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Curriculum Center Browse Bibliography Build EPacket Pricing Structure Distribution Process Management Control in Nonprofit Organizations
Note on Quality Tools
Heineke, Janelle
Functional Area(s):
   General Management
   Operations Management
   Organizational Behavior
   For Profit
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Pages: 17
Teaching Note: Not Available. 
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First Page and the Assignment Questions:
    Managers can use a number of tools to collect, depict and analyze data about any kind of process. Many of the tools are simple and straightforward to use. Among these are the seven basic quality tools: process flow diagrams, checksheets, histograms/bar charts, Pareto charts, scatterplots, run charts and cause-and-effect diagrams. Other tools, such as statistical process control, require a basic understanding of statistics in order to use them to their greatest advantage. Whatever tools are used, the goal is always to provide managers with insight so that they can make better decisions about how to design and improve process performance.


Process Flow Diagram

    Process flow diagrams or flowcharts depict each of the steps that are required to produce either a good or a service. Tasks in a process flow diagram are typically depicted as rectangles, waits or inventories as inverted triangles, and decision points as diamonds. Arrows connecting these activities show the direction of flow in the process.

Example Process Flow Diagram: Dry-cleaning Service

    There is an element of creativity in constructing a process flow diagram, but the goal is always to clearly depict the steps in the process, their relation to each other, and where the decision points occur. Sometimes it is also useful to show other information. The following process flow diagram, for example, shows the many handoffs among the staff in a college graduate admissions department. Showing which staff members perform each task provides insight into how people and roles affect the applications review process.

Example Process Flow Diagram: Graduate Admissions Process


    At one time or another, most of us have collected data on some process by noting the time an event occurs and making a tick mark for a particular category in a checksheet. For example, as a hotel manager you may want to collect information about the types of calls taken at the front desk so that you can determine how to train new clerks more effectively. To collect the data, you might ask the clerks to identify the types of calls they take during a shift, as shown in the following example checksheet.