America has the difficult task to compete within a world market. In this task we have to take into account the fact that we are basically competing at a disadvantage. This world market we compete in lies on a different place on the societal developmental time line. Where at one time we were the land of cheap labor, no benefits and very little employee regulation. This was secondary to our national infancy and the influx of immigrants during our early industrial period. Now we are in a different place. We are a mature workforce that will not tolerate any relaxation of wages, benefits or reduction in protective regulations. How does a mature workforce cope in this situation? The answer is simple, increase efficiency, quality and innovate whenever possible. The enabling factor to do this is through continuous process innovation. This has brought the US work force through various quality programs, TQM, Zero defects and a myriad of others. They have fell by the wayside as being too difficult to maintain, flavor of the month or just abandoned for lack of understanding. Six-Sigma has been the quality program to last the longest.
The Evolution of Quality Control Tools
The tool kit to assist in this new method is considered the Seven Quality Control Management Tools. They are as follows: (Pzydek, 2009)
1)The Affinity Diagram
2)The Tree Diagram
3)The Process Decision Program Chart
4)The Matrix Diagram
5)The Interrelationship Diagraph
7)Activity (Arrow) Network Diagram
The Affinity Diagram
The Affinity Diagram (AD) was first created by Japanese anthropologist Jiro Kawakita. It enables the user to gather up large amounts of disorganized data and organize it into groupings based on their relationship to each other. It is considered an “out of the box” diagram tool that encourages new patterns of thinking, (author unknown, 2009). It will help to focus people in this new thinking to create solutions or ideas (if you can define it you can control it). It can be used as a brainstorming tool.
The “Tree Diagram (TD) is a quality tool that allows the user to refine broad categories into smaller and smaller levels of detail. It is useful to develop your thinking in increments from generalities to specifics.
You would use the TD when you have a topic and need to run that topic down to the specifics (called “getting into the weeds”). This could be for a myriad of topics such as: 1)Developing actions
2)Analyzing processes in detail
3)Looking for problems or root causes
4)“War-gaming”, (evaluating implementation issues for potential solutions) 5)Normally follows an AD to work through preliminary issues 6)To communicate details
The Process Decision Program Chart
The Process Decision Program Chart (PDPC) is utilized to identify potential problems and possible countermeasures (contingencies) in a newly developed plan. It is more a technique with charts similar to affinity charts, but modeled after engineering reliability methods (i.e. Failure Mode, Effects and Criticality Analysis - FMECA). Like war-gaming, it is used to identify problems (failures) on projects, schedules. Potential solutions are developed to mitigate the identified problem/issue (Pyzdek, 2009). It is preferred that solutions are resolved in a proactive as opposed to a reactive posture, but they are established for the emergent/immediate as well. The plan element of the PDPC is the start of the technique. From the plan will be developed possible problems and from each problem will yield a set of countermeasures/contingencies for each problem. The team will then be able to “war-game” different “plan-problem-solution” scenarios testing each one for primary, secondary and tertiary effects on the overall plan and schedule.
Matrix Diagrams (MD) have the ability to allow the user to compare (and rate) two or more selected courses of...