F is for Flow Chart

Helen profile image
December 17, 2020
Advent Alphabet Series

Flowcharts are a visual way of recording an activity or process flow, they are a very useful way of recording knowledge of how the business operates. Creating an overall flowchart of what a business actually does, using the information gathered from the people who actually do it is so important - and can also come up with some unexpected results!

Putting together a flowchart is a good way of starting a project with a new client as it builds my understanding of the business very quickly, as the client tells me about their business, I use large flip chart paper and some colourful pens to record the information they are giving me - coloured post it notes are also handy and make moving information around easier. 

Flowcharts are particularly useful in an integrated management system and can help to identify:

  • health and safety hazards
  • environmental aspects and impacts 
  • inspection and quality control points
  • single points of failure 

When any process is documented in a visual way, it very quickly becomes obvious where the bottlenecks are, where waste (including time) can be eliminated and where improvements can be made. We can then draw up 'as is' and 'to be' flowcharts and can putting a plan in place to move away from 'as is' and towards 'to be' - making sure we involve all the relevant people in the changes along the way.  

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