7QC Tools: Flow chart – Have You Ever Took it Seriously?

for posts

We have seen that it is essential to know one’s process before taking any improvement projects. But, the main question remains unanswered

“How process flow can help us?”

Case-1: Department driven company Vs. Process driven company

We have experienced that any company is comprised of many departments.

Picture54

However, the irony is that the company is made of departments whereas the processes make the business (product and services provided by any company is the result of series of processes that encompasses various departments) as shown below.

Picture55

As company is divided into departments hence, everyone is responsible for their departmental work-flow but no one is accountable for the entire business flow leading to product & services. Finally because of this myopic vision, people fail to see the entire process that make up the business and couldn’t contribute beyond their department for the betterment of the business. Hence, the process flow described above should not be taken as manufacturing project but as a process starting from order and ends with revenue recognition or simply as “order to payment.”

In the departmental set-up, production can argue that they have completed the task in time and the project has been goofed-up by some other department hence, they are not responsible for the project failure. This is a common scenario where all department works in silos. But they fail to figure out the bigger picture

“If any sub-process of the work-flow fails, it hampers the product/services delivery and as a result, company fails to get the revenue. As the company’s growth is hampered, which in return could hamper everyone’s performance and increment irrespective of the good work by your department.” Simply because if company fails to generate the revenue, from where it would give you the increment? Even if you have performed well! 

I do remember that in my last organization, we were in the customer centric business and after initial struggle we came up with following CFT matrix headed by a project manager. The CFT comprises of the members from each department. Once the project is awarded to the CFT, this CFT is responsible for the end to end delivery of the project. Even though each member was reporting to their departmental head but for the project they were one unit with a common goal. As a result no one has excuse in case project fails, irrespective of any reason.

Picture61

Advantage of this system is that there is a dedicated team for the delivery of the project and the work-flow is automatically followed. Another advantage is that the respective head interferes with the process in case of criticality otherwise they can so some other value added work for the company (justifying their salary!).

Case-2: Identifying non-value adding steps in the process

Take the case of raw material release by QA for the production (earlier blog). Now if we modify the process flow diagram by adding the time taken for the activity by a department and the person responsible, then flow charts can add value by

1. Increasing the process understanding

2. Identify the problem areas and improvement opportunities by identifying the non-value adding activities.

3. It helps in laying the foundation for value stream mapping (VSM)

4. It helps in establishing the service level agreement (SLA) between the departments.

Drawing63

 

 

In the above work flow we can question the QC

why it takes 1 hour for SOP retrieval? Can’t we have soft copies instead?

Why QC head takes 10 hours for approval? Can’t it be delegated to some experienced QC person? if not, can we train some QC persons?

Why QA head takes 5 hours for approval, as he has say only yes or no by looking at the QC data? Can’t it be delegated to some experienced QA person? if not, can we train some QA persons?

To summarize, if we make the process flow in minute details, we can have solutions and we can also eliminate non-value adding steps.

 

Related Blog

7QC Tools: Flow Chart, Know Your Process Thoroughly

7QC Tools: Fish Bone or Ishikawa Diagram

7QC Tools: How to Extract More Information from the Scatter Plot?

7QC Tools: How to Draw a Scatter Plot?

7QC Tools: Scatter Plot — Caution! Misuse of Statistics!

7QC Tools: Scatter Plot

7QC Tools — How to Prioritize Your Work Using Pareto Chart?

7QC Tools — How to Interpret a Histogram?

7QC Tools — How to Draw a Histogram?

7QC Tools — Histogram of Continuous Data

7QC Tools — Histogram of Discrete Data

7QC tools — Check List

Excellent Templates for 7QC tools from ASQ

What are Seven QC Tools & How to Remember them?


Hammer, M. and Champy, J. (1993). Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution, New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

7QC Tools: Flow Chart, Know Your Process Thoroughly

for posts

Picture52Rightly said by Deming, if we really want to improve our processes then there are two thing to be taken care of. Firstly, we must know our process to an extent that even if someone ask us in the middle of the night, it should come instantaneously from out mouth as if we have witnessed the process every day. Second most important thing is that we must have some measurement system to evaluate our process

Picture53We will deal with measurement in some other day, let’s talk about the process for the time being.

We all must have seen the organizational chart or an organogram that describes how the various departments are arranged within the organization. This chart is valuable in the sense that it enables us to visualize a complete organization, by means of a picture.

Picture54

Similarly, every organization have business processes that give a pictorial view of the work flow within the organization for delivering a product/services. This helps employees to visualize the movement of men/material/services from department to another. This is also called as process map as it shows the sequence of events/task that are there in performing a given process.

For example: on a macro level, department ‘B’ in an organization has to do some work (adding value)  as shown below by the block diagram

Picture57

But, for adding some value to the work, department ‘B’ must get some input from some other department say ‘A’ and once ‘B’ has added the value to the input received from ‘A’, it has produced some goods or services which becomes output from department ‘B’. This output in turn becomes input for some department ‘C’ or for an external customer. Same thing is depicted by the block diagram shown above where the flow of goods/services between the departments within the organization is shown.

For example, purchase of raw material by production can be represented by following flow diagram

Picture59

This is called as flow diagram. The example given above is the flow diagram at macro level. Now let’s see the complete work flow or the flow chart at the sub-macro level for the process “order to dispatch” of some product.

Picture55

In the above flow chart, we have tried to link the activities of various departments to fulfill the common goal of producing some goods/services for a customer. Point to be noted here is that, each block above represents a separate department hence, it represents a sub-process within that department which is required to be executed by that department in order to achieve the organizational goal of delivering the goods/services to the customer on time.

The micro level flow chart shows the entire sequence of events of a process by using some standard symbols with some specific meaning as shown below

Picture60

Let’s look at the process of getting the raw material from the ware house for the production at micro level using flow chart

Drawing60

We can see that, it take almost 6 days to release a new batch of raw material for the production. In order to understand it further, the process of “analysis by QC” is investigated as shown below

We can see that the raw material reaches QC on second day, however the raw material is approved/rejected on on the sixth day! Why it is so? let’s get an answer from investigating the QC process

Drawing62

Now we can ask ourselves following questions

Why analysis starts at 3rd day when raw material is submitted on 2nd day itself? whether it is a manpower or machine constrain?

Why review of the QC would require a whole day?

If we can resolve the above issues, we can reduce the approval time by two days.

What we have done above is called as value stream mapping (VSM) of the process, thereby eliminating the non-value adding steps to increase the efficiency of the process.

Above example shows the power of flow chart/process mapping. But irony is that we seldom map the process and in absence of it, it is difficult to start any improvement program. This is because we need to have a baseline for the existing process in order to propose a improvement.

Other outcome of the flow chart is that we can make some decision about the root causes of a problem. Hence, flow chart in combination with fish-bone diagram is a very powerful tool to screen out most probable causes.

Related Blogs

7QC Tools: Fish Bone or Ishikawa Diagram

7QC Tools: How to Extract More Information from the Scatter Plot?

7QC Tools: How to Draw a Scatter Plot?

7QC Tools: Scatter Plot — Caution! Misuse of Statistics!

7QC Tools: Scatter Plot

7QC Tools — How to Prioritize Your Work Using Pareto Chart?

7QC Tools — How to Interpret a Histogram?

7QC Tools — How to Draw a Histogram?

7QC Tools — Histogram of Continuous Data

7QC Tools — Histogram of Discrete Data

7QC tools — Check List

Excellent Templates for 7QC tools from ASQ

What are Seven QC Tools & How to Remember them?