Powerful Tools to Analyze your Business Processes
To monitor and improve your business, you know that you need analytical tools to Check and Measure if your product or process is performing as designed. Here are a few Powerful Tools to Analyze your Business Processes. The 7 QC Tools presented here are easy to learn and apply. All you need is a combination of a little training and a spreadsheet package like MS Excel.
A winning strategy in business is to “Plan, Do, Check and Act” or PDCA. Before committing a sizeable amount of your time and resources on your pet project, it is prudent to Check or Measure if your product or process will perform as designed.
You might be asking these questions:
- How do you gather the data?
- How do you analyze the results?
- What are the right tools to use?
Having the right analytical tools is an essential ingredient for any process improvement program that your company may undertake. Considering that there are very many quality assurance and quality management tools available, then the selection of the most appropriate tools can become a difficult task.
Also, it needs to be emphasized that while analytical tools can be very effective in the right hands, they can be very dangerous in the wrong hands.
Therefore, it is important to know how, when and which tools should be used in problem solving or any process improvement initiative.
So, where do you begin?
The answer is that you can begin your quality journey by using the most fundamental quality tools called the seven basic quality tools or 7 QC Tools.
The 7 QC Tools are easy to learn and handle. You can use MS Excel with the tools. The tools are referred to as the 7 Basic QC Tools because, with a little training, any person should be able to use them. You do not need a college degree in statistics to use them effectively.
The 7 QC tools can be applied across any industry starting from product development phase till delivery. They are used to analyze your data and lead you to viable solutions to your existing problems. 7QC tools even today is as popular and is extensively used in various phases of Six Sigma (DMAIC or DMADV), in continuous improvement process (PDCA cycle) and Lean Management (removing wastes from process).
The 7 QC Tools
- Check Sheet – Used for Data Gathering
- The Charts (Flow, Pie, and Radar) – used to investigate where improvements can be made.
- Pareto Diagram – Used to show clearly which problems or factors have the greatest impact and hence should be dealt with first.
- Cause and Effect Chart (Ishikawa or Fish Bone Charts) – used to discover the root cause of problems in processes. Use in conjunction with the 5 whys to quickly bring out the possible root causes of problems.
- Scatter Diagrams – Use to verify that you have discovered the root cause of a problem. The chart demonstrates a causality between two factors, ie a change in (x) will cause a direct change in (y). Also used graphically to indicate the problems areas in a product.
- Histograms – Used to investigate the distribution of results around an expected mean frequency. They are also used to indicate if a machine or process is capable of producing to the customers specification limits.
- Run Charts and Control Charts– Run Charts are used when to detect trends or patterns over time. Control charts are used to verify if a process is within statistical control.
Benefits of using the 7 QC Tools
- Simple and easy to implement
- Provides Quick results
- Helps bring about process improvement
- Enhances customer focus
- Empowers your employees to analyze and solve problems
- Encourages Intellectual Capital Development.
- Encourages Team Work
History of the 7 QC Tools
In the 1960’s, Kaoru Ishikawa, then head of the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) introduced the use of the seven quality control (7QC) tools. His thinking was quality should be controlled at the operator level and that tools needed to be in place for the early detection of problems. The tools he developed d were based on the quality philosophies developed by Walter Shewhart and W Edward Deming during the 1930s and 1940s.
Kaoru Ishikawa designed the tools to be simple enough so that the average Japanese worker could use them successfully. The tools can be used by people with little formal training in statistics to solve the vast majority of quality-related issues. These tools have since proven their worth in manufacturing and are now being applied in service, BPO, and sales industries as well.
Details of the 7 QC Tools
1. Check Sheet
A check sheet is a form for collecting and analyzing data. This is a generic tool that can be adapted for a wide variety of purposes. It is used to shows the history of a process and possibly the pattern of variations. This tool is used to identify the problems and collect data easily.
2. The Charts (Flow, Pie, and Radar)
These are used to investigate where improvements can be made.Graph are among the simplest and best techniques to analyze and display data. Additionally if allows for easy communication in a visual format. The resulting data can be shown graphically using bar graphs, line charts and pie charts.
3. Pareto Diagram
The Pareto Diagram or chart is named after Wilfredo Pareto, the Italian economist who discovered the 80 / 20 principle or the rule of the significant few. The Pareto chart is used to define which of our problems are the most significant and rank them according to priority. This allows us to concentrate our efforts on the few factors that have the greatest impact rather than on the many with little impact.
4. Cause and Effect Diagram
This is called the “fishbone chart” because of its appearance or the Ishikawa chart after Kaoru Ishikawa who popularized its use in Japan. This tool is used to show the possible causes of a problem. It allows a team to identify, explore, and graphically display, in increasing detail, all of the possible causes related to a problem or condition and to ultimately discover its root cause or causes.
5. Scatter Plot or Diagram
The scatter diagram is a graphical tool that plots many data points and shows a pattern of correlation between two variables. It shows the pattern of relationship between two variables that are thought to be related. For a linear relationship, the closer the points are to a diagonal line, the more closely there is a one-to-one relationship. It is used to verify that you have discovered the root cause of a problem. The chart demonstrates a causality between two factors, ie a change in (x) will cause a direct change in (y). Also used graphically to indicate the problems areas in a product.
This tool is used to show how often and when a problem occurs. The histogram looks very much like a bar chart. It is used when numerical data is available. The histogram is often used to tell us if our process can meet the customer’s requirements. It can also be used in analyzing our supplier’s performance.
7. Control Charts
Control charts are statistical tools used to analyze and understand process variables. It is used mainly to determine if a process is within statistical control or going out of control. It is important to realize that this is not the same as tracking if the output is within the customer’s specifications. Rather the control chart is used to determine if process variation that can be classified as the result of either common causes or because of special causes.
Training for the 7 QC Tools
RMP Consultancy conducts public seminars and in-house training to help you understand and use the 7 QC Tools Efficiently and Effectively.
Imagine a way to deliver better reports. The Focused Improvement: The 7 Quality Control Tools Seminar is just what you need. Click on the links below and give a call.
Upcoming 7 QC Tools, 8D Problem Solving & Decision Making, FMEA and Root Cause Analysis (RCA)
22 Nov 2019, Friday, Root Cause Analysis RCA Essentials (One Day Seminar),
25 Nov 2019, Monday, Failure Modes and Effects Analysis FMEA Essentials (One Day),
13 Dec 2019, Friday, Focused Improvement: The 7 Quality Control Tools,
22 Jan 2020, Wednesday, Focused Improvement: The 7 Quality Control Tools,
23 Jan 2020, Thursday, Root Cause Analysis RCA Essentials (One Day Seminar),
24 Jan 2020, Friday, Failure Modes and Effects Analysis FMEA Essentials (One Day),
Register for one of the Seminars Above
Register for the Seminar
Please Contact Claire or Marco
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