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ISO 9001 Flowchart Basics

ISO 9001:2015 does not mandate a Quality Manual & 6 procedures because some people are using electronic solutions and other “non text” solutions. It essentially says you need “documented information” for all processes in your business. Thus, an ISO 9001 flowchart can be used as a visual representation of a process in this less prescriptive version of the standard.  

This article is a basic instruction on flowcharting, But we also offer:

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A flow chart can:

  • Describe a process
  • Breakdown a process for easier explanation
  • Help you improve a process

Flow charts are simple diagrams that map out a process so that it can easily be communicated to other people. Flow charts can help explain what really happens in a processes as well as their interaction. More importantly, creating a flowchart helps you understand the process and look for improvements. It also helps you focus on each individual step, without feeling overwhelmed by the bigger picture.


Sample Process FlowChart PDF

Flow Chart Basics:

To draw a flowchart, brainstorm the tasks and decisions made during a process, and write them down in order. Enter the purpose (start/stop/decision/etc.) of each symbol within the shape and connect them with arrows to show the direction of the flow.


Tip: Keep it simple
You can use many different flowchart symbols but if people don’t understand them than you’ll fail to clearly communicate your message.

  1. Begin by listing each step of the process using the symbols above. But don’t be afraid to make mistakes – just put your ideas onto paper and correct them from there.
  2. Then map these out in flow chart format using appropriate symbols for the start and end of a process, for actions to be taken and for decisions to be made. You will be surprised how much you learn about your organization in this process.
  3. Finally, challenge your flowchart to make sure that it’s an accurate representation of the process
  4. Improvement: Ensure that it represents the most efficient way of doing the job.

Here is a simple example of a lamp that doesn’t work:

Flow Chart Diagram



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