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A Guide on Process Map and Flow Chart Symbols in Six Sigma

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13th Sep, 2023
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    A Guide on Process Map and Flow Chart Symbols in Six Sigma

    A process map is a vital feature of any Lean Six Sigma project – it explains the process of the project and directs it to unique target areas. Various choices are available, and selecting the correct map assists our efforts. This article explores the Six Sigma Process Map, different process map shapes, and process mapping icons.  

    The Process Flow chart equips a visual representation of the stages in a process. Flow charts are Process Map Symbols or Flow Diagrams. Creating a flowchart is the first activity of a process improvement effort because of the following benefits: 

    1. It gives a clear understanding of the process 
    2. Helps to determine non-value-added operations 
    3. Promotes teamwork and communication 
    4. It keeps everyone on the same page 

    Symbols for value stream mapping are created with unique signs. These symbols represent processes, materials, information, and more. 

    Six Sigma is a procedure based on statistical analysis. It improves processes with unknown problems. Six Sigma Training with Placement offers several options for Lean Six Sigma Certification and Training Classes, including options for beginners and experienced individuals.  

    KnowledgeHut is the best overall LSS Green Belt Certification provider that is globally reputed, with rigorous exam prep and training, focus on subject mastery, and certification registry.

    The comprehensive course in the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification exam covers in-depth all the objectives. The course and succeeding certification will give you expertise in the DMAIC processes and their implementation.

    What is a Process Map in Six Sigma?

    A qualified Black Belt professional, the project leader usually creates six Sigma process maps. He can also delegate the activity to a team member as a training activity. Process maps are created utilizing specialized flowchart software, which is helpful for complicated mapping experiments. Process maps can be made using techniques available in office suite applications or can be drawn freely.  

    How Process Maps Works in Six Sigma?

    Several process maps are used during a Six Sigma project. Phase maps used are as follows: 

    1. Process Flow Chart – Striving to develop a simulation of the natural workflow.  
    2. SIPOC Map – A diagram illustrating the product's sources, inputs, procedures, outputs, and clients.  
    3. Swim Lane Map – A diagram illustrating an incident or operation and a process's subprocesses, hand-offs, and accountable pieces. 

    Process mapping is a graphical presentation with illustrative descriptions of tasks' accomplishments. It helps the participants visualize the process's details closely and guides decision-making. It helps to determine the primary areas of strengths and weaknesses in the existing process. It helps reduce the process's cycle times and defects and improves productivity. 

    The principal components of a process map are inputs, outcomes, and steps in the process. An acceptable process map should display the workflow and the organization's interaction. It should use a common language (symbols) that everyone quickly understands. An ideal process map should contain good detail for multiple paths, decisions, and rework loops. 

    Process Map Symbols Six Sigma

    process mapping symbols

    Process Map Symbols Six Sigma Flowcharts vary from hand-drawn visualizations to support manuscripts or plan a strategy to detailed workflow diagrams made with specified software. Flowcharts are helpful and used across teams, departments, and industries. International Organization for Standardization (ISO) accepted official standards in the 1960s set by The American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Flowcharts are constantly updated and improved.

    Flowcharts would be read from top to bottom and left to right. They follow Western standards. Let us glance at some of the most commonly used flowchart symbols, their names, and their meaning below.

    process map symbols six sigma

    • Flowline: The flowline displays the procedure's direction by combining two blocks. 
    • Termina or Terminator: The terminal or terminator designates a flowchart process's start or endpoints. 
    • ProcessThe process symbol is the standard component of a flowchart and demonstrates a step in the process. 
    • Comment or AnnotationIndicate added information about the action with a comment or annotation. 

    process map symbols

    • Decision: This symbol denotes a determination the team needs to make to get to the successive steps of the process. Typically, it would help if you answered a true or false decision or a yes or no question. 
    • Stored data: This illustrates a data file or database. 
    • The “Or” symbol indicates that the process flow continues in three or more branches. 
    • Input/OutputThe input/output symbol designates the procedure of in- or outputting external data.

    six sigma process map symbols

    • DisplayThis implies a step that depicts relevant information. 
    • DocumentThis symbol designates a single copy. 
    • Delay: This symbol lets to plan and describe delay periods that will be part of the process. 
    • Manual inputThis symbol designates data or information that needs to be manually documented into a system.

    process map symbols for six sigma

    • Manual operation: This illustrates a manual procedure or adjustment to the process. 
    • Off-page connector: This symbol connects two signs on different pages. 
    • On-page connector: This dot can connect two symbols and substitute long lines, which allows for a cleaner flowchart. 
    • Summoning junction symbol: This symbol converges multiple branches into a single process. 

    process map symbols for six sigma processing

    1. Alternate process: The lines are usually dotted. The symbol is an alternative to the standard process step in case one is needed. 
    2. Predefined process: This symbol signifies a process that is already illustrated elsewhere. 
    3. Multiple documents: This symbolizes numerous papers. 
    4. Preparation or initialization: This symbol signifies the process's practice or initialization step. 

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    Steps to Create a Process Map in Six Sigma

    steps to create a process map in six sigma

    A simple process map can be accomplished on paper or by utilizing workflow management software and templates. The steps below describe how to construct a process map from scratch.  

    Step 1: Determinate a problem or process to map 

    Determine the procedure that should be mapped. Any inefficient process that needs improvement. A new approach that would be concisely communicated to your team? A complex process that employees have often heard. Identify what needs to be mapped and name it.  

    Step 2: List the activities involved 

    Document all the tasks needed to finish the process. Make a list of all the activities affected and who is responsible for each.  

    It’s a good idea to cooperate with teammates and other stakeholders who will participate in the process so it can accurately account for all of the steps required and decide what level of detail is required. Establish where the operation begins and ends so that the task can be enclosed to create the expected result. 

    Step 3: Document out the sequence of steps 

    The list of all the activities is compiled. The next step is to organize all these activities in the appropriate sequence until the whole process is described from beginning to end. This is an exemplary place to inspect if there are any cracks you may have overlooked in the earlier steps. 

    Step 4: Draw a flowchart using procedure mapping symbols 

    Select appropriate process mapping format and sketch out the process, designating the steps with process mapping symbols. Around 30 standard symbols can be used to illustrate various elements of a process, but almost all common ones are covered in more detail. 

    Step 5: Complete and share the process map 

    Once drawing your process map is finished, review it with other stakeholders concerned in the process to make sure everyone comprehends it and conforms with how the process is mapped. Make sure no steps have been left out and there are no redundancies or ambiguities.

    Conclusion

    Employing a project map or its type completely depends on a project and its objective. Many projects utilize several project maps, commencing with SIPOC and a High-Level Map. A detailed map is needed to uncover the problem areas and their causes. Check out KnowledgeHut Six Sigma Training to know more about Six Sigma process and more.

    The project requires a direction to indicate which map to use and when. The goal is to make truth visual at a glance. A reality process is to learn about the procedure and ensure that the process map is accurate and not a good story.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1What are the symbols in a process map?

    Most organizations utilize a small portion of the most common symbols. Some commonly used symbols include: 

    1. Process: A rectangle describes a particular method and its activities and functions.  
    2. Flowline → An arrow shows the flow direction and the connection between steps.  
    3. Terminator: A terminator denotes the start or end of a process flow.  
    4. Decision: Implies a decision should be made. After this, the flow will follow a predefined route based on that decision.  
    5. Document(s): A rectangle with a wavy base defines a single copy or piece of information that people can read. Multiple rectangles with wavy floors indicate that more than one document can be reviewed.  
    6. Delay: A delay symbol means pausing the process before the flow continues. 
    7. Manual entry: This symbol shows that a procedure will be performed manually by a person.
    2What are the 7 standard symbols of a flowchart?

    Seven standard symbols include:

    1. Process: A rectangle describes a particular method and its activities and functions.  
    2. Flowline → An arrow shows the flow direction and the connection between steps.  
    3. Terminator: A terminator denotes the start or end of a process flow.  
    4. Decision: Implies a decision should be made. After this, the flow will follow a predefined route based on that decision.  
    5. Document(s): A rectangle with a wavy base defines a single copy or piece of information that people can read. Multiple rectangles with wavy floors indicate that more than one document can be reviewed.  
    6. Delay: A delay symbol means pausing the process before the flow continues. 
    7. Manual entry: This symbol shows that a procedure will be performed manually by a person 
    3What are the 5 basic flowchart symbols?

    The basics are the oval, rectangle, diamond, parallelogram, and arrow. The oval marks represent the start/end. The rectangle symbolizes a step in the procedure, like tasks or actions. The diamond represents a decision. The parallelogram denotes information that's received/generated, like an e-mail or product. The arrow guides the viewer along. 

    4What are the 4 basic symbols of flowchart?

    The basics are the oval, rectangle, diamond, parallelogram, and arrow. 

    5What are the 3 types of process flow diagram?

    Cash Flow Process, Manufacturing Flow Process and Design Flow Process are the three types of process flow diagram.

    6How many symbols are commonly used in flowchart?

    In all there are 28 Flowchart Symbols.

    Profile

    Rajesh Bhagia

    Blog Author

    Rajesh Bhagia is experienced campaigner in Lamp technologies and has 10 years of experience in Project Management. He has worked in Multinational companies and has handled small to very complex projects single-handedly. He started his career as Junior Programmer and has evolved in different positions including Project Manager of Projects in E-commerce Portals. Currently, he is handling one of the largest project in E-commerce Domain in MNC company which deals in nearly 9.5 million SKU's.

    In his role as Project Manager at MNC company, Rajesh fosters an environment of teamwork and ensures that strategy is clearly defined while overseeing performance and maintaining morale. His strong communication and client service skills enhance his process-driven management philosophy.

    Rajesh is a certified Zend Professional and has developed a flair for implementing PMP Knowledge Areas in daily work schedules. He has well understood the importance of these process and considers that using the knowledge Areas efficiently and correctly can turn projects to success. He also writes articles/blogs on Technology and Management

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