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

Seven tools of quality

Seven tools of quality, Prerequisite discussion, Concept, Flow charts, Applications, Histogram, Cause and Effect Diagram, Check sheet, Scatter diagram, Control charts, Pareto charts.



Prerequisite Discussion


·                    The quality of a product or service depends on the quality of process employed.


·                    Every organization needs to establish a set of well-defined process for manufacturing of product (or) design or service.


·                    The objective of process control is to control the quality of the processes and ensure that the deliverables are produced as planned.


·                    Aim of the statistical based process control is to produce products and services with quality consistently.


·                    Seven quality control tools are very important for continuous improvement in the TQM journey.


·                    It is a prerequisite for ISO 9000 certification process flow charts are insisted and the organizations are asked to document the processes.




There are many proposed tools and techniques to achieve the TQM promises. Generally, a technique can be considered as a number of activities performed in a certain order to reach the values .


On the other hand, tools sometimes have statistical basis to support decision making or facilitate analysis of data.


The best tools for this purpose is check sheet, Pareto chart, histogram, scatter diagram, run chart and statistical process control (SPC).


The data collected by these tools can be used to measure the process. The correct selection and use of tools and techniques is a vital component of any successful TQM implementation plan.


The TQM tools and techniques can be divided into simple tools for solving a special problem and complex one that cover all functions within the company.


Flow Charts

This is one of the basic quality tool that can be used for analyzing a sequence of events.


The tool maps out a sequence of events that take place sequentially or in parallel. The flow chart can be used to understand a complex process in order to find the relationships and dependencies between events.


You can also get a brief idea about the critical path of the process and the events involved in the critical path.


Flow charts can be used for any field and to illustrate events involving processes of any complexity. There are specific software tools developed for drawing flow charts, such as MS Vision.

You will be able to freely download some of the open source flow chart tools developed by the open source community.




In a product assembly how sub assemblies made and then build into final product.


The time taken for before improvement is greater than after improvement by using flow diagrams.




Histogram is used for illustrating the frequency and the extent in the context of two variables. Histogram is a chart with columns. This represents the distribution by mean. If the histogram is normal, the graph takes the shape of a bell curve.


If it is not normal, it may take different shapes based on the condition of the distribution. Histogram can be used to measure something against another thing. Always, it should be two variables.


Consider the following example: The following histogram shows morning attendance of a class. The X-axis is the number of students and the Y-axis the time of the day.

Cause and Effect Diagram


Cause and effect diagrams (Ishikawa Diagram) are used for understanding organizational or business problem causes.


Organizations face problems everyday and it is required to understand the causes of these problems in order to solve them effectively. Cause and effect diagrams exercise is usually a teamwork.


A brainstorming session is required in order to come up with an effective cause and effect diagram. All the main components of a problem area are listed and possible causes from each area is listed. Then, most likely causes of the problems are identified to carry out further analysis.


Check Sheet


A check sheet can be introduced as the most basic tool for quality. A check sheet is basically used for gathering and organizing data.


When this is done with the help of software packages such as Microsoft Excel, you can derive further analysis graphs and automate through macros available.


Therefore, it is always a good idea to use a software check sheet for information gathering and organizing needs.


One can always use a paper-based check sheet when the information gathered is only used for backup or storing purposes other than further processing.


Types of check sheet



1.                 Process distribution check sheets.

2.                 Defective item check sheets.

3.                 Defect location check sheet.

4.                 Defect factor check sheet.



Scatter Diagram


When it comes to the values of two variables, scatter diagrams are the best way to present. Scatter diagrams present the relationship between two variables and illustrate the results on a Cartesian plane. Then, further analysis, such as trend analysis can be performed on the values.

In these diagrams, one variable denotes one axis and another variable denotes the other axis.



Control Charts


Control chart is the best tool for monitoring the performance of a process. These types of charts can be used for monitoring any processes related to function of the organization.


These charts allow you to identify the following conditions related to the process that has been monitored.


·                    Stability of the process

·                    Predictability of the process

·                    Identification of common cause of variation

·                    Special conditions where the monitoring party needs to react



Pareto Charts


Pareto charts are used for identifying a set of priorities. You can chart any number of issues/variables related to a specific concern and record the number of occurrences.


This way you can figure out the parameters that have the highest impact on the specific concern. This helps you to work on the propriety issues in order to get the condition under control.


Above seven basic quality tools help you to address different concerns in an organization.


Therefore, use of such tools should be a basic practice in the organization in order to enhance the efficiency.


Trainings on these tools should be included in the organizational orientation program, so all the staff members get to learn these basic tools.


Most of the organizations use quality tools for various purposes related to controlling and assuring quality.


Although there are a good number of quality tools specific to certain domains, fields and practices, some of the quality tools can be used across such domains. These quality tools are quite generic and can be applied to any condition.


There are seven basic quality tools used in organizations. These tools can provide much information about problems in the organization assisting to derive solutions for the same.


A number of these quality tools come with a price tag. A brief training, mostly a self-training, is sufficient for someone to start using the tools.


Let's have a look at the seven basic quality tools in brief.

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