They are a simple and effective tool and are made even more powerful during a Kaizen activity in a group setting, whereby the team are either designing a new, or ‘walking’ an existing process.
In quality movements, they are a good tool to understand possible escape points; that is identifying the points in the process where easy mistakes can be made or indeed pass through without being detected.
It comes as no surprise then, that process flow charts are invaluable in helping visualise what is going on and also what parts of the process are going wrong, thereby helping the viewer to understand a process, and, if the goal permits, also finding flaws, bottlenecks, and other less-obvious features within each step.
There are many different types of process flowcharts, and each version has its own catalogue of boxes and notations, however, they all provide the same remit:
To visually show the process in order to make improvements.
The two most common types of boxes in a flowchart are: