A Fishbone Diagram is one of the seven basic quality management tools. Quality Management professionals use this tool for root cause analysis. By using this quality management tool, they can identify the problems in the business process and find the root cause of the problem. It is usually used when the quality management team fails to point out the problem or is unable to find its causes
What is a Fishbone Diagram?
It is also known as the cause-and-effect diagram as it helps quality management professionals find the causes of the problem in the business process. Originally, it was known as the Ishikawa diagram after its creator, Kaoru Ishikawa. The diagram resembles a skeleton of a fish laid on one of its sides, hence the given name, the fishbone diagram. A fishbone diagram helps visualize the problem and its root causes.
Though primarily used for root cause analysis, a fishbone diagram has many other uses like analysing the problem statement, improving the business process, and increasing its quality. It helps quality management professionals in brainstorming to find the possible causes of the identified problem. The idea behind creating this diagram is to ensure that all the causes are listed visually on a whiteboard or any visual software. Thus, it eliminates speculation and finding superficial solutions to the problems.
How to draw a fishbone diagram for root cause analysis?
Quality management professionals must first identify the problem before creating a fishbone diagram for root cause analysis. This problem is agreed upon by all the concerned professionals and is mentioned in the problem statement. The problem or the effect is depicted in the head of the fishbone and the spines represent the possible causes of the problem. The causes are mentioned under categories – methods, machines, people, materials, measurement, and environment.
Brainstorming helps in finding all the possible causes resulting from each category and they are mentioned in the diagram under them. Sub-causes or sub-categories are also mentioned in the diagram. Two categories may have the same sub-causes, this is also depicted in the fishbone diagram. When the team runs out of ideas, they can start brainstorming about finding the possible solution to the problem.
Therefore, a fishbone diagram is a useful quality management tool that helps in finding the solution to the most difficult problems in quality management. Organizations are always trying to improve their business processes to deliver products and services that meet international quality standards. Thus, having knowledge and skills in using the fishbone diagram and the seven basic quality management tools is very important for aspiring quality management professionals. They can use the training and certification course in quality management tools to improve their knowledge and use it to solve the quality management problems of their organization.
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