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Check Sheets - Highly Productive Technique for Data Collection and Analysis

Updated on December 17, 2015
Collection of data and analysis vital for factual decision making.
Collection of data and analysis vital for factual decision making.


Modern day companies are increasingly converting themselves to process oriented businesses. Many use Enterprise resource planing (ERP) systems, and some companies relay on Data base management systems. Whichever the system they use to perform company processes, the success of the process is based on the accuracy of the data entered to such systems. Check Sheet is the fundamental tool or technique that is available to collect data accurately, summarize and analyze to find critical information that may be entered in the ERP systems. As there are no other mean of directly entering data of a production or service process except the use of scanners, check sheet is the only solution available to systematically collect data and enter into ERP systems.

Therefore, check sheet is one of the highly proven technique that is commonly used for data collection and analysis. Following types of Check sheets have been extensively used to collect data in different situations.

a. Production process distribution check sheets.
b. Defective item check sheets.
c. Defect Location check sheets.
d. Defect cause check sheets.
e. Check-up confirmation check sheets.

In addition, users can design their own check sheet to meet unique data collection requirements. However, one must be careful in defining the actual requirement of data, what parameters should measure, how to measure , duration of measurement, which production line or process. These factors are based on actual information requirement by the managers to take decisions, improve processes or in other words to manage the company in productively and profitably.

What is Check Sheet

The management faces with many kinds of problems in the day to day running of a business or an industry. For proper solution of such problems correct decisions have to be made. Decisions based on correct factual data rather than on mere opinions have proved to be correct most of the time.

If data is to be collected, it is essential to make the purpose clear and to have data, which clearly reflect the facts. It is also important that data is gathered in a simple way and in an easy-to-use form. A Check Sheet, which is a format used as an aid in assembling, compiling and analysing data, could be used in problem solving.

Further, check sheet is another simple and effective tool useful in Lean Six Sigma projects. It is sometimes referred to as a concentration diagram or location plot. It is a handy tool for both qualitative and quantitative data gathering and analysis. Check sheets help to systematically collect and organize data and is useful in the all phases of the Lean Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control) framework.

Data collection can often be an unstructured and messy exercise. A check sheet is a simple form you can use to collect data in an organized manner and easily convert it into readily useful information. Data collection is important, because it is the starting point for statistical analysis. The function of a check sheet is to present information in an efficient, graphical format.

A defining characteristic of a check sheet is that data is recorded by making marks ("checks") on it. The check marks show how many times each particular value occurs, with the information collected becoming increasingly helpful as more data are collected. Main applications of a check sheet include registering how often different problems occur and registering the frequency of incidents that are believed to cause problems.

Typical Defect Cause Check Sheet
Typical Defect Cause Check Sheet

Advantages of using check sheets

a. Effective way of displaying data.
b. Easy to use.
c. Can identify the root cause of a problem.
d. A first step in the construction of other graphical tools.
e. Provides a structure for uniform data collection.
f. Can be used to substantiate or refute allegations.

When to use the check sheets?

Using a check sheet is appropriate when the data can be observed and collected repeatedly by either the same person or the same location. It is also an effective tool when collecting data on frequency and identifying patterns of events, problems, defects, and defect location, and for identifying defect causes.

For an example, check sheets are used to collect data on products coming out from production line in a factory to identify the defects. Check sheet is designed to mark identified deferent defects in a particular product. The use has a simple task of observing or inspecting the product and mark the defects using check marks in the check sheet.

Check sheets also could be used for service oriented processes. For example, a check sheet could be designed to record different type of customer complaints reporting for a specific time period. Also, it can be designed to record difficulties encountered by customers in a shop or mall during retail shopping.

So , check sheets could be applied to different data collection requirements in various situations.

Typical product defects those could be identified using check sheets
Typical product defects those could be identified using check sheets

Types of Check Sheets

Production process distribution check sheets: Production process distribution check sheets are commonly used to identify the defects in the products coming out from production line or a process. This is a handy tool to collect data very easily. This type of check sheet could easily designed to record data so that when data recording is completed, it will present data in a pattern that allows us to identify defects in the production process. This type of check sheets provide vital information on a production process, such as number of defects, defect frequencies, variation of product specifications, quality of the production process and many more depending on the design of the check sheet.

Defective item check sheets: This type of check sheet is used to identify the frequency of different defects. This check sheet could be designed to use for a service oriented process as well.

Defect Location check sheets: Defect location check sheets are designed to identify the location of defects in a product coming out from a production process. Check sheet includes a diagram of the product where a user can mark the location of the check sheet. This type of check sheet also designed to use in a service oriented business , for an example, in a layout of a shopping mall to identify the areas where customers face difficult situations in receiving their services during different times, with different staff and changing environments.

Defect cause check sheets: This is a different type of check sheet from other types. This check sheet is designed to identify causes for defects. In this type of check sheets, it represent the pattern of data once it is filled so that user can straightaway identify the causes of defects. For an example, defect in a product could be a result of workmanship, materials, machines or methods of production, environment or any combination. Such details are included to record when check sheet is designed.

Check-up confirmation check sheets: Check-up confirmation check sheets are used to verify the completion of complex inspections, or a process. This type of check sheets are commonly used to identify the compliance of procedures, compliance of different steps in a production or service process.

From where you can Learn about Check Sheets?

A comprehensive training course on different types of check sheets, application of check sheets with detailed examples, and how to design your own check sheets is available at This course is very useful and suitable for managers in any industry and in any capacity, as this simple but highly effective tool/technique will definitely make you a highly productive decision maker and problem solver.

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