The 7 Basic Quality Tools for Process Improvement

Quezon City, Philippines.

The seven basic tools of quality was first emphasized by Kaoru Ishikawa, a professor of engineering at Tokyo University, and the father of “quality circles”. According to him, if used properly, they should be able to address practically 95% of all quality concerns and/ or issues.

You may start your quality journey by familiarizing with these tools, with the end-in-view of progressing towards eventually mastering them. Clicking on the live-link below will bring you to the corresponding ASQ-page elaborating each of them: 1.) When to use, 2.) How to construct, and 3.) Analysis-procedure.

  1. Cause-and-effect diagram (also called Ishikawa or fishbone chart): Identifies many possible causes for an effect or problem and sorts ideas into useful categories.
  2. Check sheet: A structured, prepared form for collecting and analyzing data; a generic tool that can be adapted for a wide variety of purposes.
  3. Control charts: Graphs used to study how a process changes over time.
  4. Histogram: The most commonly used graph for showing frequency distributions, or how often each different value in a set of data occurs.
  5. Pareto chart: Shows on a bar graph which factors are more significant.
  6. Scatter diagram: Graphs pairs of numerical data, one variable on each axis, to look for a relationship.
  7. Stratification: A technique that separates data gathered from a variety of sources so that patterns can be seen (some lists replace “stratification” with “flowchart” or “run chart”).

The following templates developed by ASQ will help you get started using the aforementioned seven basic quality tools. Just download the spreadsheets and begin entering your own data.

Excerpted from Nancy R. Tague’s The Quality Toolbox, Second Edition, ASQ Quality Press, 2005, page 15.

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About Ramon H. Enriquez MIE&M, RME

Ramon H. Enriquez is a retired business executive who now spends his available time sharing his more than 35 years of industry experiences in the Philippines and abroad (Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil, and Switzerland) as an Independent Management Consultant and as a Professional Lecturer of leading Metro-Manila universities, on the various value-creation and strategy-execution topics that he now specializes: Supply-Chains, Operations, Quality, Enterprise-Projects, and Decision-support---their systems design and management, in particular. His affiliations with relevant leading global industry associations (APICS, CSCMP, PMI, INFORMS, ASQ, ISM among others) keeps him informed and updated on the current and future developments in the above-mentioned fields. He is a lifelong Systems Thinker/ Modeler, and an avid Micro-blogger. His hobby includes Digital-photography/ -graphics, Singing, Acoustic guitar playing, Songwriting, and Audio-recording/ -mixing. When not traveling, he normally spends his time at his Quezon City home-office with his wife, Gay; son, Dax; and dog, Brutus.
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