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Using Process Maps


What is a 'Process Map'?

A Process map is simply one way to provide a high-level view of the processes that make up your business management system and show how they interact.

The ISO 9001 Quality Management Standard states that:

The organisation shall determine the processes needed for the quality management system and their application throughout the organisation, and shall ...

b) determine the sequence and interaction of these processes; ...

(Clause 4.4 "Quality management system and its processes")

You don't have to use process maps to be compliant with ISO 9001, but they are a very effective tool for the job.

A process map will usually include:

  • planning processes
  • resource management - people, equipment, and infrastructure
  • operations processes - purchasing from suppliers, work scheduling, production, customer services, subcontractor control, product delivery, etc
  • support processes - document control, records management, equipment calibration
  • measurement, analysis and improvement - customer complaints, audits, corrective and preventive actions, system review,

An example process map

The ISO 9001:2015 standard includes a generic model of a process-based quality management system based on the Plan - Do - Check - Act cycle. Our example process map follows a similar structure.

This example shows the processes in a simple manufacturing business. It can easily be modified for service based companies or expanded to include safety, environmental, or other compliance related processes.

Each box in the diagram corresponds to a business process. The details would be contained in other documents, e.g. a procedure for each box in the process map, or everything in an 'Operations Manual'.

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