The concept of flowcharting in services, also known as service flow chart, process flow chart or process flow diagram constitutes a picture of the separate steps of a process in a sequential order. Any major project that you start, will require handling multiple teams in different time frames. Over a period of time, it becomes difficult to manage these teams if you do not have the right process chart in hand. Hence, the usage of flowcharting in services.EXAMPLE OF FLOW CHARTING IN SERVICES
Let’s take for example the construction of a building. Once you have decided upon the idea of constructing a building, the next steps come into the process. You need to think if the location is feasible for the desired construction. You need to think about the materials that you are going to need, who is in charge of buying them and who is in charge of supplying them.
You also need workers to help you with the construction and heavy machines. But imagine that. You take the decision of constructing a building, start the construction and at one point you realize that you don’t have any more material and that your supplier has run out of stock. Who is responsible for restocking the material? It can also happen that one of your employees starts working on a place which was the responsibility of other worker, thus both of them doing the same thing in the same place, making you lose both money and time. Hence, to avoid this confusion, flowcharting in services is done.
The flowcharting process can be considered as a tool useful for developing an understanding of how a process is done. It can be useful in any phase of business or even in personal life for that matter. The type of process can be anything, such as manufacturing processes, administrative services, project plans, etc. But it is most useful in services and is plotted regularly in services.
As in the previous example with the construction of a building, a flowcharting has to include all the steps and people involved in the respective process, such as sequence of actions, materials or services entering or leaving the process (inputs and outputs), decisions that must be made, people who become involved at each step and process measurements.
As it can be adapted to a wide range of purposes and project, the flowcharting process is considered to be a generic tool. The main reason why people decide to use it consists in the fact that the tool itself can provide a holistic overview of the entire project and its components.
When many people are involved in the project, the flowcharting can be used to communicate to the people how the project is going to be done. At the same time, the process is useful for documenting the project making sure that you have all the permits and certificates required, depending on the nature of the project. Moreover, it encourages better communication between people involved in the same process and it avoids confusion regarding responsibilities.
In the flowcharting process, the first step consists in defining the process that needs to be analyzed and write its title at the top of the work surface.
Afterwards, a decision should be made upon the boundaries of the project, in terms of when does it start, when should it finish, as well as the level of detail that should be included in the project. For a flowcharting process to be significantly useful it should include independent sections for brainstorming activities in the project. Once the activities have been decided upon, they should be put in a sequential order to reflect which are going to be the steps of the project and arrows should be drawn to show the flow of the process. Finally, the flowchart should be review with the people involved in the process and ask for their opinions.
Some companies with the necessary resources, usually decide to outsource this process to a specialized company. However, it is has been proven that it is better for people who actually do the process to be the one who are doing also the flowcharting. To be easier for them to create it in a systematic and structured way, nowadays there are computer software programs for drawing the flowcharts.
Another example of flowcharting in services is when you are building a restaurant. How do you get the food to your customer within 20 minutes of his entering the restaurant? Take McDonald’s for example. McDonald’s has a fixed service process for all of its outlets. They need to service a burger, fries, coke as well as any other demands of the customer, to the customer, within a minute or two.
So the backend service process needs to be highly optimized. Similarly, all restaurants have processses in place for when the flow of customers is very high as well as when the flow of customers is slow. Thus, in case of services, the process of flowcharting is important.