What is flow chart?
Flowchart definition: A flowchart is a graphical representation of the process. It’s a simplified way of presenting a business or manufacturing process from input to output. This blog will provide information about a flowchart, types of the flowchart, effective use of a flowchart, benefits of the flow chart, meaning of each symbol used in the flowchart, flowchart examples & flow chart process.\
Application of flowchart:
- To visualize and study the existing process as is.
- To review the gap, bottleneck, or to identify a gap in the existing process.
- To indicate improvement in the process.
- For problem-solving (5 WHY / CAPA) and improving process efficiency, the flowchart can be used or referred in the Corrective Action and Preventive Action problem-solving tool.
- A flowchart can also be used in reviewing existing processes to discover the root cause in Fishbone / Ishikawa diagram.
- A flowchart is also useful to establish a 5S system
- A flowchart is an input to establish FMEA.
- Planning of new project or deployment of a new process.
- For task allocation and defining roles and responsibilities.
- To indicate task status and workflow management.
- To document work instruction in a graphical representation format.
- To indicate information flow and data management
- The process flow is useful for the six sigma project deployment and completing the measure phase.
- To indicate the interaction between different departments within an organization or interaction between customer and supplier.
- To build a data flow diagram.
The flowchart also useful to solve a problem and it can be used for generating ideas.
Following flowchart symbols are used mostly in drafting flowcharts. Please review each flowchart symbol and its intended use.
1. Arrow: Arrow indicates the flow of process /data /information.
2. Terminal: This symbol indicates the start or end of the process.
3. Process: This symbol indicates the manufacturing process/business operation in sequence.
4. Decision Loop: The application of the decision loop is for decision-making in the process flow. Eg. Or or NotOk / Yes or No.
5. Predefined Process: Predefined process is linkage to other aligned process flow diagrams.
6. Input/Output: This symbol indicates input to a process and it also indicates an output of the process.
7. Stored Data: This symbol indicates data storage location (local server/ cloud)
8.Multi-document: This symbol indicates usage / referring multiple documents (work instructions/guidelines)
9. Single-document: This symbol indicates usage / referring to single documents as work instructions
10. Database: This symbol is for downloading / uploading data from a database.
Flowchart software / flowchart maker
There are various flowchart software/flowchart makers existing in the market. The best option is Microsoft Visio. Microsoft Visio is a paid software developed by Microsoft.
Types of flowchart & its application
- Deployment flowchart
- Ideal process flowchart
- A process as is (existing process) flowchart
- Swim lane process flow chart
- Data flowchart
- Workflow and decision flowchart
- Event-driven process flowchart
- Program flowchart
Deployment of flowchart:
This flowchart indicates the roles/activities of a cross-functional team in the process. A deployment flowchart is also known as a cross-functional flowchart or swim lane flowchart.
Ideal process flowchart:
Ideal process flowchart useful in drafting a new business/manufacturing process. Ideal process flowchart provides insights about how the process should be deployed, resources required to deploy the process.
A process as is (existing process) flowchart:
Process ‘as is’ flowchart is widely used to define existing process / current way of working. This process flowchart provides an overview of bottlenecks in the process, weighting time, wastage in the process.
This flowchart indicates the flow of data from the input stage to the output stage of the process. Eg. Housing/car loan application process, where the loan applicant’s financial and personal data is handled from loan application to loan disbursement.
Workflow and decision flowchart:
Workflow/decision flowchart is useful in tracking transactional details at each step with a decision (accept/reject). Eg. Agile workflow or other ERP workflow management. Many ERP showcase workflow pending for action or closed status.
Event-driven process flowchart:
Event-driven process flowchart is useful to draft a workflow and business process. This flowchart is also known as an event-driven process chain. This flowchart helps to establish a triggering event for the ‘and’ / ‘or’ decision-making loop.
- Featured image of this blog post is downloaded from Freepick Business vector created by vectorjuice – www.freepik.com