Important decisions are made in today's business environment with a wide variety of topics and implications. Data or information about the decision can be expensive to obtain or not available. Decision-making tools have been developed and refined to aid in making good business decisions.
"The cause & effect diagram is the brainchild of Kaoru Ishikawa, who pioneered quality management processes in the Kawasaki shipyards and in the process, became one of the founding fathers of modern management". (http://www.skymark.com/resources/tools/cause.asp)The cause and effect diagram sometimes referred to as a fish bone diagram is a valuable tool in decision-making. The chart resembles a fish skeleton with many branches joining a central stem. This type of chart and analysis is valuable because of several important reasons. The first value is that the information gathered to produce the chart comes from experts in the area being evaluated. The questions asked on the topic are worded and facilitated in such a way as to dig deep to find the root cause of the problem or situation.
A general rule of thumb is to ask why five times until the potential answers are exhausted and no other information can be supplied.
Another aspect of this tool is the categories that can be used. The problem at hand is at the head of the chart and all categories that influence the problem are listed. For example if the chart is being used to evaluate a production related problem in a manufacturing plant some typical categories could be people, machines, management and materials. "Causes in a cause & effect diagram are frequently arranged into four major categories. While these categories can be anything, you will often see:Ã¢ÂÂ¢manpower, methods, materials, and machinery (recommended for manufacturing)Ã¢ÂÂ¢equipment, policies, procedures, and people (recommended for administration and service).
These guidelines can be...