Creating a Workflow Diagram
For this week’s discussion you will need to create to create a workflow diagram. I’m sure that you have, at some point, heard the term “flow chart” well a workflow is basically the same thing only instead of a computer program it depicts the flow of a process.
Before you begin to create a workflow, you will need to understand are the symbols used to create the workflow. Figure 1 provides a list of the symbols that you will need to use; it’s not a complete list of all the symbols, but it provides enough for this exercise.
Now, you will need a tool to help you create the workflow diagram. You can use MS Word, PowerPoint or Excel, but these are clunky and not so easy to use. I have located a freeware tool for Windows users, that you can use, Edraw Mind Map, download it from my server(click here to download). For the Mac; you might want to try Lucidchart; it’s a free online tool that works similar it’s Visio. If you can’t get any of the tools to work, you can create the diagram on paper, scan it and then paste it to your response.
Finally, you’re ready to create the to-be workflow for the order process at the Acme Company. You will find the as-is workflow in figure 2, use that to conduct your business process improvement (BPI).
The process to create the as-is diagram is fairly straight forward. You start with a rectangle, the one with the rounded ends, and label that box with the action. In this case, the customer approaches the cashier. The second box represents the action that is taken; you can get fancy with ‘swim lanes’ and identify who owns the action, for now it’s just the action. Next, you will need to include any decision blocks; these are represented by diamonds with ‘yes’ and ‘no’ arrows. You will note that when the decision is yes, an action block appears. Finally, you complete the process flow using the same rectangle, but this time you label it with the closing action.
So, you have the as-is a diagram, what do you do with it? Start by examining the flow and look for ways to streamline it. In figure 2, you will note that when there is a problem with an order, it takes an entire day to correct the error. This is an area that could be improved. What if you introduced an order system where the order taker enters the order directly into the system and fixes the errors as they happen?
The final step is to create an Input, Process, Output (IPO) diagram (figure 3). The purpose is to help identify the structure of an information processing system. According to IPO model (2015), “a program or process using the input-process-output model receives inputs from a user or other source, does some computations on the inputs, and returns the results of the computations.” The classic example of this can be found in every home; it’s a thermostat, which senses the temperature (input), decides on an action (heat on/off), and executes the action (output).
The Acme to-be order process represents an interactive computer program, which accepts simple requests from a order taker and responds to them after some processing and/or database accesses. The first step in figure 3 represents the first processing block from the to-be diagram and illustrates how you should fill out each of the cells within the matrix.
This is probably one of the tougher discussions, should you have any problems, please post a message, and I will help you. As always, initial responses are due by Thursday, and you need to respond to at least two other classmates before Sunday.
IPO model. (2015, April 25). Retrieved May 9, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPO_model