How to describe company processes using Turtle Diagram

One of the basic activities that are carried out as part of the Quality Management System is the appropriate description of the company’s processes.

The Turtle Diagram is a practical tool that allows you to complete this stage of creating a Process Card.

Turtle diagram – structure

Thanks to the clear structure, as contained in the turtle diagram, we can identify all the essential components of our process. As you can guess, the name comes from a turtle. Its central part – shell, is the Process Description. The remaining legs are Process Input, Process Output, Human Resources, Material Resources, Goals (indicators) and Procedures with documents relating to it.

Turtle Diagram vs. Process Card

Fig. 1. Turtle diagram in relation to  Process Card elements

Additionally, if the organization in which you work has an appropriate certification system, you can add to the Process Card also the applicable points of the ISO or IATF standard.

Process owner – a Key figure

Any Process Card based on a turtle diagram must have an owner. According to the process approach, it is no longer the former “IMS representative” or the current “Coordinator / Representative”. It is worth remembering when describing the job position for the Operational, Production, Logistics, Maintenance, HR, IT ect.

It is the owner who will be audited for knowing Process Card and verifying the risk and opportunity analysis.

Process inputs and outputs

In the process approach, the processes are not separate islands. Almost all of them interact with other processes, and all dependencies are most often presented on the Process Map. Each process extracts relevant information from the others. Likewise, from a given process, the output information is used as input in other processes.

Consider the example of a Process Card for Customer Quality. In this case, our inputs will be, for example:

  • New Launches – providing information regarding the tooling status in the launch phase and manages the implementation of changes in current production at the client and our organization request
  • HR – specifying the competences, qualifications and motivation of people implementing the client’s quality process
  • Logistics – having information about production plans, downtimes, shipments and orders

The outputs, on the other hand, will affect, among others:

  • Process Quality – for example, when introducing corrective and preventive actions in the production process resulting from the received complaint
  • Quality Management System – for Customer Specific Requirements that relate to the implementation of production process audits in accordance with IATF
  • Supplier Quality – managing information provided to sub-suppliers regarding quality of delivered components and complaints to the supplier

Turtle Diagram vs. Process description

Thanks to the description of the process, we can present in detail the sources that initiate the process, together with an indication of the tools used. Appropriate communication to the departments involved should not be forgotten either. The description should also include activity indicating when our process is considered complete.

Human resources and material resources

To implement a given business process, we need two types of resources:

  • Human resources
  • Material resources

The first will usually refer to an organization chart and / or an responsability chart. The scope of responsibility itself is included in job descriptions, procedures and competence matrices. A description of human resources in the above form can be entered for all Process Cards.

On the other hand, material resources will include:

  • Computer and relevant applications / programs, telephone
  • Budget available
  • Machines, equipment, tools
  • Components, semi-finished products

Of course, it all depends on the process in question.

Process implementation purpose

If we work in a corporation, goals (KPI – Key Performance Indicators) will be defined by central departments. In other cases, goals are set internally.

Procedures and documents

In this part of the Process Card, according to turtle diagram approaches, we include all procedures and documents that refer to our process. We must remember to identify, in addition to the company (internal) documents, also those defined by the corporation.

Turtle diagram example

To illustrate how you can use the Turtle Diagram, you can download an editable Excel form for your own use for free from the Free Quality Tools page. The described company process relates to the Customer Quality Process.

Document name: Turtle Diagram – template and example – Excel form

Turtle diagram – summary

As you can see, defining a Process Card based on a turtle diagram is an activity that forms a logical whole. Special training and competences are not required apart from the role of the moderator. It is most often implemented by a QMS coordinator / representative.

Of course, in case of any changes, it needs an appropriate update. If such a situation occurs, it is worth emphasizing it during the management review. Thus, it is not a document created only at the beginning of the quality management system (QMS) implementation.

An additional advantage when using it is building awareness among the members of the organization as a process approach strategy.

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