This resource flow map is one of many diagrams I use to visualize a complex system, so as to find patterns that can be systematically automated and improved. This is also known as a “business network diagram” or a “stock and flow diagram”. Each arrow shows that resources regularly flow from one location to another.
In this case, thousands of tonnes of garbage, recyclables and other waste material flow from customers, through a transfer and processing network, out to recyclers and landfills. My clients at the City of Toronto knew the specifics about each of these flows. Putting them all together on one map allows the client to strategize about the whole system, and describe it to stakeholders. I also created a detailed version of this map, to define data elements and performance measures in the client’s Business Intelligence (data reporting) system.
Similar diagrams can be made about any resources: goods flowing through a supply chain, liquids flowing through pipes, information flowing between databases, or money flowing between accounts.