Block diagrams are diagrams that clearly show the vital steps within a system. These steps are represented by titles in blocks, such as squares or rectangles and are connected to relating ideas via lines. It is a type of flow chart that is more specialized and focused. They show the key stages and what is involved in summary form.
These diagrams are a helpful tool when it comes to the improvement of processes that are already in existence, as well as the creation of entirely new processes. The reason that block diagrams are favored is because they provide an easy-to-view map of an idea, which is easy to read and quick to decipher.
It is considered a high-level tool because it is hard for those who are not involved in the process to understand or analyze the cues that are given, which are very minimal and far from detailed. It is necessary for all members of the team to have an understanding of the entire process before hand if a block diagram is to be used.
There are various stages involved in creating a successful block diagram. The first is to define the process, with a clear start and end point that can later be examined. It is then necessary to label the vital participants in the process, which can be teams or individuals. This can also extend to suppliers, customers and other individuals involved outside of the work place, if they are a key part in the operation of the process.
The diagram is then outlined by making a box that mentions all the actions of the process. The box is subdivided into columns that are assigned to each of the key participants. It is essential to include the title of the project or process and the date for reference. The individual columns in the block diagram are then labeled using participants names. Each key stage in the process should have a very brief and related description in the boxes. The boxes are joined by using arrows that point in the direction of the flow of the stages.
It is best to make sure the entire group has viewed the block diagram before making and distributing copies in order to confirm that the information listed is an accurate representation of the particular process. Block diagrams are typically used to show the entire picture from start to finish, without spending time on detailed descriptions.
About the Author: Shruti Bhat PhD, MBA, Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
Dr. Shruti Bhat is an award-winning Business Excellence Leader, Global Continuous Improvement Mastermind, Best-selling Author and Speaker. She is Continuous Improvement Advisor to several start-ups, mid-size and growing firms in Canada, USA, India, Africa and Emerging markets. She has authored eight business books and is an invited speaker at several national and international conferences, symposia and workshops.
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