Flowcharts can be defined as graphical representations and maps depicting any process. The different steps involved in the process are generally represented by different symbolic shapes. The arrows that connect these symbols indicate the overall process flow. Flowcharts are considered to be particularly useful for quality control jobs because they can clearly display how a given process is functioning at present. Flowcharts can also provide an indication of how the same process is supposed to function under ideal conditions. By using a flowchart, the process owners can find out how logical the steps of the process are, identify the problem areas, and create a common knowledge base for the entire process. It has been observed that flowcharting also reveals concern areas such as dead ends, delays, redundancies, and things that would have otherwise remained ignored or uncovered. This is particularly true for teams that are detached from the actual functioning of the process or hesitant to describe the actual process. Please remember that no flowchart will ever work unless they are accurate and the team is well connected to the process. All the team members should spontaneously become parts of the process and should feel free to describe the actual process without any fear or apprehension. With a detailed and proper flowchart, you should have a clear visibility of how the process is functioning. By completing a flowchart, you should be able to
- Find out the process’ time lags and steps that are not adding any value
- Identify people responsible for each step of the process
- Brainstorm for the most severe problems faced by the process.
- Create cause and effect diagrams to determine deliverable inputs for the process
- Utilize the consensus builder to shortlist the most probable areas of concern.