Dec 192014

Cause and effect diagram was designed by Japanese Kaouru Ishikawa in 1986 and is known by different names: fishbone diagram or Ishikawa diagram. Through its configuration, the diagram allows highlighting and prioritizing the causes that generate a certain effect. The pattern was developed in order to determine and divide the main causes of a given problem. It is recommended to use it when there is only one problem and the possible causes may be ranked.

A cause and effect diagram has two parts:

  • A part of the effect
  • A part of the causes

The effect is an issue, a feature or a quality condition and represents the head of the fish. The effects are defined by characteristics or employment issues, costs, the quantity of production, delivery, job security, and much more. The effects are embodied in the evolution of the parameters that characterize the analyzed process.

Potential causes and sub-causes outline the bone structure of the fish. The causes are the factors that determine the effects, the occurrence of a given situation. The main factors are materials, machines, methods, workers and the environment. Thus, the diagram illustrates, in an accurate manner, the relationship between a certain identified effect and its potential causes. The causes may be different depending on the specifically analyzed asset.

The dispersion characteristics of a product, for example, can be determined by the existence of causes such as defects in raw materials used, differences in tuning cars that are processed, faulty workmanship, methods of organizing execution, and the environment in which it operates. All these cases, known as the “5 M’s” are arranged by category and graphically visualized the form of skeleton fish.

The 5 M’s are:

  • Materials
  • Means
  • Methods
  • Machines
  • Main workforce

The diagram classifies the diversified causes that are believed to affect the results of activities by marking with arrows the cause-effect relationship between them. The branches of the diagram are arrows showing the relationship between effect and causative factors.In practice, if it finds the existence of a cause which affects the product parameters, the diagram must be identified precisely and then proposals are made of how it can be eliminated. To issue the proposals is most often organized a brainstorming session in which cause and effect diagram serves as a visual aid, stimulating the creativity of the participants.How to build a cause and effect essay outline?

The first step is the presentation of the problem. It is achieved through the precise definition of products, processes or events under study and the final characteristics of their effects. The effect is considered to result from activities, such as:

  • Delivery of work – stock levels, mode of dispatch
  • Quality control of work – refusals, accuracy, measurements, and many others
  • Exposure of the main possible causes

To do this, draw up a list of all the possible causes that determine the variation in the fixed characteristics. The causes are usually classified into the aforementioned “5 M’s” or the “5 bad things”: defects, errors, delays, losses, and accidents.Obviously, there may be other causes, depending on the question studied. To identify the causes you must use an appropriate method, for example, brainstorming.

Photo Credit: jcbwalsh

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