Introduction to Flow Chart as BPI Tool

Business Process Improvement programs have become the major tools for Organizations to keep working on their internal operations to enhance the operational efficiencies, to implement new processes in line with business requirement and to eliminate redundancies and wastage. When the Organizations used to be managed and run based on hierarchy and centralized decision making, the operations were dependent upon people. With the change in Organizational functioning and evolution of decentralized and process oriented organizational structure, the emphasis has shifted from people to process. With the help of technology Organist ions today depend upon technology and process driven operations which is lends itself to flexibility and adaptability to changes in the business environment and Customer expectations.

With change of business operations and flexibility becoming the order of the day, Organizations have come to adapt Business Process Improvement program as the tool to manage the change. The selection of the particular process that is to be subject to Business Improvement program is done by the Business Unit Head or the Executive Implementation team that sponsors and owns the program.

It is the Business Heads and the senior management who would be in the right position to identify the particular process that would impact the business and is critical for the operation. The success of a BPI program however largely depends upon the training and skill sets of the Process Improvement Team and its leader. Business process improvement involves choosing a process, determining the boundaries, identifying and listing the input and output data requirements as well as drawing up a block diagram. Once this has been achieved, then comes the process of applying measurement criteria and targets to the process with an aim to be able to measure, assess, observe and control the process.

Working on measuring, detailing and enhancing the process calls for use of statistical tools and problem solving tools etc. The exposure to these tools as well as the experience of the PIT leader and team will determine how well the project will be executed and improvements take place.

One of the basic tools used in Business Improvement projects is the Flow Chart. It is a fact that any idea or message that is communicated through picture is absorbed faster and better than being presented in the form of text or data. We understand and grasp pictures better than words. Flowcharts are nothing but graphical presentation of the process using symbols, lines and other simple combination of words with figures. A flowchart presentation of a process enables the reader to understand the process clearly, to follow the exact sequence as it exists and comprehend all the transactions involved in the process as well as the interdependencies that exist with other processes.

Similar to a map, a flow chart depicts the complete picture as it is and enables the reader or reviewer to navigate through, very easily. Flow charting the process helps explain the entire process with clarity. However lengthy or complicated the process is, flow chart is able to present the same in detail and in whole. Being able to see the entire process including each and every activity as well as the interdependencies etc, enables the reviewer to identify roadblocks, problem areas as well as operational problems. Flow chart helps train the process owners and staff in understanding the process with clarity and follow the same. Flow charts happen to be the best communication tools too.


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