Sequence is an important aspect of the natural world. All the natural processes that operate on earth follow a distinct sequence. Respiration in plants, the flow of magma on the earth’s crust, the flowering of a tree, human locomotion, animal breeding cycles, the movement of the tides, and biological development in vertebrates, et al – each process follows a distinct sequence. Sequence is the opposite of chaos, which is distinguished by the lack of any sense of order. Scientists have detected chaos in nature – such as the haphazard movement of molecules inside a gas. However, the men and women of science attest that most natural processes on earth follow a distinct sequence. In a similar vein, the domain of commerce places a significant premium in the sequential flow of actions and processes. This enables the timely achievement of a variety of set routines in the different verticals that animate commerce. Flowcharts are deployed to manage workflow in the modern world. These diagrams, when specifically constructed, can guide the orderly accomplishment of processes and the operation of systems.
Process flowcharts represent the first variation of digital diagrams that allow modern designers to chart a process in considerable depth. These flowchart help brands and businesses to manage workflow in certain processes that include manufacturing, administrative actions, and servicing systems. The prime benefit of using a process flowchart stems from the innate ability of a flowchart to expand per the requirements. Such a diagram helps to manage workflow by outlining the complex (sometimes repetitive) connections between the various stages of a process. For instance, the management cadre of a firm can implement a process flowchart in a bid to connect the various stages; these may include purchasing cycles, production scheduling, sales cycles, payables cycles, inventory cycles, and distribution & shipping systems. This diagram connects various suppliers, producers, customers, and vendors. An examination of this flowchart clearly marks the cause and effect relationships between the various stakeholders. Each stage of this flowchart outlines the stalwart events that power the overall cycle to its intended destination. In addition, designers remain at liberty to create additional stages inside a process flowchart with a view to accommodate various changes in real world systems.
The process flowchart also remains the mechanism of choice to chart the various roles and responsibilities that animate a commercial, scientific, maintenance, or technical organization. This aspect of a flowchart is critical in terms of affording a bird’s eye-view of the various roles and responsibilities. Each level inside this flowchart can point to the specific lines of command and control that connect various stages. This enables planners to manage workflow while ensuring that individuals at each level are held accountable for a certain set of accomplishments. Such a flowchart also helps designers and creators to affix responsibility at each level of the business organization. In addition, a process flowchart enables planners to pin specific responsibilities (such as leadership and risk management) to certain tiers within the hierarchy of the organization. These attributes clearly place the modern process flowchart in a prominent position when the mission is to manage workflow.
Swimlane flowcharts represent a storied class of diagrams that allow modern management systems to operate complex processes. The primary benefit of creating a swimlane diagram is to expertly manage workflow and depict the various lines of interaction within a large, multi-departmental organization. These diagrams are prized because they violate the invisible lines of departmental turfs with a view to project lines of co-operation. For instance, workflow planners can deploy a swimlane diagram to chalk the lines of interaction between consumer-facing work groups, marketing teams, the sales organization, and the executive leadership. These departments must work in tandem to deliver customer delight and ensure the commercial success of an organization. In addition, the swimlane flowchart offers deep insights into organizational operations by outlining the multiple stages of co-operation that proceed (or recede) on the basis of yes/no binaries.
Organizational thinkers may view the swimlane diagram as a cross-functional process map. This flows from the fact that such diagrams may depict jointly performed stages (or sub-stages) that create an outsize impact on outcomes. Thus, personnel located within the sales, purchase, and other departments must perform as a unit to process a certain customer order. This constitutes an excellent example of organizational actions undertaken with a view to manage workflow. In addition, a swimlane diagram outlines the subsequent processes that impinge on multiple departments as part of process completion. This may involve a repeat performance of the co-operation that triggered a certain course of action earlier in said diagram. Notably, the swimlane diagram may emerge as a complex visual image owing to multiple lines of connection and binary actions; however, these diagrams remain useful because their depictions correspond to the complexities involved in contemporary, trans-regional and trans-national commercial undertakings.
Intelligent designers can devise swimlane flowcharts with the aim of sketching the complex flow of events (and the interactions, thereof) that animate a modern supply chain operation. The objective is to manage workflow and balance multiple moving parts within a strict timeframe. This swimlane may create multiple lanes, each corresponding to the purchasing department, production sites; logistics, suppliers, vendors, and various control mechanisms. This flowchart can emerge as a complex visual image, wherein each stage is linked and linked again to other stages and their sub-stages. This may appear an academic exercise, but the flowchart must aim to gauge each process as it operates in real world conditions. Therefore, it must depict workarounds and alternative lines should the primary lines of operation face sudden interruption. In addition, this flowchart must assign prominence to timelines, because a supply chain registers success only when it operates in line with expected timelines.
A workflow diagram represents the third type of flowchart that enables an organizational entity to manage workflow. This type of a diagram visually depicts the direction of an entire work process. A correctly constructed workflow diagram enables designers to depict workflow in an organized manner. For instance, flowchart designers can create a workflow diagram that depicts the registration process for a user and the subsequent sale of a software product. This diagram can commence at a user visiting a website with a view to purchase a software license (or product). He or she may elect to speak to a human sales support person on the telephone before proceeding to place an order. The various stages may include user choosing a product, inputting personal financial information, and registering for an online training program. However, at the organizational level, the workflow diagram may depict a succession of back-end stages that include order confirmation, order processing, generating a product activation code, etc. The visual depiction of these stages enables the organization to manage workflow in a systematic manner. The workflow diagram must be robust enough to accommodate the actions of thousands of paying customers. This representation of the typical flowchart allows us to appreciate the essential utility of a modern flowchart diagram.
The foregoing analysis enables us to acquire a fine understanding of using flowcharts to manage workflow. The scope for creating and using these digital diagrams remains significant in the modern world. Flowcharts will continue to evolve in step with the complexities that are now commonplace in contemporary systems and processes.