A process is an inherent part of any activity across all industries. Every business space follows either an established flow or naturally developed procedure in managing their daily operations. This is why there’s an essential need to promote the quality of processes to ensure that every organization member is treading the same path towards its success. Doing so makes flowcharts a widely-used tool in every office, especially those who are manning complex procedures. Learn how to effectively illustrate processes and methods for training sessions and experiments by reading the article below.
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What Is a Flowchart?
A flowchart is a diagram the represents a process flow through a series of symbols. The core purpose of a flowchart is to demonstrate a complex system or a set of procedural instructions through a visual layout. This makes way for easier and faster data interpretation than reading a lengthy manual or a document of steps.
Why Use Flowcharts?
Imagine having to go through numerous training booklets so that you can fulfill a five-minute business procedure. Although understanding the bits and pieces of a process is important to perform it well, it takes a lot of time and effort when there’s an efficient alternative to present it. According to Inc, flowcharts are valuable because it improves processes. It helps everyone in the workforce understand how they can accomplish something with a tool that they can interpret easily. This promotes independent learning and maximizes the productivity of each personnel.
Aside from presenting a work process excellently, here are some of the benefits when using a flowchart:
1. Flowcharts aids in problem-solving. A process flow can’t run smoothly all the time, even if you want to. Somewhere along the line, a problem appears out of nowhere. A troubleshooting flowchart can teach personnel how to apply basic troubleshooting methods even without a technician’s assistance.
2. Flowcharts promote coordination. A flowchart doesn’t only showcase how the process works. It also presents who are the key role players in the system and their assigned tasks. This helps managers identify which team has the heaviest burden so they can fairly allocate the task list.
3. Flowcharts boost overall work efficiency. Because of all these benefits, it’s undeniable that flowcharts significantly contribute to increasing workplace efficiency and productivity. This raises the quality of a business’s daily operations, producing excellent results for the management and its members.
How to Make a Flowchart
Flowcharts make understanding easy, but ironically, it can be confusing to make. Learn from these tips on how you can make a flowchart:
1. Start with a Draft
Before you use any application for your flowchart, start on a piece of paper first. This way, you’ll be able to decide on what your flowchart looks like. If you jump into the designing process with a pre-design blueprint, you’re subjecting your work to a series of trials and errors before achieving the right format. To avoid that, grab your paper and pen and layout your data. Understand the process and draw a rough outline of the chart on the paper. This provides you with a reference that you can easily follow when using an application.
2. Research on Flowchart Symbols
A crucial part of any flowchart is its symbols. It’s the chart’s identifying factor and what makes it unique among other diagrams. Study the different flowchart symbols applicable for your output. If you’re demonstrating the process on how to manage a software system through a management flowchart, you might want to use the oval to indicate the start and the end and the rectangle to instruct what step to take. There are more of these that you need to know when making a flowchart. Check them out so you can put your chart together with the right symbol. You can also include a guide on the final layout so your viewers can get a hold of what the symbols mean.
3. Use Consistent Design Elements
By now, you must already have a sketch of what your flowchart looks like. When you begin putting your diagram together, apply consistency. All symbols and shapes must have the same sizes. If you’re using borders to your shapes, do it to every other shape on your layout. You must also apply consistent spacing between each symbol to achieve a uniform and orderly flow. Doing this improves your flowchart’s comprehensibility because it’s easier to look at. A messy and disorganized management chart may confuse and will most likely fail to meet its purpose of simplifying a process flow.
4. Avoid Overlapping Arrows
When putting arrows to interconnect each symbol and action step, never overlap arrows with each other. This is where your draft becomes valuable. When planning your flowchart’s presentation, strive to avoid entangling your arrows with other arrows when stringing the symbols together. Allow ample space in between your shapes where your viewer can clearly distinguish the connection between your symbols. When it gets too crowded, direct your arrows outside the diagram instead of bringing them close.
Who introduced the concept of flowcharts?
Frank Gilbreth and Lilian Gilbreth introduced flowcharts.
What are the different flowchart types?
The different types of flowcharts are:
- Process flowchart
- Workflow flowchart
- Data Flow flowchart
- Swimlane flowchart
- Process map
- Process diagram
What are the most common flowchart symbols?
The most common flowchart symbols are:
- Rectangle – a process step
- Oval – start or end
- Parallelogram – input or output
- Arrow – connects one symbol to another
- Diamond – decision
Flowcharts may seem like another chart document on anyone’s office, but they play a significant role in ensuring that everyone understands how the process works and it’s operational standards. This allows every member of an organization to have a thorough knowledge of their assigned tasks and perform their best. Follow the steps above and customize your flowchart templates now.
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