Process Flow Diagrams

Several customers have asked recently about an AIAG standard for process flow diagrams.  While there is no standard template within the AIAG core tools (blue manuals), there are guidelines within the APQP manual that automotive organizations should adhere to. The AIAG - APQP Manual (Second Edition), section 3.3 states, "The process flow chart is a schematic representation of the current or proposed process flow.  It can be used to analyze sources of variation of machines, materials, methods, and manpower from the beginning to end of a manufacturing or assembly process.  It is used to emphasize the impact of sources of variation on the process."  The flow chart helps to analyze the total process rather than individual steps in the process.  The flow chart assists the organization's product quality planning team to focus on the process when conducting the PFMEA and designing the Control Plan.

The Process Flow Chart Checklist below can be used by the organization's product quality planning team to verify completeness or set a standard within the organization for basic flow chart requirements.


The following shapes are typically used to illustrate various process steps within a flowchart.

• Operation (circle) - Value-added manufacturing step
• Transport (arrow) - Movement of product or components from one operation step to the next
• Inspection (square) - Product or process inspection step
• Storage (triangle) - Component or part storage
• Combination: Inspection & Operation (square & circle) - Value-added manufacturing step with distinct product or process inspection steps with variable output data
• Delay - Designed delay that is part of the process

Software Tip: These shapes can be found in the Microsoft Visio "Process Flow" or Microsoft Powerpoint Insert > Shapes menus.

Microsoft also has a site full of FREE templates that can be downloaded for a variety of different flowchart uses.

Happy flow-charting!