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3 Basic Process Improvement Tools: Flow Chart, FMEA, Control Plan –

If your business is in the business of exporting products to China there are at least three tools you should look into to avoid the types of mistakes that inefficiency and disorganization can breed, thereby costing your company irretrievably in lost time and precious money. Even if you export somewhere else. Even if you are simply in the field of manufacturing it is nonetheless beneficial to your organization to be aware of these tools. These tools may seem very basic, but don’t let that stop you from taking notes. They mean the difference between a thriving company that can look towards a profitable future with confidence and a clunky business, flying by the seat of its proverbial business-pants. First, there’s the flowchart. It is nothing more or less than a document that details, clearly and minutely the process needed to get an important business task done. It is a stellar tool for understanding a process, teaching a process to neophytes, and for analyzing a process for needed improvements. It should be always handy and revised on a regular basis. Though many businesses may have a version of the flowchart, somewhere, it’s less likely they have tool 2, the Process Improvement Tool, which feeds off of and successfully builds on the flowchart. With the flowchart as a starting point, the possible risks inherent to each point of procedure is analyzed. Not just the risks are taken into account, but also the probably outcome to customers, labor, etc. Building off of tool 1-2 leads almost holistically to tool 3, otherwise known as the Control Plan. This plan notes the risks assessed in stage 2, when the second tool was being primarily used, and comes up with a plan to minimize the risk assessed by that tool. This can include solutions such as regular inspections for a part that could conceivably become outdated or damaged.

Key Takeaways:

  • A process flow chart is very organized as it tells you the equipment, order of steps and tools needed for each process.
  • The Process FMEA is a way that you can assess the risks of each process and rank them in the severity and frequency they may occur.
  • The control plan is simply the map that shows the process steps and the ranking of the highest risks that you need to be aware of.

“You are preparing to launch the production of a new product… or production of an existing product in a new factory.”

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