Why You Should Use the Swimlane Format to Flowchart Your Procurement Process

Process mapping is a tried and true way to visually see how your procurement processes from end to end. The Swimlane technique is in a sample flowchart format used by many procurement engineers to help clients define their current processes. In addition it is a very good technique to help develop a more efficient procure to pay approval process by helping to remove gaps and redundancies within the approval chain.

A flowchart is a sequence of graphical symbols and shapes that create a visual diagram that can be used to document a procedure. Procurement engineers utilize these flowcharts as part of their change management toolbox when assisting their clients in re-engineering their business procedures.

A flowchart can help a team collectively map out their inter-departmental processes and procedures into diagrams that create a clear and concise road map that can be traced by anyone. Using the Swimlane format helps breakdown the various parts of a complex process into organized “lanes” that can be re-ordered and connected and easily validated for accuracy.

Analyzing a flowchart using the Swimlane configuration enables the reader to logically follow the sequence of steps, specific rules and paths they should take when certain situations are encountered, even if they are not intimate with the procure to pay process. E-procurement type project engineers incorporate these methods and tools to ensure the new designs mimic the current approval process or make them more efficient, if possible.

There are many tools that can be used to develop Swimlane flowchart diagrams. You can use basic presentation, spreadsheet or word processing software to create basic flowcharts. For more complex diagrams and process maps, many procurement contractors will use specialized software tools that have more bells and whistles.

In summary, when learning how to draw flowcharts, it is imperative to develop a standard methodology that helps organize information in a concise manner. Mastering the Swimlane format as part of your sample flowchart toolbox will enable you to produce flowcharts that are effective in taking high level information and breaking it down into the basic parts and pieces that can be read by anyone.