Also known as Flow Process Chart.
Variants include Process Chart, Flow Diagram and Spaghetti Diagram.
A process sequence chat is a symbolic representation that illustrates the sequence of activities within a process. It is used to record the activities that make up a process to determine which steps add value and which do not. It is preferred over other process mapping techniques when the process is sequential in nature and contains no or few decision points. Activities in these types of charts can be any operation, inspection, storage or transportation actions that are carried out by an individual, a team, a machine, a system, or a combinations of all.
A useful feature of these charts is that they can be drawn up as the process is happening, thus providing an accurate description of the process. By observing and recording, you can for example follow a part, noting how and when it is operated, moved, inspected and stored. Later on and when analyzing the process, some steps become obvious candidates for improvement, such as non-value-added activities, long delays and excessive transportation.
There are three types of process sequence charts based on what is being charted:
- A man-type chart which shows the activities of a person or group of people.
- A material-type chart which shows what happens to a product or item as it moves.
- An equipment-type chart which shows the activities from the viewpoint of the machine or equipment involved.
The following is a brief explanation of the common five categories used in process sequence chart along with examples for each of them.
Care should be taken when choosing the right category, as a delay of a machine could be an inspection made by an operator or a transportation activity.
A good practice is to chart the present process as well as the future process in order to drive change and continuous improvement. A typical approach is to chart the present process first and then propose the improvement on a second chart.
Improvements can be made by reducing the number of activities, reducing the time each activity takes, or reducing the distance of travel for the transport activities. Thus, it is important to tracks performance measures such as cycle times, error rates, and distance travelled.
The following example illustrates a process sequence chart prepared for an egg tray production line, which is a material-type process sequence chart. Note that the time it takes to perform each activity can be written under the symbols.
A process chart presents the process activities and the related information in the form of a table. It allows recording further information about each process activity such as error rates, time and distance. These information can help later in estimating key performance metrics, including:
- The percentage of the value-added activities to the total activities.
- The total time to perform the process.
- The distance travelled.
The following example shows a process sequence chart and a process chart for processing an invoice after received by the supplier. The process begins after receiving the invoice and ends with paying the supplier.
The following table is the process chart summary which is useful to estimate key performance indicators.
Process sequence charts and process charts are sometimes drawn up in conjunction with other tools such as flow diagrams and opportunity maps.
There are many tools that can help you to chart your processes. One of the simplest ways is to use this process chart template.
If you want to use the following three documents in your training courses, the PPTX versions are available to buy from our Shop page.