How to Create a Cause and Effect Analysis for a Six Sigma Initiative
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Process Intelligence Tools for Six Sigma

Use Total Quality Management for Business Efficiency

One part of measuring and implementing any business efficiency plan is quality. Total Quality Management, or TQM, shines the spotlight on quality. In a TQM organization, every product, marketing piece, customer interaction, and process needs to be of the highest-possible quality, and anything causing a process to fall short of that benchmark is an inefficiency.

To work backwards from a quality issue and determine the root causes:

  1. Think of a quality problem in a process that you use every day.

    Choose something that takes too long, occasionally fails, or delivers faulty products.

  2. Write a statement or brief explanation of what this process does.

    For example, you can say, “Customers drop off the website and give up trying to place orders because the page takes too long to load.”

  3. Create a flowchart of the process.

    Usually this flowchart follows the Value Stream Mapping process. Sometimes, just a picture of the process suggests ways for improving it. The process flowchart should use one “box” for each significant step in the process; this setup alone may point out possible bottlenecks.

  4. Write down the problems with the process, both large and small.

    State each problem and its undesirable result. For example, the biggest problem is a slow web page (the problem) that causes customers to give up (the undesirable result).

  5. Investigate the potential causes of the problem.

    Use a fishbone diagram to identify the various inputs to the process. Identify several likely causes you can investigate further. The example chart for the web page would place “slow web page” at the head and each “fish bone” would identify the various parts of the process.

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