The Manager's Toolkit - Part 3: Charting the progress

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Cause and Effect Charts

Cause and Effect charts are also known as Fish-bone Diagrams or Ishikawa Diagrams and are used to note ideas of theories for problem solving in production or other processes. The 'fish head' is the effect that needs to be increased (or decreased), the large bones indicate major categories or potential causes and the small bones are the minor categories. In many ways the cause and effect chart resembles a mind map (Mind Maps - see Toolkit No. 8) but it is more specific in application.

To start and gain confidence, the framework can be initially based on the M's or the P's: 

M's - MateriaI, Machines, Men, Methods, Measures and Environment (See Example 1)

Example 1: The M's

P's - Process, Product, Plant, People, Procedures and Environment (See Example 2).

Example 2: The P's

It can be useful to group ideas into logical branches and it is also recommended that ideas are given a ranking of importance (say one to 10). In doing this it is essential that the people making the chart, and doing the ranking, know what really happens in their process and are not influenced by what should happen in the ideal world (see Figure 3).

Example 3: Causes of Installation Problems

Taking action

As the diagram of theories is developed and studied, proposals should be put forward for testing the theories. Ways of doing this are:

I have personally used this method, working with four line operators to identify and make a simple process modification that cost 450 and saved 450 per week every week and is still saving 450 per week. The operators knew their process and the ways to make it better but no-one had thought to ask them.

"The Manager's Toolkit" Series.

"The Manager' Toolkit" series is designed to give Managers and other staff an insight into the use and application of a new set of thinking tools. The series is:

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: The Pareto Principle
Part 3: Cause and Effect Charts (This Section)
Part 4: Scatter Charts
Part 5: Flow Charts
Part 6: Histograms
Part 7: Capability Studies
Part 8: Mind Mapping

Last edited: 11/03/10

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