What Are Business Process Flows & Why Should You Care?

Abhijeet Kumar
October 20, 2022
min read
March 21, 2024
Photo credit
Learn the importance of business process flows & how they optimize productivity. Discover the benefits of efficient processes and learn how to document and optimize process flows.
Generate SOPs!


Ever seen a pit crew at work? The F1 guys who replace tires in a blink? They're lightning-quick and a delight to watch. And they’re the best example of skilled process management.

Business process flows are the pit stops that have each step charted out. Each crew member knows what to do and when. The wheel gunners can’t tighten the nuts unless the new tire is in.

You, too, need orderly flows. That’s what can build a system of consistent, recurrent and transparent operations in your business. And that’s where business process flows come into the picture. Once implemented, everyone, at every point, will know what to do now (and next).

So, this is an article digging into process flow economics. The goal is to arm you with different process flow tools for streamlining business processes.

Let’s dive in.

TL;DR: Business process flows

  • Business process flows are visual representations of stages and steps in a process, helping to standardize tasks and improve clarity in work.
  • Efficient business process flows can increase team productivity, optimize resource management, reduce training needs, and help with industry compliance.
  • To document business process flows, choose a process, identify components, structure a process flow diagram, assign user responsibilities, and integrate the flow in a BPM solution.
  • Training your team on the new system is important for improved efficiency, and tools like Scribe can help automate process flow documentation and provide easy access to information.

What are business process flows?

Business process flows are a visual representation of each stage and step in a process. They illustrate all the tasks to be performed, and in the order they have to be completed, including:

  • The starting and ending points of the business process.
  • The individual tasks or activities that need to be completed.
  • The order in which these tasks need to be completed.
  • The decision points where different paths may be taken.
  • The people or teams responsible for each task.
  • The inputs and outputs of the process.

Business process flows standardize the tasks that need to be performed, in the order of completion.

For example, a typical sales business process flow begins with a phone/Zoom call. It initiates a cycle, to be pedaled in unison by the team.

Abhishek Shrivastava, senior engineer in the valves manufacturing industry, lays out their sales process for large industrial clients in seven steps:

  • Checking and reviewing order requirements from the tender.
  • Approaching the client with the product catalog.
  • Pitching their rates and services with past track record.
  • Following up and attracting with better offers or quality.
  • Warming the client with ad hoc consulting.
  • Inviting them for production site visits.
  • Closing the deals with the spellbound client.

Whether creating a contract, sending an invoice, or handling customer complaints, each process has standard operating procedures (SOPs). In the absence of standardization, you drive your project into a pit. And the available help might not be as efficient as F1.

What can efficient business process flows do?

Business process flow documentation helps you define your workflow. It’s a guide directing you to complete a task. And it helps you with business process optimization to target team efforts resourcefully. Documented process flows streamline your entire operation.

Here are some of the many benefits of business process flows:

1. Improve clarity in work

Business processes and flows standardize your operations and lay out the basic guidelines. Your employees know what to do and how to do it. Process flows also give your employees autonomy over their work. You define each step and role in advance, thus not having to micro-manage every time.

2. Increase team productivity

Comprehensive business process flow docs help everyone to stay aligned and collaborate. Processes can be standardized and replicated across all verticals. Without them, you can run into multiple project management risks. Business process flows also help automate business processes and improve implementation when needed.

3. Optimize resource management

With all processes mapped out, you get an overview of how and where your resources are tied up. You understand exactly how everything is working together. So, you can better assign your resources, in a way, that realizes their full potential. With optimal use of resources, you’ll also be minimizing the running costs of your daily operations. Sounds like a plus?

4. Reduce extensive training needs

It can take new employees a few weeks to a few months to get used to their new environment and system. Employees need a human touch to form a connection with the organization. And it’s near impossible to personally attend to the needs of each. Documented processes help in such cases. They help new staff get up-to-speed quicker and avoid mistakes.

For example, here's a step-by-step guide on getting started with Slack that new employees can use to get up to speed:

Getting started with Slack
Getting started with Slack

‎5. Help with industry compliance

Transparent business process flows also ensure your compliance with industry standards and regulations. The rules bring uniformity in product/service quality. And you have the necessary records and documentation in place to account for the consistency across your organization.

📌 Related resource: 15 Best Workflow Documentation Software

How to document business process flows

Now, here’s a simple 5-step process to document your process flows:

1. Choose a process to document

A business has tens of processes, each with hundreds of different sub-process flows. For example, an employee logs in to your system (or website) to update new client records. They update 57 of them, and log out. It’s a simple task. Still, a lot of things can go wrong. A typo is easy to fix, but a problem with numbers might snowfall unless checked.

So, it’s best to document each process in your universe and its sub-process flows. Pick one to start with before moving on to others.

2. Identify the main components

Next, define flows for the essential components of the process. What do we mean by components? Process components include the scope of the process (beginning and end points), the list of activities, and the resources needed to complete the task. Ah, one more thing! The process’s objective, key outputs and the KPIs (if any) are also important. Define for them, too.

The entire exercise can be tricky. You need to ensure you cover everything. The best place to start is with business process documentation.

Capture any process with Scribe - Business Process Flows

Creating business process documentation can be a tedious task — but it doesn't have to be. With Scribe, you can effortlessly capture business processes as you work and transform them into business process flows in seconds.

Simply click "Start Capture" and go through your process. Scribe captures your steps and clicks, auto-generating a visual step-by-step guide in seconds.

‎You can quickly edit your business process workflow, add or remove steps, and include additional images, diagrams, GIFs or alerts to to call attention to a certain step.

Use Pages to combine multiple multiple business process guides and ask the AI to write any kind of documentation for you with a simple prompt.

Use Scribe

Easily build a step-by-step visual process flow while you work, saving tons of time and effort.

Build process documentation in seconds with Scribe ➜

3. Structure a process flow diagram

Once you’ve all the details about your process, structure the activities. A business process workflow diagram provides that necessary structure. You can also add images, sticky notes and other multimedia elements. Start with a rough draft, consider inputs from the stakeholders, and prepare the basic structure.

It’d be better manageable if you go digital. You can choose mind-mapping tools like XMind or whiteboarding tools like Miro to represent the process visually. Next, you can use a business process modeling tool like Scribe to document and finalize the flow.

4. Assign user responsibilities

With an effective assignment of roles, each team member understands exactly what the team expects from them. It helps them coordinate well, and the business runs smoothly. So, once you’re done charting the process flows, define user responsibilities.

At this stage, you’ll also be able to identify repetitive processes. It paves the way for business process automation. Automation can save 240 hours per employee every year.

5. Integrate the flow in a BPM

BPM (or Business Process Management) solutions bring different processes together. They provide an overview of all the functions so that you can optimize.

With BPM software, you can automate repetitive tasks and improve productivity easily. Seventy-five percent of BPM users believe that tech has helped them accomplish their goals. You can pick a BPM tool like monday.com for this purpose.

When you have set up everything, test your processes thoroughly. Ensure everything works as intended before deploying them throughout. Another thing: take regular feedback from your team members.

🎓 Learn more: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) vs. Business Process Management (BPM)

Measuring the effectiveness of business process flows

Measuring the effectiveness of these business process flows allows you to identify bottlenecks, streamline operational processes, and ultimately enhance overall performance. Let's explore some best practices.

1. Define clear goals and objectives

Before diving into metrics, know what you're aiming to achieve. Align your measurement with strategic goals and specific pain points in the process flow. Are you aiming for faster customer service, reduced costs, improved quality, or something else?

  • Define clear objectives and establish relevant KPIs.
  • Objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  • KPIs should align with these objectives and provide quantifiable metrics to track progress and success.

2. Focus on relevant metrics

Choose metrics that directly connect to your goals and objectives. Common process flow metrics include:

  • Cycle time: How long does it take to complete the entire process?
  • Cost per unit: How much does it cost to complete each process instance?
  • Error rate: What percentage of tasks have errors?
  • Customer satisfaction: How satisfied are customers with the process?
  • Employee satisfaction: How satisfied are employees with the process?

3. Use process mapping and process flowcharts

Process mapping and process flow charts are valuable tools for visualizing and understanding business process flows. Use these tools to identify:

  • A sequence of activities.
  • Decision points.
  • Potential bottlenecks in a process.

You can also compare your current process flow to the desired future state to identify gaps and business process improvement opportunities.

4. Collect accurate and reliable data

To measure the effectiveness of business process flows, you'll need to collect and analyze relevant data. This data can be obtained from various sources, such as customer surveys, operational reports, or system logs.

Once the data is collected and analyzed, you can identify patterns, trends, and areas for improvement. Use data visualization techniques like charts or graphs, to present the findings in a clear and concise manner.

4. Benchmark and compare

Compare your performance to industry benchmarks or past process performance. Benchmarking involves comparing your organization's performance against industry standards or best-in-class companies. Use it to:

  • Assess operational improvement.
  • Identify areas for further optimization.
  • Identify areas where the organization is lagging behind.
  • Gain insights into potential improvement opportunities.

Comparing performance internally across different teams or departments can also be helpful. It allows you to identify and share best practices, promote healthy competition, and drive overall performance improvement.

5. Communicate and act on results

Share measurement results with relevant stakeholders and get input from people involved in the process. Their insights can reveal hidden inefficiencies and suggest relevant metrics.

Use the insights from your stakeholders to identify areas for improvement, implement changes and track progress over time.

6. Continuously monitor and adapt

Don't treat measurement as a one-time exercise. Regularly monitor key metrics and adapt your approach based on results and changing needs.

Implementing feedback loops also fosters a culture of continuous improvement. Encourage employees to provide suggestions for process enhancements and empower them to take ownership of their work.

7. Leverage technology and automation

Workflow automation tools, such as workflow management systems or business process management software, can simplify data collection, analysis and reporting processes. These tools offer real-time insights into process performance and help you make informed decisions based on data.

Technology tools also enable you to automate repetitive tasks, minimize human errors, and enhance overall efficiency — and improve the effectiveness of business process flows.

How to train your team?

All employees can benefit from your improved business process flows. However, they need to understand the new system to get the best out of it. Only when they know the ins and outs can they adapt. When employees are trained properly, they can better focus on work, thus improving the overall efficiency of the organization.

Start by creating SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for team members to follow. Then, make a knowledge base of helpful guides, screenshots and videos for reference. Seventy percent of employees feel overwhelmed when the information isn’t available in one place.

Not sure where to begin?

You can automate process flow documentation with Scribe. Combine multiple business process guides instead of explaining each process painstakingly. And once you have the documents finalized and organized, you can pass them over to your team smoothly.


Scribe integrates well with your existing tools for easy access. Scribe integrations are available for Confluence, monday.com, Notion, Zendesk and many other tools.

You can even put together all your Looms, Docs and written snippets with the help of Scribe Pages. It keeps everything organized in one place, in your very own Scribe workspace. This will be your online library of documents and guides readily available for reference.


What is a process flow in a business plan?

A process flow in a business plan is a sequence of steps followed to achieve a specific objective or goal.

  • It involves visualizing and mapping out tasks and activities from start to finish.
  • Process flows help identify redundancies, repetitive tasks, and bottlenecks.
  • By visualizing process flows, businesses can understand their operations and find areas for improvement.
  • Process flows can be represented using timelines or workflow diagrams, providing a clear overview of the steps involved.

What are the three process flows?

There are three core business process flows that provide valuable insights into a business: cash flow, manufacturing flow, and design flow. These process flows help users understand the financial, operational, and creative aspects of a business.

  1. Cash flow: This business process flow focuses on the movement of money in and out of a business. It involves tracking the inflow of revenue from sales, as well as the outflow of expenses such as salaries, rent, and supplies. Understanding cash flow is crucial for managing the financial health of a business and ensuring it has enough funds to cover its obligations.
  2. Manufacturing flow: This business process flow pertains to the production and delivery of goods or services. It involves managing the entire production process, from sourcing raw materials to manufacturing, quality control, and distribution. Optimizing the manufacturing flow helps businesses streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve efficiency.
  3. Design flow: This business process flow focuses on the creative and innovative aspects of a business. It involves the design and development of products, services, or experiences that meet customer needs and preferences. The design flow encompasses activities such as market research, concept development, prototyping, testing, and finalizing the design. A well-executed design flow can lead to the creation of innovative and successful products or services.

Improve business process flows with Scribe

Improving and managing business process flows doesn’t have to be cumbersome. Not more than they already are. So, identify the problem processes, document them and build business process flows that work for you.

Ready to build beautiful, visual business process flows in seconds? Effortlessly capture your existing processes and build process flows for free by signing up today!

Ready to try Scribe?

Scribe automatically generates how-to guides and serves them to your team when they need them most. Save time, stay focused, help others.