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Lost in spaghetti-shaped processes


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process flowcharts (process diagrams), processes (general)
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  Post Number #1  
Old 25th June 2008, 04:14 PM
gfreely's Avatar
gfreely

 
 
Total Posts: 44
Exclamation Lost in spaghetti-shaped processes

I hope someone can offer something helpful (I have no doubt)which I can absorb through my thick skull (more doubtful).

I have been banging my head on the desk trying to figure out how to make sense of our processes here so that I may map them and examine for needed changes. I am new to this group and to this industry. Typically, in my experience, Quality works the same for any industry/process...just minor tweaks here or there. But given the task to figure out these processes, I am completely overwhelmed. I started by looking at some Quality Plans (which are supposed to define for the customer what the processes are), but they are VERY general and vague. So I have been sifting through them looking for what has an input that it changes to an output. I knew I could take this job on and that it would be very labour intensive, however, I was a little shocked at the sense of urgency after I agreed!

So if any of you quality individuals (pun - take it or leave it) can offer any suggestions to get me pointed in the right direction, I would GREATLY appreciate it!


Where's Mr. Stein when ya need him?!

Last edited by gfreely; 25th June 2008 at 04:16 PM. Reason: spelling (long day)

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  Post Number #2  
Old 25th June 2008, 04:34 PM
justncredible

 
 
Total Posts: 296
Re: Lost in speghetti-shaped processes

What industry do you work in?

Are you trying to make a process flow chart?

A product flow chart?

The more details the better to understand what your trying to do.
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  Post Number #3  
Old 25th June 2008, 04:46 PM
gfreely's Avatar
gfreely

 
 
Total Posts: 44
Re: Lost in speghetti-shaped processes

Thanks for the quick response!

I am trying to map the different processes from the Customer Order to Shipping the product. I know there a few in between that I won't need to worry about (they belong to another group), but I am looking for a push in a direction of where (and how) to get started.

Brian



"Quality is a Dark Art" - unnamed manager
  Post Number #4  
Old 25th June 2008, 05:17 PM
justncredible

 
 
Total Posts: 296
Re: Lost in speghetti-shaped processes

Make it as general as possible to begin with, kinda like a outline or table of contents. Name each step of the process, use as short as possible descriptions. Then maybe walk thru the process and see if any steps have been missed. Once you have the big picture then step back view it and see where the choices to continue or stop the process are located.

So big major steps then work down to the smaller ones.
  Post Number #5  
Old 25th June 2008, 05:24 PM
gfreely's Avatar
gfreely

 
 
Total Posts: 44
Re: Lost in speghetti-shaped processes

I think expressing my thoughts is helping me think through this...in conjunction with the collective experience of "The Cove"...

I wish there were a way to explain in detail what I see here, but there is not enough space in the message nor time in the day.....I tell you what, I will look at one of the processes, try to map it, and post it here and let you take a look....just to get your input as to whether it looks like I have a clue or not...lol

Thanks for the input!
  Post Number #6  
Old 25th June 2008, 05:30 PM
justncredible

 
 
Total Posts: 296
Re: Lost in speghetti-shaped processes

I know it can appear complex, but once you get thru the first steps it breaks down fast. Then you go back and expand the details.

Think of it as creating a painting, first you want the big sky background, so you use biggest brush in the box, then the next biggest brush to paint in the grass, then the next size brush for the trees, and so on.

You are creating a visual picture of a process, use the big brush first, then work in the details.

Just do not get bogged down in the details to fast.
  Post Number #7  
Old 25th June 2008, 07:22 PM
Stijloor's Avatar
Stijloor

 
 
Total Posts: 15,135
Re: Lost in spaghetti-shaped processes

Quote:
In Reply to Parent Post by gfreely View Post

I hope someone can offer something helpful (I have no doubt)which I can absorb through my thick skull (more doubtful).

I have been banging my head on the desk trying to figure out how to make sense of our processes here so that I may map them and examine for needed changes. I am new to this group and to this industry. Typically, in my experience, Quality works the same for any industry/process...just minor tweaks here or there. But given the task to figure out these processes, I am completely overwhelmed. I started by looking at some Quality Plans (which are supposed to define for the customer what the processes are), but they are VERY general and vague. So I have been sifting through them looking for what has an input that it changes to an output. I knew I could take this job on and that it would be very labour intensive, however, I was a little shocked at the sense of urgency after I agreed!

So if any of you quality individuals (pun - take it or leave it) can offer any suggestions to get me pointed in the right direction, I would GREATLY appreciate it!


Where's Mr. Stein when ya need him?!
I think you're getting bogged down in the details. What may help is to develop an overal system map that shows how an order flows through the system. This map should show the main processes that make up your system.

Next, you want to develop a map for each main process. Then break that down into the necessary details. Too simple of an answer perhaps, but it never hurts to go back to basics.

Stijloor.
  Post Number #8  
Old 25th June 2008, 09:32 PM
BradM's Avatar
BradM

 
 
Total Posts: 5,884
Re: Lost in spaghetti-shaped processes

Stijloor, you typed what I was thinking when I got to your post!

First, greetings from a fellow Texan, and welcome to the Cove! We're sure glad to have you here.

I'm pretty sure you know this.. but.. remember the process map is for you.

Too, IMHO, a good process map is not a five minute process. So many well-intentioned people are busy with doing their job and don't necessarily spend hours thinking about the process. It may take some time to get out of everyone what the product actually goes through.

I greatly encourage you to post your process map here. I've been amazed at the level of expertise of many Covers here. Too, please don't forget to ask the people involved with the process.

I might do a fish diagram approach on this (obviously fish diagram is not a process map, but is a good way to visualize starting the process map). Start with the majors, as the others suggested. Get the main process movements of the product. That should minimize your anxiety a bit. Well, you've captured the obvious; now capture the minimals.

Take your process map to the shipping person. Ask them if everything is on there; red-line it. Then, take it to the next person on the floor and ask them if everything is on there, and so on.

If you find yourself beating your head against the wall, then maybe you should remind yourself there are others who can help you. They know the process; let them give you the correct information.
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