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How do I Make a Business Process Flowchart?

Troy Holmes
Troy Holmes

A business process flowchart details the work flow of a specific business operation within a company. This is accomplished by creating business process maps that show specific functional areas within a business. The flowchart is completed by creating a drawing of the steps required to finish a specific aspect of work within the company. Each process step should be represented with a rectangle figure that is followed by a connecting line, which defines the flow of the specific process.

There are many automation tools that can assist in the creation of a business process flowchart. These can be purchased commercially or freely downloaded from the Internet. The automation tool provides a method of capturing and retaining the flowcharts for future review.

Process flow charts are used in warehouses, assembly lines and other manufacturing processes.
Process flow charts are used in warehouses, assembly lines and other manufacturing processes.

The flowchart creation process does not require sophisticated software tools. Most documentation can be accomplished with average flowchart software. The flowchart will present the steps and tasks in a hierarchical format. The flowchart should document the complete process from the beginning to the end.

The business process flowchart should start with depiction of a specific process that a company performs. Creating flowcharts based on departments within the company can improve performance for each product or service within the company. After flowcharts for each department or function are created, additional flowcharts can be used to explain each element within the specific business unit.

An example of a business process might be an Internet sales company that uses a simple shopping cart application. The business process flowchart for this function would define how a consumer interacts with the shopping cart to purchase products. This flowchart would document each step of the shopping experience. These steps should include customer management, inventory, and financial management processes.

The business process flowchart should be designed to be used by other departments of a company. Each flowchart depicting a function of the company is a module that can be used by other departments within the company. This flowchart should explain a specific task at the smallest level possible.

Inventory management is an example of a specific flowchart. Inventory processes are used by customer sales systems, warehouse management, and assembly line manufacturing processes. By creating a flowchart for each process, the organization will have documented procedures on the function of the company.

The process flowcharts should be created by subject matter experts that understand the business. This ensures the flowchart will represent the activities that occur during normal business operations. Most business re-engineering efforts include the collaboration of business model experts with business subject experts.

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Discussion Comments


@Iluviaporos - I agree that you should get other peoples' input about processes and should take it under consideration. But often the person making the flowchart is the one who has to decide what will happen.

Just because people have been taking extra steps doesn't mean that is the most efficient way of doing something. They might not realize someone else is doing the same thing, or that two objectives might be achieved at once.

I actually think the whole point of making a business process flow diagram is to examine the system and remove some of the flaws from it to make it more efficient.


In some cases I think it's a good idea to brainstorm the flow chart, rather than just try to write one on your own. Particularly if quite a few people or steps are involved in whatever process you are documenting.

Sometimes there will be a step in there that you weren't aware of, that is quite important. Or maybe there are different scenarios that could happen and require different reactions.

It's often impossible for one person to know this, unless they are deeply involved in the whole process. If you write out a rough flowchart diagram and hand it around to everyone it touches on, I'm sure it will come back quite modified.

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    • Process flow charts are used in warehouses, assembly lines and other manufacturing processes.
      By: gmg9130
      Process flow charts are used in warehouses, assembly lines and other manufacturing processes.