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Chapter: Mechanical : Total Quality Management (TQM) : TQM Tools & Techniques

New Seven management Tools

The seven tools we will see are : 1. Affinity diagram 2. Relations diagram 3. Tree diagram 4. Matrix diagram 5. Matrix data analysis diagram . 6 .Process decision programme chart 7. Arrow diagram

New Seven management Tools


It is a simple and effective tool. This approach focuses on the process (to reveal the causes), rather than the people.


Example: Why was there a delay in dispatch of good? Cutting tool failed, resulting in delay in manufacture. Why? The tools were reused?


Why? Ordered tool were not delivered?


Solution changes the dispatch schedule, if ever the tools were not delivered.


Forced Field Analysis


Readers’ attention is invited to the discussion in Chapter 2 on this topic.


Nominal Group Technique


This technique provides for ideas input from every one in the team and for effective decision making.




A team wants to decide upon a current complaint to attend. Every one in the team writes the problem on a paper, what they think is most important. They are listed in a chart and then the team members are asked to rank, from most important to least important. The ranking are given a numerical value starting from, say, on a 10 to 1 scale. Points for each problem is totaled and the ones with highest number of points, is considered o be the most important.


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. , 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.




These tools, unlike SPC tools are qualitative tools. Most of these tools do not involve the use of numerical data.


. 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.

Team work and techniques like brainstorming are very essential for best results with such tools.


The seven tools we will see are :

1. Affinity diagram

2. Relations diagram

3. Tree diagram

4. Matrix diagram

5. Matrix data analysis diagram .

6 .Process decision programme chart

7. Arrow diagram


Affinity Diagram


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.



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.




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.


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.



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.




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.


9.  Provide a suitable title to the diagram.




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.


Relations diagram


Tree Diagram



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.




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 :


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.


Matrix Diagram



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.



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


2. Divide the features into primary, secondary and tertiary features.

3. Divide the characteristics into primary, secondary and tertiary characteristics.


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 thefeature 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. ApplicationsMatrix 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 product’s 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



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.



The procedure for creating a matrix data analysis diagram consists of the following steps:

1. Decide the two factors whose relations are to be analyses.

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 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.



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.




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.


Process decision programme chart



Arrow Diagram



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.



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.


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.

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 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


1 2 3 7 10 11 14 15

8 9

1 1 2

1 1 1 1

2 2 3 4 2 5 2


1 11completion 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. 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.

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