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50 The PCB Magazine • May 2014 step in many process improvement projects is to flowchart the process as it currently exists, which may not have any resemblance to com- pany standard operating procedures (SOP). The realization that their SOPs do not reflect how the operation is really running is generally an "Ah-Ha!" moment for the company. Flowchart- ing also determines the parameters for process improvement since a process cannot be im- proved before it is understood. Although turn- ing a process into a picture may sound very sim- ple, it is an incredibly powerful tool to see what is really happening in a process. After a flow- charting session, the people actually doing the job are always amazed at the difference between how they perceive the process and what is re- ally going on. A common result is a spaghetti diagram that highlights excessive travel, mo- tion and redundancy. A picture truly is worth a thousand words. As a working guideline, a flowchart should be used to: 1) understand how a whole process BEST PRACTICES 101, PART 1 continues steve williams is the president of steve williams consulting llc (www.stevewilliamscon- sulting.com) and the former strategic sourcing manager for Plexus corp. He is the au- thor of the books, Quality 101 Handbook and survival Is not mandatory: 10 things every ceo should Know about lean. to read past columns, or to contact williams, click here. IPC India Planning May APEX EXPO by Real time with...IPC aPeX eXPo 2014 IPc's VP of International relations, david Bergman, a. Vijayendra, managing director, IPc India, and Guest editor dick crowe discuss IPc involvement in India and the upcoming show in may. realtimewith.com CliCk To View VIDeo InteRVIew works; 2) identify the critical points, bottlenecks, or problem areas in a process; 3) see how the dif- ferent steps in the process are related; and/or 4) identify the ideal flow of a process. Next month, Best Practices 101, Part 2 will dive deeper into process analysis by explor- ing the value-stream mapping tool. See you in June! PCB

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