundant tasks or expenses that were actually unnecessary to their success. To get to that stage, stakeholders and owners needed to understand exactly what each worker was contributing to the overall process and company goals.
If your employees and stakeholders do not find the value in these sessions, however, they can be perceived as quite frustrating and pointless to attend for all involved parties. Everyone will become reluctant to join and seek ways to avoid them instead.
Thus, in the past, these workshops would often be considered to be a headache: taking the time to first create the map, which almost instantly became out of date, and then saving it for future improvements or changes that had to be communicated to everyone involved.
Software such as ours allows you to design and map your processes on your computer and save it on a cloud-based server: a process library.
Our tool makes the mapping process collaborative and asynchronous, as employees can add to the maps as things shift according to their tasks. And, thanks to the library, they can always go back to the map if they have any questions, or during training. Process owners are encouraged to review their maps quarterly or annually to ensure they stay up-to-date and relevant.
As a company leader or business owner, you can also always easily stay updated on how processes are working by checking the library.
Having your process maps saved in one place will also make running workshops for process improvement a lot easier.
It is no longer necessary to use a ton of pen and paper to create them. You can simply create them on a screen and interactively add or remove them as you capture information during the workshop. And, as mentioned above, this can be done with teams asynchronously as well, allowing relevant employees to share their contributions in their own time.
All employees can understand how their tasks contribute to the company, and as an owner, you can refer back to it for improvement or to see how a new tool or vertical would fit. Quite quickly, once you find the best process for specific goals and repeat it enough, you can make it company standard and use it for training.
Thus, with a process library, your company retains knowledge and is able to standardise its processes.
In short, having a process library helps you:
- Create better company alignment so that everyone is aware of how their work contributes to company goals without having redundancies
- Identify new opportunities to grow or verticals to explore, as well as spots to reduce costs and improve your business further
- Understand your own current constraints and work within them, not against them
If you do not have all of your mapped processes available and accessible, keeping track of them becomes a nightmare and your business will suffer for it. You want to build company knowledge, not lose it once your team member that had everything in their head but not mapped out retires or leaves.
Fortunately, in the 21st century, technology can help you out.
How to Build a Process Library With Skore
With Skore, it is not only easy to map out a process. It is also easy to create a process library for all of your processes.
You can save that process and refer back to it too via the process library feature.
Managing your processes has never been easier thanks to it.
Utilising and managing it correctly is easy, so long as you remember a few basic factors. The library should be a repository of all process knowledge for the company, easy to find, and easy to navigate via a simple process catalogue and a shared notation language.
At Skore, we prefer to use Universal Process Notation (UPN).
We find that UPN ensures everyone in the company, no matter their rank or role, can understand what is being shown before them intuitively. There is no room for misinterpretations or confusion, no need for additional certifications, and it keeps process maps clean and uncluttered.
Our software provides a portal of the different maps you can access, as well as a tagging system to make it easier to find one process over the other as needed or to group together certain process types.
Why would you group some processes under a similar tag?
Variations, such as accounting for odd payroll situations, or new iterations of processes as you explore different steps or technology you can adapt for improvement. You do not want to edit the official process map until you’ve tried out alternatives.
You are able to edit permissions to certain processes as well as generate reports, all from the comfort of the library portal. And keeping track of edits can be done via a visit to history, to see who has changed it and how it has changed.
Permissions and sharing are encouraged with our tool, as process mapping is a collaborative job. With a library, however, you can share a map but not make it editable for all employees, simply ensure they have the company knowledge to turn to as needed.
Your business processes absolutely need to be mapped for you to truly understand your business.
Without this visualisation, it is akin to managing your business blind.
But once you map them, how do you keep track of them? How do you use them to train new employees or to continue improving?
Instead of having to constantly map your processes for specific workshops or keeping everything as lists in multiple documents, it is easier than ever to have all of your maps in one place: a process library.
Retain company knowledge, have ready training materials, and explore alternatives or improvements – all in one place!
Get in touch with our team at Skore so that we can help you start building your process library today.