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Process Analysis Tools

When you want to understand a work process or some part of a process, these tools can help:

Flowchart: A picture of the separate steps of a process in sequential order, including materials or services entering or leaving the process (inputs and outputs), decisions that must be made, people who become involved, time involved at each step, and/or process measurements.

Failure mode effects analysis (FMEA): A step-by-step approach for identifying all possible failures in a design, a manufacturing or assembly process, or a product or service; studying the consequences, or effects, of those failures; and eliminating or reducing failures, starting with the highest-priority ones.

Mistake proofing: The use of any automatic device or method that either makes it impossible for an error to occur or makes the error immediately obvious once it has occurred. 

Spaghetti diagram: A spaghetti diagram is a visual representation using a continuous flow line tracing the path of an item or activity through a process. The continuous flow line enables process teams to identify redundancies in the workflow and opportunities to expedite process flow.


Adapted from The Quality Toolbox, ASQ Quality Press.

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