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Improving processes through process flow

Whether you own a business yourself, are a high level executive in a national company, or just an aspiring manager, it's likely that at some point you will find yourself wanting to improve some aspect of your business.Maybe you want to increase the amount of product you put out onto the market.Maybe you want to improve the quality of your product.Or maybe you want to revamp your entire business.Regardless of what you'd like to improve in your business, one way to achieve the necessary progress is through process flow.Almost any kind of process can be improved through this method.

And what is process flow, you ask?

Process flow is the steps of a procedure used in making, delivering, or accomplishing a product or service, and how it impacts the layout of your facility, your decisions about technology and how your company works together.Process flow is an important component in building a strong company with a competitive edge.When using the concept of "process flow" a given procedure can be classified as job shop or flow shop.Job shop is a very flexible process and uses general resources.Flow shop is not a flexible procedure and uses specialized recourses.

Process flow is also known as a diagram used commonly in chemical and process engineering.Similar to the definition given above, it indicates the general flow of plant processes and equipment.Such a diagram usually includes the following items: process piping, important equipment items, control valves, process stream names, and connections to other systems, operational information, and major bypass or recirculation streams.These diagrams should not include the following items: minor bypass lines, pipe classes, piping line numbers, isolations and shutoff valves, specific class information, and maintenance vents and drains.

With this brief overview in mind, let us now proceed to a discussion of how this might help your company run better.

Oftentimes the various levels of a company are not in the best relationship of communication.Each division of a company becomes so involved with its own purposes that it forgets to work in harmony with the other divisions.Let's look at this hypothetical situation: perhaps there is a company that makes toys for small children.They have a manufacturing division, a packing division and a shipping division.The packaging division of the company neglects to inform the shipping division that their product is running 5 days behind schedule, and won't be ready to ship quite on time.And then when the toys are finally shipped, they are sent to the wrong customers (because the packaging division placed the wrong invoices with each package). So then the shipping division gets angry with the manufacturing division because customers are calling in with complaints and wondering where their product is.In reality, they should have been angry with the packaging division.What is this company missing?Process flow!!

If this imaginary company had a better process flow, this disaster could have been avoided.And if they had their process flow mapped out in great detail, they would have known when things should have been ready.The shipping division would have known that the packaging division was the one behind the delay.And the packaging division would have had a better idea of which products went to certain customers.Or better yet, the customers would have been informed of their process flow, and known to contact the packaging division rather than the shipping division.

Having a working process flow is essential to running an efficient company.Without it your company's business can suffer, as well your employees becoming overworked and angry.But if you do have and employ process flow, any aspect of your business procedures will improve.

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