A flowchart is a picture of a process. It represents a step-by-step sequence. It can help in reaching a common understanding of how the manufacturing process is run and can act as a base for enhancing or changing the process. It can also be used as a documentation and training tool for pointing out areas for data collection and control, and as the basis of brainstorming for enhancing and troubleshooting the manufacturing process. Recently, it has been mostly replaced with process mapping. Figure 3.6 is flowchart representation of control charts.
The flowcharting process consists of these stops:
• Identify the first and last steps of the process.
• Fill in each process step. Include any time the product is handled, transferred, joined, or changed in form.
• Show feedback loops such as rework paths; they indicate inefficiency and possible low quality.
• Choose symbols that are well understood or previously used: oblongs for start/end of process, diamonds for steps, and squares for decision points.
• Use structured analysis (SA) to simplify charts. Break down each major step into a box in the upper-level chart. Make sure all lines in the charts connect to at least one process step.
• Keep charts up to date as process evolves.