Chapter 15. Tools and Techniques: An Overview

B. G. Dale


To support, develop and advance a process of continuous improvement it is necessary for an organization to use a selection of tools and techniques. Some of these tools and techniques are simple (sometimes deceptively so), while others are more complex. There are a considerable number of tools and techniques; the following are perhaps the most popular and best known:

  • Checklists

  • Flowcharts

  • The seven quality control tools (QC7: cause-and-effect diagram, check sheet, control chart, graphs, histogram, Pareto diagram and scatter diagram)

  • Quality costing

  • Statistical process control

  • Failure mode and effects analysis

  • Fault tree analysis

  • Design of experiments

  • Quality function deployment

  • The seven management tools (M7: affinity diagrams, relations diagrams, systematic diagrams, matrix diagrams, matrix data analysis, process decision programme chart, and arrow diagrams)

  • Departmental purpose analysis

  • Mistake-proofing

  • Benchmarking

  • Total productive maintenance

  • Housekeeping

Tools and techniques have different roles to play in continuous improvement and if applied correctly give repeatable and reliable results. Their roles include:

  • Summarizing data and organizing its presentation

  • Data-collection and structuring ideas

  • Identifying relationships

  • Discovering and understanding a problem

  • Implementing actions

  • Finding and removing the causes of the problem

  • Selecting problems for improvement and assisting with the setting of priorities

  • Monitoring and maintaining ...

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