Process - Top Tips - Brown paper mapping

Brown paper mapping

What is it?

Brown Paper Mapping is a Core Skill. It is a pictorial representation of a process, detailing actual steps taken and highlighting all decision points.


What’s it about?

Brown paper mapping enables you to breakdown, record and analyse steps in a process so you can see what is happening now and identify strengths and opportunities for improvement. It is particularly useful when solving problems or looking at a process that is broken to identify what steps need to be added or changed in the process to make it work better in the future. It:


     is high touch & low tech

     has high visual impact

     is a progress map rather than a finished article

     makes it easy to get involvement from many people at the same time


The aims of the Brown Paper Mapping are to:

     describe a process and develop a shared understanding of how it works today (an ‘as is’ process map)

     show the “big picture” at a glance

     identify strengths and opportunities

     show when decisions are made and who makes them

     indicate main areas for future improvement

     agree and develop what the future process could look like (a “to be” process map)

Process - Top Tips - Brown paper mapping

Top tip

What else might I need to know?

As a retail manager you could use Brown Paper Mapping to look at aspects of your business, for example to:


     Prepare for Peak. Start with the goal in mind and work back to all the process that needs to be undertaken to ensure you have a successful outcome.

     Improve operational effectiveness. Map out the way processes are currently applied in store and identify where in things break down or don’t work as smoothly.

     Map the customer journey in your store to capture the experience customers receive when shopping with you and identify gaps or areas for improvement in the process.


You may find it useful to look at the pages on data analysis, problem solving and project management techniques