Can Quality Procedures be in Flowchart format?

Gman2

Involved - Posts
#1
Can QP Procedures be in Flowchart format??

I believe they can be but I have not seen any examples of this.
I have only seen them done in written form.
I am starting on revamping the nonconforming material procedure right now, when in the middle I am thinking "Hey this could be a lot shorter and a lot more clear for the employees if it was in flow form". Then taking a look at the rest, there are a lot of procedures that could be dealt with this way.

I guess my dumb questions are, where do you fit the purpose, application, scope, and definitions into these?
On the LONG format it's easy, you just list them out.
But does that really NEED to be on there? Or can you generate your flows without listing all that out as in the old format.

Anyone have any examples of QP's in flow form that have satisfied ISO-9000-2k?
It would help to see some.

Thanks

G.
 
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L

leanne - 2009

#2
I don't have any examples, but I did once audit a supplier that used flowcharts as procedures & work instructions. I thought it was very effective. This supplier was not ISO registered & had no plans for becoming so.

When I was a QA/QDC manager at a construction company, I used embedded flow charts in procedures & work instructions to clarify &/or reduce the amount of verbiage I would have otherwise needed. I don't have those files with me, but I'll check to see if I can find one & clean up the company name information so I can post it.

My current employer uses process maps embedded in our procedures & work instructions. Unfortunately, I am not at liberty to share them. We are ISO 9000:2000 registered & are working on AS9100 registration.
 
#3
Re: Can QP Procedures be in Flowchart format??

Gman2 said:
I guess my dumb questions are, where do you fit the purpose, application, scope, and definitions into these?
On the LONG format it's easy, you just list them out.
But does that really NEED to be on there? Or can you generate your flows without listing all that out as in the old format.
Where does it say you have to have all of that stuff. I don't have any examples handy, but I know companies that have added enough detail to the flowchart, so the user knows what's going on and what's expected. Just remember, the procedures are written for the process owners, and operators, not the auditors.
 
B

Bob_M

#4
Re: Can QP Procedures be in Flowchart format??

If you can squeeze enough information into a flowchart that everyone in your company can follow and understand go for it!
We have not gotten that far. We have very few embedded flowcharts in a few of our procedures. We don't have the most user friendly flowchart software, and not everyone is comfortable making/using them. Some are still stuck on "written" details.
Here is an example of a Non-Conforming flow that is embedded. The written parts just further explain the flow chart.
Sorry for the low quality but I wanted to post it as an image.
 

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Mike S.

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#5
Re: Can QP Procedures be in Flowchart format??

Gman,

Do whatever works best for your company to convey the necessary info. If that is text, flowcharts, pictures, drawings, movies, or whatever, so be it. Do what works. If you want you can always use "hybrids" combining any or all of the above.
 
#6
Re: Can QP Procedures be in Flowchart format??

Bob_M said:
If you can squeeze enough information into a flowchart that everyone in your company can follow and understand go for it!
If not everyone in the company, at least those who are using it.
 
J

Jimmy Olson

#7
Re: Can QP Procedures be in Flowchart format??

A number of our procedures are combinations of text and flowcharts, and in some cases the text is actually just there to clarify the flowcharts. You mentioned that you were working on your nonconforming material procedure. Here is ours. As you will see, it is mostly comprised of flowcharts to indicate the process flow and then text to add more detail and clarity.
 

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T

tschones

#8
Re: Can QP Procedures be in Flowchart format??

At our company I have made it a requirement that all Level 2 procedures that are either being created or revised, and have a "process" within them, that processes have to be documented in the form of a flow chart. This change went over surprisingly easy. We use MS Visio to create the flow charts and cut and paste them into a MS Word document (We have such things as Scope, Purpose, References, Responsibilities, etc. in the procedure in addition to the process). The primary advantages of using flowcharts are to clearly show the hand-off of information or material between two entities and showing decision points in the process. The decision points are there to depict different scenarios (ex. product A and product B have slightly different processes) and to accommodate the two or more directions the process can take after something is reviewed or tested. These decision points are very difficult to incorporate and logical follow within a standard outline of a Word doc.

We found the time to ramp up one's understanding of how to use Visio was minimal; few if any went to any formalized training. I pretty much spent an hour or so with a user creating their first flowchart.

A secondary advantage for using flowcharts is for your internal auditors in understanding the process that they are about to audit.

One final comment. I have found that not all Level 2 procedures we created have a "process" associated with them. For example, our Control of Records procedure merely states where records are kept. In this particular case, I have the detail about when to collect a record and how long the records must be kept embedded into the procedure that actually creates the records. The point being is that if you are like us, you may have procedures that list requirements only and may not have an actual process where something is being transformed.

I hope this helps.

Tom
 
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CarolX

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Super Moderator
#9
Re: Can QP Procedures be in Flowchart format??

Gman2 said:
I guess my dumb questions are, where do you fit the purpose, application, scope, and definitions into these?
I gotta ditto Dave on this one....these items are not required in written or flowcharted procedures.

CarolX
 
#10
Re: Can QP Procedures be in Flowchart format??

CarolX said:
I gotta ditto Dave on this one....these items are not required in written or flowcharted procedures.

CarolX
But that also doesn't mean its wrong to have them. If it works for you, you can put them into a header, or footer to the chart, or even a callout.
 
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