BPI Essentials - Flow Charts and Quality Control Tools

Change is the only constant factor in life. The same holds good for every Organization as well as Business too. In case of Organizations, the external and internal conditions, market demands, technology, Customer Expectations drive the need for Organizational change to meet with the new requirement and continue on the growth path. Organizations include multiple departments, functions, systems, resources and people who work on hundreds of processes. Processes can be many and include production processes as well as business processes etc. All of the processes are inter dependant, involve people and systems as well as information. All of these multiple factors contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of the business or the Organization.

Working of any Organization is a dynamic situation where people, systems, resources, information and processes are constantly working together, guided and managed by the Management to produce the required results. Over a period of time, the processes can become inefficient due to various factors or become redundant. External customer expectations and market conditions, competition as well as technological advances can also necessitate improvement of business processes and augmentation of the operational efficiencies and business effectiveness of the Organization. In all cases, implementing change through Business Process Improvement Projects has become an accepted norm across all fields of business.

BPI projects use several tools in the project. Statistical analysis and quality systems including 7 QC tools play a major role in streamlining the process, in ensuring its stability, and establishing criteria, measuring the process and analysis of the performance. Besides the QC and statistical tools, flow charts of different types are used extensively and form the backbone of the projects.

Flowcharts form the major tool for mapping the process in ‘As Is’ condition as well as in drawing up proposed ‘Should Be’ process. Flowcharts help the project team understand the interdependencies, identify bottlenecks, understand the various elements and factors contributing to the process as well as view the entire process including all inputs and outputs both at micro as well as macro levels. More importantly, Flow charts are great set of tools arrive at the proposed process so that the existing and the proposed changes can be reviewed easily.

Flow charts can be used effectively to educate and train the employees to understand and comprehend the inter dependencies and how their efficiency effects the other’s work as well as the entire process. Discussing individual performance and role using flow chart helps impart a sense of importance and boost the morale of the employee who is able to identify with the entire process and team thereby feel responsible for the output.

Flow charts are effective tools of identifying and helping employees fix problems on the floor. Identification of shortcomings and bottlenecks can be discussed objectively without getting subjective about the individuals engaged in the process.

Similar to Maps, Flow Charts are great design tools that provide you with the overview of the entire business process including all sub processes and inter connected processes as well. Drawing up the flow chart in detail and capturing the entire process most often shows up the inherent problems and deficiencies to the observers.

In fact most of the progressive Organizations have not only set down quality policy as the guiding principle of the Organization but have built in a working culture that emphasizes on training and using Flow Charts and QC Tools as a part of the work culture. When individual employees and groups are trained on using flow charts for their day to day operations, most of the deficiencies and bottlenecks get identified and corrected at the floor level by the employees themselves and in turn they automatically build robust and efficient processes and operations.

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