How do you visualize the flow in a process before and after improvements? The Spaghetti Diagram to the rescue! The concept is basic, but the Spaghetti Diagram is quite useful.

What is a Spaghetti Diagram?

It is a line diagram superimposed on the process layout in order to map the flow in the steps of providing a product or service.


  • Captures visual flow of the process
  • Suggests how to declutter and rearrange the physical layout
  • Documents distances traveled and time spent
  • Can be used to document touch points
  • Improved flow will reduce cycle time

How to Develop and Use a Spaghetti Diagram:

Ian James Johnson, currently Business Development Manager at Element Materials Technology, takes us through how to construct a Spaghetti Diagram using a manufacturing example in this video.

  • Step 1: Map the shop floor
  • Step 2: Using the process map, use sequential numbers to label each one of the steps in flow order on the shop floor map
  • Step 3: Measure the distances
  • Step 4: Measure the actual time it takes to go from step to step, including any time an employee has to have a sign off or wait. This is not just the travel time to cover the distances!

Spaghetti Diagrams are used in conjunction with other tools:

  • Process Maps
  • Value Stream Maps
  • 5S
  • 8 Wastes

Here are two other examples of Spaghetti Diagram use:

Finally, there are other major benefits to the Spaghetti Diagram as reproduced from page 74 of Mapping, development and optimization of internal logistics in a multi-stage production facility by Nils Jönsson & Björn Hofbard.

The Spaghetti Diagram is not just a simple tool suitable for analysing and improving a flow, but also a tangible support for both operational staff and top  management to  get  an  overview  of  operations  and connections  between  different  processes  and  activities.  Providing staff with a holistic picture of a  flow  could  decrease  silo  thinking  and  a  more  collaborative  approach between the different departments could be achieved

You can access the full report here.