Quality is an indispensable aspect which should always possess a status no less than ‘Good’ and to achieve it in every working sphere, the approach required needs to be consistent and analytic in nature.

Quality control is a crucial segment of quality management which can’t be handed over to light hands to upgrade it. Instead of manual efforts, quality can be better driven by robust tools those are easily available today.

Such tools are built to serve the motive of their invention providing continuous improvement and progression which strictly adhere to the well-known quality process of PDCA-

  1. Plan
  2. Do
  3. Check
  4. Act

Take a close rundown to the metrics that meet the global quality demands in order to acquire the goal of structured organizational management providing a strong support to Quality Management Solutions.

7 primary tools for continuous improvement in quality

1. Pareto Charts (80/20 Rule)

The Pareto Chart is a bar chart that analyzes data in accordance with the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule named after an Italian researcher Vilfredo Pareto.
Essentially, the Pareto chart is a prioritization tool which has a purpose to focus on the issues that are causing the biggest problems or failures, and thus, minimizes their impact.
The mechanical view of Pareto Charts can be seen as a bar chart that displays data from various discrete categories where sole factors are showcased:

  • by a bar graph in descending order of their impact and
  • the cumulative total is shown by a line graph

“It is well said: Pareto Chart helps separate the vital few from the trivial many!”

Now, what does this mean?

As mentioned earlier, the chart follows the 80-20 rule, this underlines that in any business process, 80% of the problem is merely caused due to the remaining 20% of few major factors.

These causes are the Vital Few( 20% of issues) occurred by 80% of many minor factors named as Trivial Many.

quality control management

2. Histogram

An introduction by Karl Pearson, Histogram is a bar graph that represents the frequency distribution and displays the patterns that fall within typical process conditions.

Histogram’s purpose is:

  • to scrutinize the data complexity in its distribution and understand the held factors, repeating frequently.
    to help prioritize the causing factors and identify which areas need utmost heed.
  • A histogram’s shape shows the nature of the distribution of the data, as well as the average and variability and follows the below-written quote

“Changes in a process should trigger new collection of data.”

3. Stratification (Divide and Conquer)

“Stratification follows the Divide and Conquer phenomenon.”

Stratification bifurcates the data by dividing it into sub-categories and classifies the data set on the basis of:
Group
Class
Levels
Divisions

The predefined purpose of to stratify data is merely to derive meaningful and useful information giving a clear and understandable picture of an existing problem.

Take an example:

  • An employee’s late coming data for January that is unstratified:

5th Jan, 12th, 13th, 19th Jan, 21st, 26th, 27th

  • The same data fully structured, stratified and classified

Now you can well examine the clarity this management tool provides to a personnel handling the crucial quality-centric data in a company.

4. Check Sheets

Check sheets are like tally sheets that use metrics or table forms to gather and analyze data.

The Purpose it holds is to:

note down the vital points/events in a tabular format
maintain a balance while updating the status on their occurrence
analyze the development, defect patterns and causes for defects.

“In a way, a check sheet may help its operators to track the number of counts when a certain incident takes place.”

5. Control Charts (aka Shewhart chart)

Shewhart Chart named after Walter A. Shewhart, works on the collected data statistically, determining whether the internal process is under control and is robust enough to meet the customer defined specifications.

Control charts are popular and have a vast presence in Quality Control Techniques, where they play a vital role in defining process capability and variations in product developments.

The tool also helps in identifying how well the developments and proceedings are going concerning the customer’s desires and expectation.

Control Charts aim to:

  • Predict the process performance,
  • the diverse production patterns,
  • a process’s changes or shifts over a period of time (in accordance with the defined limits.)

6. Scatter Diagrams (Scatter Plots)

It is a statistical measuring metric that helps depict the relationship between variables.

Variables can be termed as dependent and independent variables those can be simply related to the arising difficulties or failures and the causes that affect them the most.

Purpose:

  • They particularly provide help in detecting the amount of correlation, or the degree of linear relationship, between the displayed variables.

A scatter plot consists of a horizontal axis containing the measured values of the dependent variable (generally, the causes) and a vertical axis representing the measurements of the dependent variable (that is, the effects).

7. Cause and Effect Diagrams (Fish-Bone Diagram)

Kaoru Ishikawa came up with this concept is also known by her name i.e. Ishikawa diagram.

As we are here to control the quality using varied tools, this diagram also helps identify the factors/causes leading to an effect/issue and derive a meaningful bond between them.

The purpose tagged with the fish-bone diagram is to dig all the root causes for being the reasons for the problems arising.

Once the leading factors are determined, the search doesn’t’ get a stop till the professionals digging the quality features find out the actual root cause.

The diagram that is drawn, resultingly, takes the shape of a fish spine involving multiple branches and sub-branches.

Final words to take away

No one wants to compromise with quality and its traits nor a business neither the consumer. Within an organization, there is a significant need to keep close checks on quality systems, tools, audits, deliverables etc.

Tools are generally used for problem-solving opportunities to draw semantic outcomes fulfilling their motive.

Quality Control tools help scrutinize and manage the quality initiatives which makes the deployed end-product customer-oriented getting remarkable user-experience.

About the Author:
Danish Wadhwa started his career as Business Developer, but after assisting many companies, he realized to start his own venture. Now, as MD & CEO of Webdew, he is sharing his inordinate amount of knowledge on quality management solutions, Cloud Computing, Digital marketing, Web designing and much more over social media.