Fishbone Diagram

Types of Fishbone Diagrams

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Types of Fishbone Diagrams

Fishbone Diagrams are a great Lean problem solving tool.  Identifying a problem is just the beginning. Soon after, you’ll need to identify the cause. There are many ways to do this and the Fishbone Diagram is one of them.

Simple as it may be, even the fishbone diagram has several different structures for different purposes. The key is to choose the one that best fits the problem you’re addressing.

What is a Fishbone Diagram?

The Fishbone Diagram is a tool used to show the causes and effects of a problem. Kauoru Ishikawa, a professor at The University of Tokyo, named it after himself. First, brainstorm possible causes of a problem. Then, narrow down the causes to find the main one and move towards a solution.

The name “Fishbone Diagram” comes from its resemblance to a fish skeleton. The symptom or effect is the head, and the potential causes branch out from the spine. Each branch is a category.

For each category, brainstorm specific things that could be causing the effect, or symptom (i.e. how the problem is showing up on the manufacturing floor).

Once you’ve added enough data to be helpful, dive into evaluating each one with a series of questions – Why’s.

This helps you narrow the possibilities to a list of most likely causes and test from there. Eventually, you’ll come up with the root cause. Along the way, you may also discover other issues or causes for other effects.

Resources to build a Fishbone Diagram

To create a Fishbone Diagram, you can use different tools and resources to make the process easier and more effective. Here are five different tools with links that can help you in creating a comprehensive Fishbone Diagram for problem-solving:

1. ASQ Fishbone Diagram Builder:

The American Society for Quality (ASQ) offers a user-friendly Fishbone Diagram builder tool. It simplifies the setup process by providing a template where you can input your data and categories directly. The tool allows you to customize the diagram according to your specific needs and download it for further analysis or sharing. You can access the ASQ Fishbone Diagram builder here.

2. Minitab Fishbone Builder:

Minitab is a popular statistical software widely used for quality improvement and data analysis. It provides a dedicated Fishbone Diagram tool within its suite of features. Minitab allows you to create and customize Fishbone Diagrams easily, enabling you to explore potential causes and analyze data efficiently. You can learn more about Minitab and its Fishbone Diagram capabilities here.

3. Visio Fishbone Builder:

Microsoft Visio is a versatile diagramming tool that offers a range of templates and shapes, including Fishbone Diagrams. Visio provides a user-friendly interface for constructing Fishbone Diagrams with different categories and branches. You can change the diagram to fit your problem-solving needs, making it great for showing cause-and-effect relationships. Learn more about Visio’s capabilities and Fishbone Diagram templates here.

4. Canva Fishbone Builder:

Canva is a free graphic design platform that offers a wide array of templates, including Fishbone Diagrams. It provides a straightforward and intuitive interface for creating visually appealing diagrams. With Canva, you can easily customize the colors, shapes, and text in your Fishbone Diagram to convey information effectively. You can access Canva’s Fishbone Diagram templates here.

5. Lucidchart Fishbone Builder:

Lucidchart is a cloud-based diagramming tool that offers an extensive collection of templates and shapes, including Fishbone Diagrams. With its drag-and-drop interface, you can create and customize Fishbone Diagrams seamlessly. Lucidchart also allows for collaboration and sharing, making it suitable for team-based problem-solving efforts. Explore Lucidchart’s Fishbone Diagram templates and features here.

These tools provide a range of options for developing Fishbone Diagrams, catering to different user preferences and requirements. Select the right tool, use its features to make a visually attractive and informative Fishbone Diagram for problem-solving in manufacturing.

How to do a Fishbone Analysis with these Diagrams

Fishbone diagrams, also known as Cause and Effect or kaoru Ishikawa diagrams, are powerful tools for conducting deep analysis of problems. These diagrams help organizations understand complex problems by identifying and exploring potential causes of a specific issue. Here’s how you can use fishbone diagrams for deep analysis and root cause analysis:

1. Visual Representation:

Fishbone diagrams provide a visual representation of cause-and-effect relationships. The diagram illustrates how different factors connect and impact the problem, aiding teams in better understanding the causes. This visual representation facilitates a holistic view of the problem and encourages comprehensive analysis.

2. Systematic Brainstorming:

Fishbone diagrams promote systematic brainstorming sessions to identify potential causes across different categories. Teams collaborate to generate ideas and explore all possible causes related to the problem. The diagram’s structure helps avoid missing any potential causes, promoting a detailed analysis of the problem.

3. Categorization of Causes:

Fishbone diagrams categorize potential causes into specific branches or categories, such as people, processes, materials, equipment, and environment. This categorization helps organize the causes, making it easier to identify patterns, trends, and relationships among different factors. It enables teams to delve deeper into each category, exploring its potential impact on the problem.

4. Root Cause Identification:

The primary objective of deep analysis using fishbone diagrams is to identify the root cause of the problem. Teams can find the main cause by evaluating each potential cause and asking “Why?” repeatedly to uncover the root cause. This rigorous examination ensures a comprehensive understanding of the problem and helps eliminate superficial or symptomatic causes.

5. Data-Driven Decision Making:

Deep analysis with fishbone diagrams involves gathering relevant data and evidence to support the identified causes. Teams analyze data, perform experiments, and conduct investigations to validate the potential causes and their impact on the problem. This data-driven approach ensures that we ground the analysis in evidence, leading to informed decision-making and effective problem resolution.

6. Continuous Improvement:

Fishbone diagrams are not just tools for problem analysis but also catalysts for continuous improvement. Through deep analysis, organizations can identify systemic issues, bottlenecks, or process inefficiencies that contribute to recurring problems. By addressing the root causes, organizations can implement sustainable solutions and drive continuous improvement efforts.

Existing types and Categories of Fishbone Diagrams

Below are 5 different Fishbone categories that can help you analyze data and problem solve within your organization.

1. 5M/1E (Standard Manufacturing) Fishbone Diagram

Manufacturing teams often use six categories in their Fishbone Diagrams: Machine, Methods, Measurements, Materials, Manpower, and Environment. It covers all the major aspects we come across in a manufacturing setting.

Fishbone Category 1: 5M/1E Fishbone Diagram

Here are a few more you may find helpful.

2. Simple Fishbone Diagrams:

This version doesn’t have any predetermined categories, so it is the most flexible. Rather than starting with the method, materials, etc. the team starts by thinking of their own categories. It leaves everything open to be specific to the topic at hand. That means any team could use it for any reason.

Fishbone Category 2: Simple Fishbone Diagram

3. The 4S Fishbone Diagram

A service organization commonly uses this, which includes categories like systems, surroundings, skills, and suppliers. The Fishbone Diagram can be useful in a factory’s internal services. It is especially helpful if you want to involve the whole facility in problem-solving.

Fishbone Category 3: 4S Fishbone Diagram

4. 8P Fishbone Diagram

The 8P Fishbone Diagram derives its name from its eight categories. These categories all start with the letter “P”. The categories are Price, processes, people, product, procedures, promotion, policies, and physical location. This is also popular in administrative functions and the service industry.

Fishbone Category 4: 8P Fishbone Diagram

5. Design of Experiments using a Fishbone Diagram

The Fishbone Diagram can also be a great tool to help in setting up a new experiment. You can use these categories to collect and arrange information about the factors in an experiment.

These categories include factors that you can control, factors that you cannot control, and factors that remain constant. We will keep certain things unchanged to ensure they do not impact the experiment. Additionally, we can block factors if they pose a problem. factors that have some affect on the experiment, but are not the main focal point).

Fishbone Category 5: Design of Experiments Fishbone Diagram

There are literally endless patterns you can use with a Fishbone Diagram. The goal is to choose the right one for your situation. Consider factors such as customization, time available, and categories of causes when thinking about your situation or pattern. Could they all fit into one of the established patterns or do you need to create something new?

Tips on leading a brainstorm:

One of the most critical parts of using the Fishbone Diagram is your team’s ability to brainstorm. To help you get that started on the right foot, here are a few tips you might find helpful.

  1. Give people multiple ways to contribute, such as sticky notes on a board or brainstorming in small groups first.
  2. Give people time to prepare before they arrive. Think of it as priming their minds.
  3. Stick the “no idea is a bad idea” mantra. Rejecting one idea can discourage others from sharing ideas they are not completely sure about.
  4. Invite the right people to the brainstorm and don’t be afraid to think outside of the regular team.

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