ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ishikawa Fishbone Diagram; Cause and Effect; Continuous Process Improvement

Updated on January 19, 2015
LeanMan profile image

I am a trainer and consultant in lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, quality management, and business management.

Continual Process Improvement Using Ishikawa Diagrams

The Fishbone diagram, Ishikawa diagram or even Cause and Effect diagram is an effective tool to help you visualize what is happening within a process and thus analyze data and help direct your team towards a solution to a problem.

No business can survive long term unless it improves over time, this is best done as a planned program of continuous process improvement with data collection, data analysis then solution selection and implementation.

The Ishikawa Diagram or fishbone Diagram as it is often known due to its resemblance to said skeletal arrangement uses its structure to organize your data under specific related topics helping you to better understand how things are related and help you to identify cause and effect.

This and other quality tools will help you to drive continuous process improvement within your organization, improve your profits and grow your business.


Continuous Process Improvement Fishbone Diagram

Ishikawa Diagram, Quality Tools
Ishikawa Diagram, Quality Tools | Source

Why Fishbone Diagram or Ishikawa Diagram

The fishbone diagram was invented by Kaoru Ishikawa to try to organize problems solving teams thinking, hence the name Ishikawa diagram after its inventor. The name Fishbone diagram of course being derived from its resemblance to the skeleton of a fish.

The Ishikawa or Fishbone diagram is a very effective tool for continuous process improvement that allows you to analyze and visualize a large amount of information.

Ishikawa Diagram Example

Fishbone Diagram Example
Fishbone Diagram Example | Source

Cause and Effect Diagram

Cause and Effect
Cause and Effect | Source

Cause and Effect

The main aim of the use of the Ishikawa Diagram is to identify and organize the potential causes of an effect. For example you may have conducted your data collection on your factory floor and found that the biggest reason for rejects in your molding shop is “short shots” of material. This Effect then is placed at the head of your fishbone diagram as the effect that your looking for potential causes for. The “bones” coming from each direction on the spine of the fishbone are where you organize your potential causes.

The potential causes normally being generated through a brainstorming exercise either directly onto the diagram or as a separate exercise that is then organized within the Fishbone Diagram framework.

4Ms, 5Ms, 6Ms

The bones coming from the main spine of the Ishikawa Diagram are usual named according to the 4, 5 or 6 Ms, depending on the complexity of the problem or the process that you are looking to improve.

The Four Ms are:

Manpower, the causes that can be attributed to the people working on the process, so things such as training would be placed on this arm of the diagram.

Methods, what is it about how we conduct the operation that can cause the effect that we are trying to solve such as machine setup process used.

Machines, the causes due to the machines or the equipment in the process, maybe you have more than one machine used for the process.

Materials, potential causes due to the materials used, such as the difference between two suppliers of the same material.

The 5th and 6th Ms are usually;

Mother Nature or the “M-vironment”, causes that are related to your surroundings such as external temperature or humidity.

Measurement or Metrics, Do we have causes that are more related to how we measure the process?

Cause and Effect Video

Analysis of your Fishbone or Ishikawa Diagram

A brainstorming session to generate potential causes can come up with many potential causes of the effect in question. The team has to then analyze the potential causes to decide where to focus their attention.

The first stage is to highlight those that causes that are likely to be the main contributing factors, an easy way to do this is rate each cause, depending on how detailed you want to be this can be as simple as hot, warm or cold or rating from 1 to 10. Myself I prefer just to use hot, warm or cold, you can spend too much time arguing over whether it is a 3 or a 4 rather than getting on with resolving the issues.

The next stage is to look at the remaining “hot” causes and define actions to resolve them; these actions can then be rated against both their ease of implementation and the expense of implementation. The team first implementing those actions that are both easy and inexpensive!

The fishbone diagram and the data can be revisited on a regular basis as time passes to see how actions taken affect the problem in question. Thus you can drive continuous process improvement.

Select and Implement your Improvements

Your analysis of your potential causes may direct you to one specific reason for the problem you are experiencing or it may point you at a whole handful or more reasons. The important thing however it to solve all of them so that your problem is removed.

However deciding how to solve your root cause may require you to undertake a whole new brainstorming and fish bone diagramming session; this time looking at different methods to solve the problem that you have highlighted rather than identifying the root cause.

Continuous Process Improvement Tools

Quality Tools Fishbone or Ishikawa Diagram
Quality Tools Fishbone or Ishikawa Diagram | Source

Continuous Process Improvement Using Fishbone or Ishikawa Diagrams

Your analysis of your Fishbone diagram will likely be based in some respects to data that you gather to either confirm or dismiss the potential causes that you have highlighted. You will need to use a host of other quality tools to help you with your data collection and analysis as well as managing the overall process.

On its own the ishikawa diagram is a powerful tool but with the other quality tools used correctly you can quickly highlight and solve the problems facing your business.

You can get more information about the other quality tools by reading the seven tools for quality. These all compliment your use of the Fishbone diagram.

Fishbone Video

Continuous Process Improvement Using Fishbone Video

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • LeanMan profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony 

      3 years ago from At the Gemba

      You are welcome Shirley, I hope you are not doing her assignment about fishbone for her!

    • profile image

      Shirley C. Perez 

      3 years ago

      Thanks for the great information, it is very helpful to us especillay that my daughter is asking me to make research on her report about causes and effect of fishbone diagram, so helpful.

    • MichaelGallinger profile image

      MichaelGallinger 

      6 years ago from Detroit, MI

      Nice share, a good read thanks!

    • martinyz profile image

      martinyz 

      6 years ago

      I agree. Fishbone diagram is an effective brainstorming tool. Great article.

    • LeanMan profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony 

      7 years ago from At the Gemba

      Thank your for your great comments Knowledge Speaks, the fishbone diagram is a favorite of mine for driving continuous process improvement in any company.

    • KnowledgeSpeaks profile image

      KnowledgeSpeaks 

      7 years ago from Oakland, CA

      Wow! This was great. I've never heard of the fishbone process, but it looks like a pretty powerful tool for identifying problems and working out the causes in a team/group setting. Then brainstorming solutions. Thanks for the detailed information!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)