What is a Histogram?

A Histogram is a vertical bar chart that depicts the distribution of a set of data. Unlike Run Charts or Control Charts, which are discussed in other modules, a Histogram does not reflect process performance over time. It's helpful to think of a Histogram as being like a snapshot, while a Run Chart or Control Chart is more like a movie (Viewgraph 1).

When should we use a Histogram?

When you are unsure what to do with a large set of measurements presented in a table, you can use a Histogram to organize and display the data in a more userfriendly format. A Histogram will make it easy to see where the majority of values falls in a measurement scale, and how much variation there is. It is helpful to construct a Histogram when you want to do the following (Viewgraph 2): ! Sum m arize large data sets graphically. When you look at Viewgraph 6, you can see that a set of data presented in a table isn’t easy to use. You can make it much easier to understand by summarizing it on a tally sheet (Viewgraph 7) and organizing it into a Histogram (Viewgraph 12). ! Com pare process results with specification lim its. If you add the process specification limits to your Histogram, you can determine quickly whether the current process was able to produce "good" products. Specification limits may take the form of length, weight, density, quantity of materials to be delivered, or whatever is important for the product of a given process. Viewgraph 14 shows a Histogram on which the specification limits, or "goalposts," have been superimposed. We’ll look more closely at the implications of specification limits when we discuss Histogram interpretation later in this module. ! Com m unicate inform ation graphically. The team members can easily see the values which occur most frequently. When you use a Histogram to summarize large data sets, or to compare measurements to specification limits, you are employing a powerful tool for communicating information. ! Use a tool to assist in decision m aking. As you will see as we move along through this module, certain shapes, sizes, and the spread of data have meanings that can help you in investigating problems and making decisions. But always bear in mind that if the data you have in hand aren’t recent, or you don’t know how the data were collected, it’s a waste of time trying to chart them. Measurements cannot be used for making decisions or predictions when they were produced by a process that is different from the current one, or were collected under unknown conditions.

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HISTOGRAM

Basic Tools for Process Im provem ent

What Is a Histogram?

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• A bar graph that shows the distribution of data • A snapshot of data taken from a process

HISTOGRAM

VIEWGRAPH 1

When Are Histograms Used?

• Summarize large data sets graphically • Compare measurements to specifications • Communicate information to the team • Assist in decision making

HISTOGRAM

VIEWGRAPH 2

HISTOGRAM

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Basic Tools for Process Im provem ent

What are the parts of a Histogram?

As you can see in Viewgraph 3, a Histogram is made up of five parts: 1. Title: The title briefly describes the information that is contained in the Histogram. 2. Horizontal or X-Axis: The horizontal or X-axis shows you the scale of values into which the measurements fit. These measurements are generally grouped into intervals to help you summarize large data sets. Individual data points are not displayed. 3. Bars: The bars have two important characteristics—height and width. The height represents the number of times the values within an interval occurred. The width represents the length of the interval covered by the bar. It is the same for all bars. 4. Vertical or Y-Axis: The vertical or Y-axis is the scale that shows you the number of times the values within an interval occurred. The number of times is also referred...