Workflow Diagram

Also Known As
Physical Layout Flowchart
Spaghetti Diagram
Transportation Diagram

A workflow diagram demonstrates movement through a process. The diagram is comprised of a map (such as a floor plan) of the area where the process occurs and uses lines to show movement of people, materials, and information. The diagram demonstrates where redundant motion and inefficiency is present.


To evaluate traffic flow.

When eliminating waste.

When evaluating a process involving movement or transportation.

How do I use this tool?


2. DETERMINE THE RELEVANT AREA OF MOVEMENT and obtain a map of that area.

3. DEVELOP A LIST OF THE PROCESS STEPS, in order. A flowchart may be useful for completing this step.

4. DRAW LINES ON THE LAYOUT showing all the movement of the item as the process progresses. Draw another line if the movement follows a path that was already taken.

5. (Optional) IDENTIFY THE TIME REQUIRED for each movement.

6. ANALYZE THE DIAGRAM. Evaluate how movements could be removed or shortened.

Expertise Required
This tool is easy to use and requires little or no training.

Depicts flow of a variety of subjects.

Illuminates wasted motion or transportation.

Is useful for eliminating waste or streamlining your layout.

Is visual.


Is time consuming.

Where can I go to learn more?

Tague N. The tools. In: O'Mara P, editor. The quality toolbox. 2nd ed. Milwaukee, WI: ASQ Quality Press; 2005. p. 93-521.

Woodward H, Suskovich D, Workman-Germann J, et al. Adaptation of lean methodologies for healthcare applications. 2007 Society for Health Systems Conference; 2007; New Orleans, LA; 2007.

Lighter D. Process orientation in health care quality. In: Moore C, editor. Quality management in health care: principles and methods. 2nd ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers; 2004. p. 43-101.

George M, Rowlands D, Price M, et al. Value stream mapping and process flow tools. The lean six sigma pocket toolbook. New York: McGraw - Hill; 2005. p. 33-54.