A flowchart is a “formalized graphic representation” that illustrates a workflow or process or a solution to a given problem. The modern flowchart is essentially a business tool that outlines multiple steps in a linear progression. Each step progresses towards a fixed objective. Boxes represent each stage in a flowchart with arrows connecting each successive stage. Flow charts can be used to represent a logic sequence, a manufacturing process, or an organizational chart. The common intent behind creating a flowchart is to explain the various stages of a process or a business project to audiences. Businesses can create a flow chart to address business problems and explore possible solutions. A flowchart template can help analysts and business organizations to cast various processes in a diagrammatic manner. We will explore the different types of flowcharts and their uses in the paragraphs below.
Flowcharts may be assigned specialized names in keeping with their use in different industries. Different types of flowcharts serve different purposes. Some of these flowcharts include the process flowchart, the process map, the functional flowchart, business process mapping, business process modeling and notation (BPMN), and process flow diagrams (PFD). Other forms of flowcharts include data flow diagrams (DFDs) and unified modeling language (UML) activity diagrams.
Different types of flowcharts are used to document and analyze business and industrial processes. These enable enterprises to gain visibility into the proverbial ‘nuts and bolts’ of a business process or industrial operation. Commercial organizations can deploy different types of flowcharts to spot potential deficiencies when they assess the various stages of such processes in a flowchart. In addition, the data depicted on flowcharts can help standardize the various stages of a process for efficiency and quality. This aspect is useful in manufacturing industries because standardization can help reduce process costs, indicate points of resource wastage, identify bottlenecks, and spotlight avenues for higher investment. Further, the graphic information depicted on a flowchart can help enterprises to communicate a process for training purposes to different components of an organization.
In the field of education, different types of flowcharts enable academics to plan coursework and other academic requirements. The diagrammatic representation on different types of flowcharts allows educators and school administrators to create lesson plans for the different grades in a school. Flowcharts also help class teachers to organize a group project and assign individual responsibilities to students. This helps students to co-ordinate their efforts and labor toward achieving a common objective. Teachers and instructors of animal biology can deploy flowcharts to track the various stages of the digestive process. Professors of medicine can create different types of flowcharts that allow students of medicine to map symptoms of various diseases and disorders. Students of science can collaborate to create flowcharts that analyze various scientific phenomenon and their effect on the physical world. In light of the above, we may state flowcharts are an important tool that furthers the cause of education and academic research.
Document Flowcharts – These flowcharts display the flow of paper and electronic documents among the various units of a business. These flowcharts represent a powerful tool that help analysts to understand, analyse, document, and improve various work processes inside an organization. We note that among the different types of flowcharts, document flowcharts must be read from left to right because they indicate the flow of documents through various business units. Users can build a document flowchart by dividing said chart into columns and departments that operate inside an organization. Among the different types of flowcharts, the perfect document flowchart makes it easy for workers and managers to identify the placement of internal controls inside an organization. Business organizations can use document flowcharts to apprise the management cadre with facts that are independent of assumptions and projections. These devices also offer a clear view of business processes and empower a business to achieve business objectives.
Data Flowcharts – Also known as a Data Flow Diagram (DFD), these flowcharts are a graphical representation of the “flow” of data inside an information system. We note a DFD is a preliminary step that helps create an overview of the system without revealing any amount of graphic detail. The typical data flowchart primarily spotlights the channels through which data is transmitted within a system. Modern DFDs emerged in the 1970s in the field of software development. Two distinct classes of notations are used in modern data flow diagrams. These notations depict processes, data stores, data flows, and external entities. The Yourdon and Coad model uses circles to represent processes. DFDs based on the Gane and Sarson system depict processes as squares with rounded corners.
System Flowcharts – These visual representations display how data flows inside a system and the execution of decisions to control events. System flowcharts typically use symbols that are connected to illustrate what happens to various points of data inside a system. For instance, software architects can use different types of flowcharts. However, a system flowchart is optimal to demonstrate the flow of data through operations such as data entry, software programs, storage media, microprocessors and micro controllers, and communications networks. A system flowchart can depict the mechanism of cruise control in a modern automobile by depicting inputs such as fuel flow to the engine, the operation of speed sensors, how the system responds when the car is gaining momentum, etc. In addition, system flowcharts help us understand processes that animate aircraft control, central heating mechanisms, and automatic washing machines.
Program Flowcharts – These diagrams are created with standard graphic symbols that represent a sequence of coded instructions. These flowcharts are typically used to illustrate the internal workings of a modern computerized system. Four basic symbols are used to construct a modern program flowchart. These include start, process, decision, and end. Program flowcharts help software developers and architects to locate bugs inside pieces of computer code. These devices help to improve coding efficiency and communicate the essential logic of a system to reviewers and developers.
Process Flow Diagrams – Also known as a process flowchart, these visual devices illuminate important relationships shared between the major components built inside an industrial plant. These diagrams are commonly used by the chemical engineering and process engineering industry to improve a process or create new processes. Modern process flow diagrams use a series of symbols and notations to visually narrate an industrial process. A process flow diagram helps to document industrial processes with a view to promote better understanding, reinforce quality control mechanisms, and train new employees. Businesses can use these devices to implement optimum efficiency and repeatability in a business process. A well-built process flow diagram helps to spotlight bottlenecks and highlights process inefficiencies.
Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) – This is a flowchart method that models the many steps inside a planned business process. This device depicts a detailed sequence of business activities and information flows that are required to complete public and private business processes. BPMN was originally conceived to help cover the communication gaps that may operate between the various departments within an organization. This flowchart model is designed to enable stakeholders to gain a deeper understanding of a certain process. The perusal of BPMN enables process implementers to achieve a precise implementation of a process. Business analysts, process participants, managers, consultants, and technical developers commonly use it.