When an organization has chosen to document their processes, it can be a daunting task, even more so for those that have to read through the documentation afterward – including auditors and new employees. This is where the use of a Turtle Diagram can make things easier.
The visual representation of a Turtle Diagram breaks down each aspect of a procedure without having reams of paper that need reading through. They can be placed around the workplace in clear to see locations, so every member of staff knows who is responsible for steps within a procedure, as well as the process flow itself.
Take for example a new member of managerial staff. They can quickly identify their role within the organization and the process itself using the ‘Who Is Involved’ Leg. The Turtle Diagram can then quickly show them who their suppliers, and customers are – whether it is a direct supplier/customer or another workstation within the process. It clearly identifies the resources they will need, and how to apply them to the process in order to contribute to the overall value added task thereby improving workforce performance.
Although there is no requirement under ISO 9001 to use Turtle Diagrams, it is an effective lean management tool that satisfies the requirements of ISO 9001. Each leg of the turtle diagram and the links between them satisfy each of the following requirements of ISO 9001 Article 4.4:
- Determine the inputs required and the outputs expected from these processes
- The sequence and interaction of these processes
- Application of the criteria and methods needed to ensure the effective operation and control of these processes (including monitoring, measurements and related performance indicators).
- Establishing the resources needed for these processes.
- Assignment of responsibilities and authorities for these processes
A Turtle Diagram can then be used to evaluate the process, identify waste and implement new changes to further improve the process. Thus, linking to Article 6.1 of ISO 9001 – addressing risks and opportunities.
So, in summary, why should you use a Turtle Diagram?
Because it is a clear visual representation of the processes within the company, making it useful for new employees and auditors, both external and internal, to follow the process flows and understand those involved, the resources needed and supporting processes involved. They also provide a tool to adopt ISO 9001 in regards to processes and satisfy all the requirements.
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