Continuous Improvement Toolkit
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Basic Quality Tools
There are many classifications of waste. One of the most basic and widely used models across many industries is the Eight Wastes.
Process maps are used to map existing processes (what the process really is), as well as to map the future state of how things should be after implementing process improvement (what the process should be).
Just like real maps, process maps can be created in different levels (vertical expansion). Also, the process itself can be as simple or as complex as required (horizontal expansion).
This is an example of a process map that illustrates the process for equipment installation. Notice the two rework loops to indicate the activities that are repeated.
This is an example of a process map for doing the laundry in the old fashioned way (the washer and dryer are separated).
This is a process map for making orange juice. This process may be part of a larger process (e.g. preparing breakfast). Also, each step can be decomposed further (e.g. you may describe how to peel and slice the oranges).
An example of a process map for repairing a defective unit after received by a customer. Notice that there is only one process step which has been mapped to a second level.
An example of a process map that illustrates the process for making two-piece aluminum beverage cans. The process begins with preparing the aluminum coil and ends with palletizing the cans.
The purpose of this example is to help identify all possible sources of variation that could have an influence on the performance of the process (expense payment for employees). Note that there are only two factors that could be adjusted.
This process map shows the steps required to make coffee drink. Note that there are only eight controllable factors that could be adjusted to influence the quality and taste of the coffee.
This is called a time-function process map, which is a process map with the time added on one axis and the function on the other axis. It is useful to identify and reduce the waiting times.
More information can be displayed in process maps using this tabular format, including the time it takes to perform each activity, the responsible person for each activity, input variables, KPI’s, etc.
A cross-functional flowchart (or a swimlane flowchart) illustrates the sequence of activities required to accomplish a cross-functional process.
This is an example of a flowchart that illustrates the process for making a cup of tea. Cycle time here is the time needed to prepare the cup of tea.
This is an example of a flowchart that illustrates the process for preparing reports for decision makers. Notice how the performance indicators that need to be tracked were added above three of the steps.