A Flow Process Chat is a symbolic representation that illustrates the sequence of actions within a process. It records the steps of a process along a vertical line. It is used to show the steps of a process using symbols along with text. It is commonly used when analyzing the steps in a process to help identify and eliminate waste. It is also called Process Sequence Chart.
A useful feature of the flow process chart is that it can be drawn up as the process is happening, and thus, get an accurate description of the process. By watching and recording, a person for example can follow a part, noting how and when it is produced, moved, checked and stored. This ensures that what actually happens gets recorded. Later when analyzing the process, some steps become obvious candidates for improvement, such non-value-adding activities, long delays and excessive transportation.
The flow process chart uses different symbols to indicate the type of activity being undertaken. It also uses text to give details of those activities. Common symbols are:
- Operation – produce or process something, or change one or more characteristics of the material.
- Storage – storing materials or other items.
- Transport – movement of people, materials or other items from one place to another.
- Delay – idle time of people, material or machinery (may be accompanied by a time measurement).
- Inspection – checking of items to ensure correct quality or quantity.
There are three common types of flow process charts based on what is being charted:
- A man-type chart which shows the actions of a person.
- A material-type chart which shows what happens to a product or item.
- An equipment-type chart which shows how a tool or other piece of equipment is used.
Example – Egg Trays Production:
The following example illustrates a flow process chart for an egg tray production line which is an example of a man-type flow process chart:
Example – Supplier Invoice Processing:
The following example shows a flow process chart (in two different formats) for an invoice after received by the supplier: