Flow Charts

Our Flow charts are easy-to-understand diagrams showing how steps in a process fit together. This makes them useful tools for communicating how processes work, and for clearly documenting how a particular job is done. Furthermore, the act of mapping a process out in flow chart format helps you clarify your understanding of the process, and helps you think about where the process can be improved.
A flow chart can therefore be used to:

• Define and analyse processes.
• Build a step-by-step picture of the process for analysis, discussion, or communication.
• Define, standardize or find areas for improvement in a process

Also, by conveying the information or processes in a step-by-step flow, you can then concentrate more intently on each individual step, without feeling overwhelmed by the bigger picture.

These flow charts are made up of five main types of symbol:

• Arrows which signify the start of a process.
• Circles, which show a change in direction.
• Diamonds, which show decisions that must be made.
• Rectangles, which show instructions or actions.
• Elongated circles which signify the end of a process

Within each symbol, write down what the symbol represents. This could be the start or finish of the process, the action to be taken, or the decision to be made.
Symbols are connected one to the other by arrows, showing the flow of the process. Arrows from decision “diamonds” may also have a yes or no within the arrow as show

Tip:
There are many other flowchart symbols that can also be used. However, remember that an important use of flow charts is in communication: If you use obscure symbols that only part of your audience understands, there’s a good chance that your communication will fail. As ever, keep things simple!

To draw the flow chart, brainstorm process tasks, and list them in the order they occur. Ask questions such as “What really happens next in the process?” and “Does a decision need to be made before the next step?” or “What approvals are required before moving on to the next task?”

Start the flow chart by drawing the arrow shape, and labelling it Start or title of the process.

Then move to the first action or question, and draw a rectangle or diamond appropriately. Write the action or question down, and draw an arrow from the start symbol to this shape.
Work through your whole process, showing actions and decisions appropriately in the order they occur, and linking these together using arrows to show the flow of the process. Where a decision needs to be made, draw arrows leaving the decision diamond for each possible outcome, and label them with the outcome. And remember to show the end of the process using an elongated circle labelled Finish or a conclusion title.

Finally, challenge your flow chart. Work from step to step asking yourself if you have correctly represented the sequence of actions and decisions involved in the process. And then (if you’re looking to improve the process) look at the steps identified and think about whether work is duplicated, whether other steps should be involved, and whether the right people are doing the right jobs.

Tip:
Flow charts can quickly become so complicated that you can’t show them on one piece of paper. This is where you can use “connectors” (shown as circles-changes of direction) where the flow moves off one page, and where it moves onto another. By using the same number for the off-page connector and the on-page connector, you show that the flow is moving from one page to the next or another.

Key Points:
Flow charts are simple diagrams that map out a process so that it can easily be communicated to other people.
To draw a flowchart, brainstorm the tasks and decisions made during a process, and write them down in order.
Then map these out in flow chart format using appropriate symbols for the start and end of a process, for actions to be taken and for decisions to be made.
Finally, challenge your flow chart to make sure that it’s an accurate representation of the process, and that that it represents the most efficient way of doing the job
Flowcharts are used in designing and documenting complex processes or programs. Like other types of diagram, they help visualize what is going on and thereby help the viewer to understand a process, and perhaps also find flaws, bottlenecks, and other less-obvious features within it. There are many different types of flowcharts, and each type has its own repertoire of boxes and notational conventions. The two most common types of boxes in a flowchart are:

• a processing step, usually called activity, and denoted as a rectangular box
• a decision, usually denoted as a diamond.

PLEASE CLICK ON THE PAGE(S) TO EXPAND THE IMAGE(S) – TO FULLY EXPAND CLICK ON CROSS IN TOP RIGHT HAND CORNER.

PLEASE SEE EXAMPLES OF FLOWCHARTS.

1. ESCALATION FLOWCHART

ESCALATE

2. LOSS OF SUPPLY

OCS EMERGENCY 1

3. RESTORATION OF SUPPLLY

OCS EMERGENCY 2