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7 ADVANCED QC TOOLS

Introduction to 7-Advanced QC Tools


The seven advanced tools of quality management or the New Seven is a
collection of tools put together by a set of Japanese quality professionals.
Many of the tools were already known to managers in other disciplines,
sometimes by names different from what we will see in this book. For
instance, Arrow Diagram, was known to engineers and project managers by
names like PERT (Programme Evaluation and Review Technique) or CMP
(Critical Mean Path). Another tool in this set PDPC (Process Decision
Programme Chart) has been used in operations research. The seven tools
we will see are :
1.

Relations diagram

2.

Tree diagram

3.

Arrow diagram

4.

Affinity diagram

5.

Matrix diagram

6.

Matrix data analysis diagram

7.

Process decision programme chart.

These tools, unlike SPC tools are qualitative tools. Most of these tools do not
involve the use of numerical data. As the names suggest they are diagrams
and charts which arrange available information in a visual form that helps
managers in making sound decisions. Like all management tools these are
judgmental tools. Managers are often called upon to make decisions based
on their judgement with help of incomplete information or on subjective
issues. Such decisions require discussions among members of cross
functional teams. Team work and techniques like brainstorming are very
essential for best results with such tools.
2

Relations Diagram
Purpose
The purpose of relations diagram is to generate a visual representation of the
relations between an effect and its causes as well as the interrelationship
between the causes in complex problems.
Structure
As mentioned in the opening paragraph of the chapter, the structure of
relations diagram is not very rigid; it is quite flexible. Only thing fixed about
the diagram is a bold bordered rectangle in which the effect is written. The
causes are entered in light rectangles and lines are drawn to show relation
between the rectangles. The lines have arrows at one end showing which is

the cause and which is the effect - the arrow always leading from the cause
to the effect. The most common shape the diagram takes has the effect at
the centre, with immediate causes surrounding it and secondary and tertiary
causes as outer layers. Diagram 1 shows one such representation.

Relations Diagram - Common Structure


Diagram 1
The most common structure of relations diagram seen in diagram 1, where
the effect is placed at the centre and the causes surround it, is called
Focused Counterpoint type. When the interrelations between the immediate
causes is more widespread, it may be difficult to connect the rectangles
located on either side of the effect. In such cases the effect may be placed on
the top or the left hand side of the diagram and causes below or to the right of
the effect. The diagram then resembles organisation charts. The flow of

arrows in such a diagram is in only one direction bottom to top or right to left.
Diagram 2 shows a Unidirectional type of structure.

Relations Diagram - Unidirectional Structure


Diagram 2

These two diagrams have shown how the structure of relations diagram is
extremely flexible. The shape depends on the nature and extent of
interrelations between various causes. The team is free to arrange the
rectangles with causes in any convenient shape. If need be, the shape is
recast with rearrangement of the causes for ease of connecting the
rectangles.
Procedure
To prepare a relations diagram, there is a need for a large number of causes.
No single individual can generate an exhaustive list of causes. Hence the tool
gives best results when it is used in a group. The group must brainstorm the
subject to get the maximum number of causes. The steps in the preparation
of a relations diagram are :
1.

Decide the effect or the problem for which causes are to be found.
Write is in the centre of the flip chart or a board and enclose it in a dark
bordered rectangle. Discuss the subject and confirm the effect.

2.

Brainstorm to identify the immediate causes for the effect first. Enter
these in rectangles around the central dark rectangle. Take care to
place causes likely to be related to one another in adjacent positions.
It is quite possible that the locations of the causes may have to be
changed as one progresses. Hence a white board is preferable to a
flip chart for this exercise. If a flip chart is used, the causes may be
written on post-it pads and stuck on the chart so that their location can
be changed easily.

3.

Connect these immediate causes to the effect by connecting the


rectangles of the causes to that of the effect with a line with an arrow
pointing towards the effect. Explore the cause and effect relationship
among the immediate causes and connect them, keeping in mind that
the arrow always points to an effect.

4.

Taking each of these immediate causes as an effect, brainstorm to find


causes for them one by one. The key question for identifying causes is
why ?. Keep asking the question till the root causes are identified for
the immediate, secondary and tertiary causes.

5.

Explore the relationship between all the causes and connect the
rectangles as in step-3. Show as many relations among different
causes as possible. A large number of routes leading to the same root
causes provides an indication that the root cause may be an important
contributor to the problem.

6.

Brainstorm to find the more important root causes and more prominent
links leading to the effect. Mark these by making the rectangles and
the connecting lines darker.

7.

If necessary, rearrange the rectangles in such a way that the


connecting lines are short and the diagram compact.

8.

Provide a suitable title to the diagram.

Applications
Relations diagram can be applied to explore cause and effect relationships,
especially in complex situations where the causes are likely to be mutually
related. The most common use is in problem solving to identify multiple
interrelated causes. The output of the tool is a list of root causes for the
problem with some indication of their relative importance. The output has to
be considered as only an indication of the relative importance of the causes.
Data has to be collected to confirm or reject the conclusions arrived at the end
of the session. Priority of corrective actions to eliminate the causes should be
based on the data collected, not on output of relations diagram. The output of
relations diagram is based on the perception of the members of the group
brainstorming the issue; it needs to be supported by facts. While the output is
important as it points a direction to data collection efforts, it is no substitute for
facts and data.

Poor Job Satisfaction

Lure of Competition

Low Future
Prospects

HIGH TURNOVER

Unsatisf.
Work Env.

Dissatisf.
Compensation

An Example of a Relations Diagram


3

Affinity Diagram

Purpose
The purpose of an affinity diagram is to provide a visual representation of
grouping of a large number of ideas or factors or requirements into logical
sets of related items to help one organise action plans in a systematic
manner.
Procedure
The steps in the procedure for preparing an affinity diagram are :
1.

Decide the subject or the topic

2.

Generate a large number of ideas through brainstorming

3.

Decide the number of groups and their titles. Create a card for each
group. Enter the title of the group at the top of the card.

4.

Distribute all the ideas among the cards. If necessary, create new
cards for additional groups.

5.

Arrange the cards according to the relationship between the groups.

6.

Give a name to the affinity diagram.

Applications
The structure and the procedure for affinity diagram would have shown how
simple the tool is. Its simplicity makes it easy to combine it with other tools
and put it to a wide variety of applications. For instance, it can be combined
with a cause-and-effect diagram or a relations diagram to identify and regroup
causes for a problem or it can be combined with a tree diagram to categorise
possible solutions. Thus it can assist in problem solving. It can be used to
group customer requirements in a complex product and can help one to
design a product with characteristics and features that would satisfy and
delight customers. It can be used to categorise actions in an implementation
plan leading to a rationalised distribution of responsibility. In fact the tool can
be used to break up any complex problem or task into smaller more easily
manageable bits. Someone has asked a question - How do you eat a whale
? which has an obvious answer -A mouthful at a time. Another similar set
of a question and an answer is - How to eat an elephant - slice by slice.
Well affinity diagram is a tool that helps to break up a whale into convenient
mouthfuls or an elephant into manageable slices. Its simplicity makes it a
very widely applicable tool.
Creating Values
a. Create vision
b. Quality policy
c. Pers. Commit
d. Pers. Involve
e. Value system
f. Mission state
Creating Culture

Strategic Planning

p Transformation
s Reward & Recog.
t Recog. Functions
x Employee Partic.
dd Celebrations

b Select elements
c Long-tern goals
f Priorities
y Self Assessment
z Imp. Objectives
cc Direction
Communication
e
m
aa
gg

Organisation
g
h
i
u

Training

Quality policy
Commitment
Goals & objectives
Success stories

k All employees
w Identify needs
bb Need based
hh Evaluate
ii Improve

Implementation

Supportive Org.
Infrastructure
Resources
Division/Loc.
Committees

j
q
r
v

Project Teams
Proj. progress
Remove obstacles
Progress at Div.
/Loc.
ee Revise plans

Distribution of Ideas among Groups


An Example of an Affinity Diagram

Tree Diagram
Purpose
The purpose of the tree diagram is to explore ways and means to achieve an
objective, develop a list of alternate means to reach the desired situation in a
sequential order and to present them in a visual form.
Procedure
This tool like other tools in the new seven is a group tool. A brainstorming
session is necessary to collect a large number of ideas for the means to
achieve the objective. The rules of brainstorming should be observed to get
the best results from the tool. The steps in the procedure to develop a tree
diagram are :
1. Identify a high priority problem that needs to be solved at the earliest.
Prepare an objective statement describing the desired situation or the
target solution.
2. Decide the appropriate form of the diagram - cascade or tree as well as
direction of flow after a brief discussion. Place the target solution in the
dark rectangle.
3. Brainstorm to identify the primary means to achieve the objective. Arrange
them in an appropriate order keeping in mind the likely interrelations
between them and place them in rectangles at the first level.
4. For each of the primary means, identify secondary means which would be
necessary to attain those means. Arrange them in next level boxes.
5. Identify tertiary means required to attain each of the secondary means and
place them in a proper order in the next level boxes.
6. Continue the process till the group feels that the end of the line has been
reached.
7. If a lower level means is required to attain two higher level means, it may
be connected to both. Rearrange the boxes if necessary to make this
possible. Use of POST-IT pads can make such a rearrangement simple.
8. Brainstorm to reach a consensus on the relative importance of the last
level means to priorities action.
9. Give a suitable title to the diagram.

Application
The most important application of the tree diagram is for devising solutions for
problems. It helps one to develop a systematic step by step strategy to
achieve an objective. It is also useful in monitoring the implementation of
solutions by taking care of accomplishment of means at different levels.
Open
Clinic

Improve
Health

Medical
Degree

Medical
College

Pass
Entrance

Expert
Coaching

Improving Health Standards in the Village


Tree Diagram - Cascade Form

Organise
Funds

Tree Diagram Tree Form

Causes for
Resignation

Tree diagram
organization.

Internal

Frequent / long tours


Poor Pay
Poor working environment
Poor career prospectus
Insensitive to personal problems.

External

Better pay
Better career prospects
Reputed organization
Better benefits
Better working conditions

Personal

Nearer to home
Family problems
Large financial commitments

showing

causes

for

resignation

from

an

Matrix Diagram
Purpose
The purpose of a matrix diagram is to explore the existence and the extent of
relations between individual items in two sets of factors or features or
characteristics and express them in a symbolic form that is easy to
understand. The purpose for which the tool is most frequently used is to
understand the relation between customer expectations as expressed by the
customers and product characteristics as designed, manufactured and tested
by the manufacturer.
Procedure
The steps in the procedure to prepare a matrix diagram are :
1. Decide the two sets of factors for which relations are required to be
clarified. Call the set of the main factors features and the set of factors
dependent on it counterpart characteristics or characteristics.
2. Divide the features into primary, secondary and tertiary features.
3. Divide the characteristics
characteristics.

into

primary,

secondary

and

tertiary

4. Place the features vertically on the left hand side of the matrix and
characteristics horizontally on top of the matrix.
5. Enter the importance of the features on the column after that for the
tertiary features.
6. In the main body of the matrix, place symbols at the squares denoting the
relationship between the feature and the characteristic meeting at the
intersection. The symbols to be used are :
-

Strong relationship

Medium relationship

Weak relationship

In case there is no relation between the concerned feature and


characteristic, leave the square blank to indicate no relation. The
relationship should be based on data available with the team or on the
results of a brainstorming session which must be confirmed by
collecting necessary data.
7.

Title the diagram suitably.

Applications
Matrix diagram, being a very simple table showing relations between
individual items in two sets of factors, can be put to a wide variety of uses.
The symbolic representation of the relationship makes the diagram so much
easier to understand as compared to a table with a lot of figures. Let us see
some of the possible applications of a matrix diagram.
Matrix diagram can be used to solve problems by arranging data in such a
way that the relations between relevant factors are brought into sharp focus.
It can be used to understand relations between customer satisfaction and
product characteristics, between complaints and product groups, between
complaints and geographical regions, between a products performance in the
market and promotional inputs on it and so on. Once the relations between
individual items in sets of factors are clearly understood and agreed upon, it
becomes easy to solve problems and to plan and implement solutions
systematically.
There is no limit to the use of the tool. The unlimited possibility of the
application of the tool is proved by a couple of unusual examples. A book on
QC tools written by Japanese authors gives an example where the tool was
used to describe the relations between male and female members of the staff
in an office. A recent article in a magazine brought out by an NBFC (Non
Banking Finance Company) for the benefit of investors used the matrix
diagram to depict the vulnerability of different industries. The diagram
provides relation between 24 industries from Aluminium and Automobiles to
tyres and yarn with half a dozen parameters such as over-capacity, demand
recession, cheap imports etc. The matrix had symbols indicating high,
moderate, slight or no vulnerability of the industry on that parameter. The
only difference is that the symbols used were not the same as those
conventionally used in a matrix diagram.
The most important application of matrix diagram is in clarifying relations
between individual features of customer requirements and individual product
characteristics. Thus the tool enables one to translate customer expectations
into technical specifications accurately. In other words it helps one develop a
product specification that will satisfy customer expectations. Its use can be
extended to clarify the relationship between product characteristics on one
side and product formulation and process parameters on the other side. In
other words it can be used to generate a process specification that would
ensure compliance to the requirements of a product specification. It can be
used to develop specification requirements for inputs to a process by studying
their relation to the output requirements.

Matrix Data Analysis Diagram


Purpose
The purpose of matrix data analysis diagram is to present numerical data
about two sets of factors in a matrix form and analyse it to get numerical
output. The factors most often are products and product characteristics. The
purpose then is to analyse the data on several characteristics for a number of
products and use the information to arrive at optimum values for the
characteristics for a new product or to decide the strong points of a product
and use the information for designing a strategy for the promotion of the
product.
Procedure
The procedure for creating a matrix data analysis diagram consists of the
following steps :
1. Decide the two factors whose relations are to be analysed.
2. Check the number of individual items in the two factors.
3. Prepare a matrix to accommodate all the items of the two factors.
4. Enter numerical data in the matrix.
5. Give the diagram a suitable title.
Applications
The most common application of matrix data analysis diagram is to decide the
desired product characteristics of a new product based on the analysis of
product characteristics of similar products in the market and the intended
positioning of the new product. For instance the characteristics of a toilet

Characteristics P

Physical Tests

Perceived

Visual

Features
S
T

Safe

Misc.

Effect

Functional

Lather

Appearance

Col

Cla.

Perf.

Str.

Cop.

Dense

Dur.

Clean
Hair

Description
Col

Cla

Formula

Properties
Per

SpGr

Visc

Foam Height
Ini

Fin

Detergent
Den

Typ

F.B.

Pres.

Shiny
Hair

No
Tang

Eyes

Hair

- Medium

Cond.

Key : - Strong

Others

- Weak

Example of Matrix Diagram Shampoo Features and characteristics

Importance

Target
Value

Colour

Clarity

Perfume

Strength

Copious

Dense

Durable

Clean Hair

Shiny Hair

No Tangles

On Eyes

On Hair

Primary

Secondary

Visual

p
p

Perceived

Tertiary

a
r
F

Lather

Effect

o
n
a
l
M
i
s
c.

Safe

Where W denotes our company and X, Y & Z are competitors.

Example of a Matrix Data Analysis Diagram

soap for customers with normal skin would be somewhere in between those
for a soap for dry skin and a soap for oily skin. A cosmetic product for
growing children would have characteristics between those of a baby
cosmetic and an adult cosmetic.
By collecting data on the product
characteristics of related products and placing them in a matrix data analysis
diagram, one can decide the desired characteristics of the proposed product
depending on target group of customers for the new product.
Analysis of the data can also be used to identify the strongest characteristics
of an existing product to decide its promotional inputs. The tool can also be
used to study the causes of customer complaints. It can also be used to
determine process parameters to achieve desired product characteristics.
The tool can be very useful in compiling data obtained on the analysis of
competitive products with a view to develop a product better than the
competition or to devise a marketing strategy for the product based on its
strengths.

Process Decision Programme Chart


Purpose
The purpose of process decision programme chart is to prepare for abnormal
occurrences with low probability which may otherwise be overlooked and to
present the occurrences as well as the necessary countermeasures to guard
against such occurrences in the form of a visual chart. The tool forces one to
think of the possible obstacles in the smooth progress of a process or a
project and then find ways and means to surmount those obstacles to ensure
the successful and timely completion of the process or the project. Thus the
tool helps one to prepare a contingency plan to achieve the objective if
adverse events occur.
Procedure
The steps in the preparation of a process decision programme chart are :
1. Prepare a normal flowchart of the process with all expected events as
steps in the chart.
2. Consider the possibility of the process not going as per the plan due to any
abnormal, though less probable, occurrences.
3. Show these occurrences on the flowchart through branching at appropriate
locations.
4. Consider how the abnormal occurrence will affect the process and search
for ways and means to counter the effect.
5. Show these countermeasures in rectangles connecting the corresponding
abnormal occurrence on one side and the process objective or the goal on
the other.

6. Give a suitable title to the diagram.


Steps 2 and 4 require totally different type of thinking and hence the team
must be prepared to think on appropriate lines. One needs to put on different
thinking hats while brainstorming steps 2 and 4 and the facilitator must
inform all members about it. As suggested by Dr. Edward De Bono in his
book Six Thinking Hats the correct thinking hats for steps 2 and 4 are black
and yellow which respectively encourage negative logical and positive
logical thinking.
Applications
The tool has the widest range of applications as it can be used for a range of
activities from simple ones like a game of bridge or reaching railway station or
airport in time to catch a train or a plane to complex processes or projects. In
fact if can be applied to all processes to ensure their success by
systematically minimising the untoward effect of unexpected adverse
occurrences. Through the process of brainstorming for possible adverse
occurrences and for measures to counter them, one assures the success of
the process even if such events do occur. The tool can be used to prevent
problems by identifying opportunities for error and devising measures to avoid
failure. It can be used during the implementation of solutions for predicting
resistance and for planning measures to overcome the resistance.

Get A Steady
Job

Start Saving
Early

May Lose
The Job

Savings Lost
To Illness

Invest in
Housing

Develop Alt.
Skills

Medical
Insurance

Invest for
Long-Term

Loss of
Property

Losses Due to
Bad Inv.

Manage
Investments

Householder
Insurance

Early
Demise

Get Advice on
Portfolio

Life
Insurance

Provide Secure
Future

An Example of PDPC - Providing Secure Future for Dependents

Arrow Diagram
Purpose
The purpose of an arrow diagram is to create a visual presentation of the
steps of a process or tasks necessary to complete a project with special
emphasis on the time taken for these activities. The diagram provides a clear
understanding of the schedule of various steps in the process which helps one
to monitor the process for ensuring its completion on time.
Procedure
The steps for preparing an arrow diagram are :
1. List all tasks or activities that need to be accomplished before the
completion of the process or the project.
2. Decide which steps are undertaken in series and which steps can be run in
parallel.
3. Arrange the activities in a proper sequence.
4. Prepare Event Nodes at the completion of steps and number them.
Where the process is bifurcating into two or more parallel streams, more
lines will flow from a node and where the parallel streams are merging, two
or more steps will lead to a node.
5. Write the description of the step on top of the line or to the left of the line.
Decide the time required for completing each step and write it under or to
the right of the line.
6. Calculate the earliest time to reach an event node for the start of the
process. Where more than one streams are combining, the maximum
time taken by a stream is taken into consideration. This time is entered on
the top half of the rectangle. This time is related to the starting time of the
process which is taken as zero.
7. After the time for all event nodes including the completion of the process
or the project is available, one calculates the latest time by which an event
node must be reached. This is done by starting at the time of completion
and going back step by step. The time is entered on the bottom half of the
rectangle. The time indication at all event nodes will appear as :
X
Y
where X is the earliest time by which the event can be completed and
Y is the latest time by which the event should be completed.
8.

Give a title to the diagram.

As the calculation of the time indications is extremely important in the


construction of an arrow diagram it is necessary that we understand the
procedure well. Let us understand the concept through diagram 13.

1
1

11

10

14
5

1
8

2
1

2
2

13

12

15
2

Arrow Diagram - Structure


With Time Required for Steps Expressed in Hours
Diagram 13
Let us calculate the time the events can be reached earliest by adding time for
the step to the time of the earlier event starting with zero time at the start i.e.
event-1. Where there are two streams one has to take the time for the longer
or the critical path. The time to be put on the top half of the rectangle for the
15 event nodes are given in table 3.
For event node 7, we get two values. As the time for node 6 is 5 hours and
Event
No.

Node

Time (Hours)

10 11 12 13 14 15

11 13 14 16 18 20

Time the event nodes can be reached at the earliest


Table 3
step from 6 to 7 takes one hour, the time for 7 would be 6 hours. But time for
node 3 is 4 hours and the step from 3 to 7 takes 3 hours, the time for node 7
comes to 7 hours. The earliest both streams get ready is 7 hours and hence
one has to take 7 hours as the time for node 7. The same principle has been
applied for calculating the time for nodes 10 and 14.
Now let us see how to calculate the time to be put on the bottom half of the
rectangle or the time by which the event must be reached to ensure

completion of the project on time. In this case one has to start with event 15
as 20 hours and calculate the time for the event by reducing the time taken for
the step. Step from event 14 to 15 takes 2 hours. To complete the project at
20 hours, it is essential that one reaches event 14 by 18 hours. In this way
we get the time by which the events must be accomplished. These are given
in table 4.
Event
No.

Node

Time (Hours)

1
0

1
1

1
2

1
3

1
4

1
5

1
0

1
1

1
3

1
5

1
7

1
8

2
0

Time the event nodes can be reached at the latest


Table 4
In this case too, we get two values for some nodes. For instance for node 11,
we get 14 hours if we consider the step form event 12 to 11 and 13 hours if
we consider the step from event 14 to 11. Here the lower of the two values
has to be taken. The same is true for events 7 and 2. If we combine the
values given in tables 3 and 4, we get the time indication for all the event
nodes as shown in table 5
Event Node No.

10

11

12

13

14

15

Time (Top)

11

13

14

16

18

20

Time (Bottom)

10

11

13

15

17

18

20

Time indication for event nodes expressed in hours


Table 5
The time indication for alternative nodes is shown on the arrow diagram as
shown for event nodes 6 and 9 in diagram 14 a & b respectively.

6
1

10
1

7
9

10
b

Diagram 14

A close look at the table shows that the time for all the events on the critical
path, events 1, 2, 3, 7, 10, 11, 14 and 15, remains the same on both the top
and the bottom halves of the rectangle. Where there is a difference between
the two, there is a slack and the individual has a choice to schedule the steps
within the limits of the two.
Applications
The most common application of an arrow diagram is in planning and
scheduling projects which involve a large number of activities. The diagram is
also useful in planning and scheduling steps in complicated processes. Once
an arrow diagram is ready with time indications for all stages of the project or
the process, referred as the event nodes in the procedure, one can look for
opportunities to reduce the time taken for the project by concentrating on the
steps on the critical path. It can then be used to monitor the progress of the
project throughout its duration.

Compiled from D L Shah Trust publication


By B.Girish, Dy. Director
National Productivity Council, Chennai