Managing Business Process Flows | A Comprehensive Guide

July 16, 2023
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Managing business process flows can make or break your B2B eCommerce or online marketplace business. As you know, process flows optimize and streamline various business operations.

Even complex business processes can be broken down into smaller workflows with the right business process flow. With a documented process, team members can learn different work operations quickly.

In the long run, you can automate your workflow and increase efficiency within your business. Managing business process flows begins with business process mapping and creating functional flow block diagrams.

Let’s discuss the basics of managing business processes and how to automate your business process with flow charts. We’ll also review some contemporary examples from practice.

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Getting Started With a Business Process Flow

Various business process types exist within any organization. Every procedure has a workflow presentation of the development of different processes.

You must make a flow chart for each workflow in order to successfully optimize company processes. Workflows make the development of ideas and understanding core operations management easier.

Different workflow outcomes can be selected and added to business process diagrams. Internal procedures like inventory tracking methods and personnel onboarding can be completed using a sharper, more streamlined presentation and workflow.

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What Is a Business Process Flow?

A business process flow is the series of steps that a team takes to accomplish a task. With a flowchart, you can show business operations like warehouse inventory management.

Process automation is made possible by having process flows for all types of operations. For instance, when working on new tasks or challenges, the team can consult a business process flow diagram.

In addition, a process flow makes it possible for each team member to monitor tasks and regular company operations. Another benefit of a process flow is it enhances team performance.

There are different types of business operations in an eCommerce business. Mapping out the process of these operations will result in managing business process flows successfully.

Types of Business Processes

  • Operational Processes
  • Management Processes
  • Supporting Processes

Business Process Flow vs. Workflow

Oftentimes most business owners interchange the terms business process flow and workflow. While these terms are similar, they mean different things.

Workflow is the series of actions taken to complete a task from start to finish. However, a business process flow is a sequence of steps taken to achieve an organizational goal. 

In addition, workflows are tools and technologies that allow the flow of activity documents from one point to another. On the other hand, a process flow is a cumulation of multiple workflows to achieve a business goal.

How to Build a Business Process Flow

You can build a business process flow for any operation within your eCommerce business setup. Here are some steps you can follow to create the perfect workflow for your business:

  1. Set your eCommerce business plan, goals, and objectives. Once this is up, it will be easy to align all activities and business operations to accomplish the set goals.
  2. Create your eCommerce team structure. Having an organizational structure in place will make it easier for team members to know and understand their roles. 
  3. Visualize and determine the main components of your workflow process. You need to set the steps of each business process and determine how you want the workflow to look.
  4. Create workflow diagrams. Use business process modeling tools to create your workflow diagrams. You can also download a free business process flow chart template online.
  5. Put the flow chart diagram into action. Test if your data flow diagrams align with your business operations.
  6. Set KPIs and monitor them. Setting eCommerce KPIs for each workflow will help you track and monitor performance and effectiveness.

Making a Business Process Flow Chart

A business process flowchart can simplify complex activities, making them easier to manage. This is especially important for businesses, as having a structured data-driven approach and a productive workflow is crucial to success. 

In addition to using eCommerce automation tools, a process flowchart can help streamline work within your company. By creating a flow chart for your company's workflow, you can help employees work more efficiently.

For instance, you can create a business process flow chart to automate the supply chain management process. You can also create a chart to make sure the team has a great supplier relationship management system.

What Is a Business Process Flow Chart?

A business process flow chart is a diagram that illustrates the entire course of a business operation. It represents many business processes and tasks diagrammatically.

In addition, a business process flow chart is used to map out your process flow and simplify complicated procedures. A business process map retains the general process of operations.

It shows the workflow by using conditional logic to take into account every conceivable circumstance. Illustrated with contemporary symbols and diagrams, a flow chart offers a driven approach to understanding core operations management concepts.

Along with outlining the complete business operation, the process flowchart shows who is responsible for which duties. It also displays the schedules and materials required to complete particular activities. similar to the way flow charts for warehousing systems operate.

How to Create a Business Process Flow Chart

Creating a business process flowchart is easier than you think. Similar to Gantt charts, you can use an Excel spreadsheet or a simple drag-and-drop BPM (Business Process Management) software solution. You can also work with real-time editable flow chart templates.

Whichever option you choose, creating a flowchart begins with a clear visualization of your work processes. You can draw out your general process view paradigm with a pen and paper for a start.

Here are some key steps to begin creating a flow chart for your business with Excel:

  • Create a new spreadsheet.
  • Go to the Insert tab.
  • Select the Drawing option.
  • In the drawing sheet, the top corner provides you with the option to add shapes, arrows, texts, and colors.
  • Select a flowchart symbol following the components table above.
  • Edit each symbol selected to account for uniformity and consistency.
  • Once it's ready, save and close.
  • It will appear on the spreadsheet.
  • You can edit the layout of the spreadsheet.
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How Can Business Process Optimization Help Businesses?

Your business workflow will run more smoothly if your business processes are optimized. The most crucial element in helping your company stay competitive is business process automation and mapping.

For instance, a study by Anupindi shows how managers can design and manage process structure and process drivers to improve the performance of any business process.

The what, where, when, how, and why of business operations are addressed by business process diagrams. Business process flow charts also aid employees in comprehending each stage of a workflow.

New employee onboarding typically takes three to six months. However, with a flowchart, staff members may rapidly grasp their new responsibilities, making it simpler to integrate into the business's operational structure.

Here are some of the benefits of business process flow optimization and automation:

  1. Market adherence
  2. Streamlined processes
  3. Lower risks
  4. Properly used resources
  5. Consistency
  6. Assured quality
  7. Complete end-to-end visibility

Business Process Flow Chart Template

You can map your business process flow using a flow chart template. Without the stress of creating from scratch, a flow chart template will also make it simpler to streamline operations and optimize processes in your restaurant.

The business process that you wish to automate will determine which flow chart template you use. As you are aware, streamlining business processes improve regular business operations.

While having a template on hand is a great idea, it is crucial for it to be customizable and follow your company's workflow. This will make it simple to enter workflow processes and commercial activities specific to your online marketplace.

A process flow chart template consists entirely of symbols and shapes that are combined to represent the workflow operations in your company.

In a flow chart diagram, each shape and symbol denotes a step. For instance, a diamond shape depicts the decision-making points, while a rectangle represents a particular action or process.

What are Best Practices for Making Process Flow Diagrams?

  1. Use Consistent Design Elements

Consistent design elements must be used while developing your process flow diagram. For instance, the colors, forms, and lines all need to match.

  1. Make Clear Instructions

It's crucial to illustrate who does what and when for workflow operations that involve a large number of team members. To differentiate the roles of the various team members in this scenario, use horizontal or vertical lines to divide the process flow.

  1. Break Long Processes Into Multiple Flows

Lengthy business procedures and workflows can be perplexing. In your diagram, you can separate these into various continuous flows.

  1. Explain How to Use the Business Process Flow Chart Template

By explaining the elements of the flow chart template, team members won't have to experiment their way into understanding it. Additionally, it will make it simple to train new team members on how to use your workflow.

  1. Try Using an Editable Business Process Flow Chart Template

Consider using an editable process flow chart template if you don't have the time to put in the tedious work required to create a flow chart from scratch. Managing business process flows is easier if you use a flow chart template.

It is now possible to construct a process map chart that will meet your company's needs thanks to emerging restaurant technologies. You can look for and download a free flowchart template for your eCommerce business.

We created some ready-to-use and editable restaurant business process flow chart templates you can use. You can fill in your workflow using these flow chart templates that you can download in Word or Excel.

7 Free Programs to Create a Flow Chart Online

Here are some free tools to create a business process flow chart online:

  1. SmartDraw
  2. LucidChart
  3. Creately
  5. Microsoft Word
  6. Excel Spreadsheet
  7. PowerPoint

How to Measure Business Process Effectiveness

By establishing key performance indicators, you can measure the efficiency of business processes. The inventory KPI is one illustration. Here are some crucial business metrics you may use to determine whether or not your process flow chart is effective:

  • Efficiency of the process
  • Process alignment
  • Continuity of the process
  • Process cycle time, cost, and effectiveness
  • Productivity of resources
  • Process compliance

If you don't have the ideal plan in place, running a business is challenging. A flowchart streamlines the process and offers you a head start.

Your business will grow and operate more efficiently if you automate workflow operations. A business process flowchart template can help you with this.

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