Types of Flowcharts for Process Mapping

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Modern business enterprises are complicated organizations that depend on complex supply chains and business operations at multiple levels. These organizations can operate at local, regional, national, and trans-national levels and must abide by local and state laws, adopt good manufacturing practices, serve the customer on a consistent basis, present a distinct value proposition, pay their taxes, and compete in open markets. In such a scenario, modern businesses must adopt process mapping practices that help them define and communicate important details of a business process. Flowcharts can help business operators to achieve such objectives and boost the understanding of the dynamics that power a process. Hence, process mapping is vital to ensure the smooth operations that animate the modern business organization.

Flowcharts used for process mapping must manifest in the form of digital diagrams of current business processes. A process map depicts “who and what is involved in a process and can be used in any business or organization to reveal areas where a process should be improved.” An important aspect of process mapping is to seek areas of improvement that help a process to contribute greater value to the business bottom line. Therefore, a business operator can deploy a flowchart to inspect or examine the many elements that work in concert to animate a business process. The graphic image delivered by a flowchart enables business operators to cut waste and improve the utilization of business resources. This can be illustrated by an instance, wherein a manufacturer of domestic furniture delves deep into a process flowchart in search of insights. This examination may indicate that sourcing the raw materials of the business from multiple vendors can help said manufacturer to access better prices and the insight can result in the re-working of certain business processes. This clearly underlines the importance of the flowchart is creating more cost-efficient process maps to drive business outcomes.

Businesses can use basic flowcharts to map a proposed new project. This aspect of process mapping must consider various factors including commercial viability, scope of the target market, costs and expenses, the potential profits generated by a successful project, etc. The variation of the process map flowchart must depict the sequence of steps, interventions, decision points, and multiple outcomes of said new project. The flowchart must be designed with a view to create greater visibility for the benefit of project planners and the management cadre, and make provisions for unforeseen circumstances, regulatory hurdles, gaps in supply chains, and the methods to implement a solution to such situations. The ultimate aim of creating such a flowchart is to examine in minute detail all the aspects that may attend and impact the new project. Hence, designers and creators must invest significant time and effort to flesh out such a flowchart diagram.

Swimlane flowcharts visually depict “job sharing and responsibilities for sub-processes of a business process.” A typical flowchart of this category bears lines and connectors between the various steps that animate the flowchart. These diagrams enable business organizations to implement process mapping with a view to incorporate internal or external requirements. Modern businesses use these flowcharts for purposes such as implementing reporting standards, complying with government regulations, delineating responsibilities and etching lines of collaboration, etc. In addition, swimlane flowcharts enable process mapping for automated business process management systems, implementing enterprise resource planning, etc. Certain business operators use the swimlane flowcharts to drive business compliance with various legislation and regulatory bodies. Hence, these flowcharts can be deployed in the interests of process mapping at various levels of a commercial organization.

The event-driven process chain diagram is a flowchart that uses a library of symbols to drive business process modelling exercises. Certain enterprises use these flowcharts for resource planning and identifying possible improvements inside a current business process. The many components of this diagram include activity, event, rules, connections, and others, which empowers modern businesses to take a dynamic approach to multiple functions and multiple events within a process. The event-driven process chain diagram enables process designers to capture process information in a fast and easy manner; this ability remains vital to modern industries because they must perform in evolving business landscapes. The various events that populate such a diagram can include production systems, customer relationships, supply chains, etc. In addition, software designers and engineers can use this chain diagram to map information flows between input and output data.

Workflow diagrams enable business operators to create consistent, quality output based on a standard set of processes or procedures. This variation of the standard flowchart hinges on creating a visual presentation of certain business processes. The aim of creating this flowchart is to allow an easy analysis of a process and explore the scope for process improvement. The various steps of a typical workflow diagram can include customers, payment gateways, order processing systems, telephone support staffers, order inputs, payment systems, etc. The objective of such a diagram is to enable process mapping of the entire flow of certain functions inside a business organization. In addition, workflow diagrams enable business operators to communicate their work methods transparently to regulators and other stakeholders. The scope for analysis afforded by workflow diagrams extends in step with the nature of the objectives that must be achieved. Hence, workflow diagrams may be simple or complex flowcharts depending on the length and depth of a business process or sub-process.

Software architects and designers must execute complex design tasks in tune with the demands of their clients and project objectives. The Specification and Description Language (SDL) is a flowchart that enables process mapping for, inter alia, wireless communications network design, aviation systems, medicine, etc. These flowcharts leverage the use of special shapes such as start, variable start, and variable procedure; create request, message from user, message to user, etc. Designers and creators of these flowcharts can have various objectives in mind; these include troubleshooting common problems on a wireless communications network, revising the structure of a new molecule, testing airflows inside a planned aircraft engine, etc. The various applications of SDL in designing real-time systems make this flowchart invaluable to modern industrial and scientific endeavours.

A process flow diagram, also known as a schematic flow diagram, is deployed for various engineering applications. These flowcharts are technical illustrations that depict process mapping in chemical and process engineering industries. They depict the envisaged flow of processes inside industrial plants and equipment. The various stages in a process flow diagram may include various functions such as time taken for each process or sub-process, a certain sequence of actions that power an engineering process, materials that enter and exit a certain process, etc. Engineers can deploy such flowcharts in a bid to track high-level processes inside a proposed plant or factory. Men of science can similarly use the process flow diagram to illustrate the interactions that drive a certain chemical process inside a system. The major users of process flow diagrams include the oil industry, designers of electrical power plants and irrigation systems, architects working on green energy projects, wastewater treatment specialists, etc. The process flow diagrams help these personnel to achieve process mapping at a high level.

It would be correct to say that flowcharts enhance the quality and speed of process mapping.

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