Fishbone diagrams are useful for root cause analysis. Learn how to apply Fishbone diagrams to analyze the root cause of project issues. Fishbone diagrams are used in Six Sigma, lean, and process improvement techniques to identify root causes and communicate them with project teams. An example fishbone diagram is included to help learn the technique.
- Unfortunately, our company, H+ Sport, is having some problems. Overtime costs are up, they're losing track of inventory in the distribution center, and they're getting complaints from customers about late shipments. Let's see how a fishbone diagram can help us analyze what exactly is happening and then begin to understand why. We've defined the problem as being that we're not meeting our customers' expectations.
So now we can ask people, why do you think that's happening? Some folks think big problem is late shipments. Others pointed out the number of damaged shipments. And as we talked with more people, we also heard there were problems with not having enough variety, having a long order processing time, sending incomplete shipments, and with our costs being too high. All of these are potential drivers of the problem we're trying to address, that we're not meeting customer expectations.
You might notice that some of these drivers are actually competing issues. For example, our costs are too high, and this is driven in part by having too much inventory, but on the other hand, we have incomplete shipments and not enough variety, which are driven by not having enough inventory. The fishbone diagram is a great tool for helping people share their observations, and for showing issues that you can address in order to solve the problem.
You can make the fishbone by hand, with something like PowerPoint or with a graphics program, or you can just make copies of the one I've put in the exercise files for you. Okay, now think about a problem that you're tackling in your own projects. Try using the fishbone diagram technique to capture the root causes of the problem and see how it helps you clarify your own thinking and makes it easier to explain the problem to other people too.
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