Ishikawa Diagram

Also called Fishbone diagrams

How to make Lean practical with an Ishikawa (Fishbone) diagram? The term “practical” has a few synonyms, such as “efficient”, “convenient”, “applied” and “usable”. Lean is indeed also nice and practical, in other words, you can get away with it in practice. You can apply Lean to a lot of situations, both at work and at home.

Lean‘s theory and philosophy focuses on the added value of the customer. Based on the customer value, we look at how we can best design our processes. It is also a question of ‘ordinary peasantry’. You learn to actually live through philosophy over the years.

Apply directly

The other side of Lean, the practical side, can actually be applied immediately.

An example: Suppose you are at work and your colleagues often tell you that they cannot find certain things quickly. These are tangible things such as tools, office supplies or crockery. (or much less tangible things like documents on the server..) Then the problem seems solved the moment the viewfind exclaims “found!”. But is it? Of course, you can also ask yourself why these particular things have to be looked at every time. Why isn’t there a permanent place? Why are stocks not replenished automatically? And why do the seekers always complain to you. (and wasting your working time)?

Zet je Leanbril op en zie de verspillingen

Put on your Lean glasses!

You could use Lean in a very practical way here and make a cause analysis with your Lean glasses  on, for example, by drawing up an Ishikawa diagram. That sounds decent and complicated, but is nothing but a large piece of paper on which you and your colleagues will look for the cause of the problems. Then you walk through the following steps:
  • Create all post it’s that describe possible causes (brainstorming).
  • Group what belongs together
  • Then you’re going to ask it on every post why that’s a cause, in other words, what’s behind it? Asking for it up to 5 times ensures that you get closer and closer to the source of the misery.

Of course that takes some tact and practice and that…. Yes, exactly, you can learn that from us and practice it live and put it into practice under the guidance of one of our Black Belts. Do you also want to get started with Lean practically and immediately achieve results? Check out our training courses here.


Kaoru Ishikawa Quote

How does a Fishbone diagram works?

Kaoru Ishikawa (1915-1989) was a Japanese professor, advisor and important driving force behind innovative developments in the field of quality management. Kaoru Ishikawa is best known for developing the Fishbone diagram, also called Ishikawa diagram.
Fishbone diagrams are usually created during a meeting or meeting and drawn on a flipchart or whiteboard. Once an issue is identified that needs further investigation, teams can take the following steps to create the diagram:
  • The head of the fish is created by listing the problem in a statement format and drawing a frame around it (see example).
  • A horizontal arrow is then drawn over the page with an arrow pointing to the head, which acts as the spine of the fish.
  • Subsequently, at least four overarching cause categories are identified that can contribute to the problem. A number of generic categories to start are: methods, skills, equipment, people, materials, environment or measurements. These causes are then drawn to branch off with arrows of the spine, forming the first bones of the fish. For each overarching cause, team members will brainstorm about supporting information that can contribute to this. These contributing factors are written down to break down their corresponding cause.
  • This process of aborting each cause continues until the root causes of the problem are identified. The team then analyzes the chart to match the result and the next steps.

We used the following six categories for the Fishbone diagram above:
People: Everyone involved in the process.
Methods: How is the process carried out and what requirements are set? (rules, procedures, regulations, laws, etc.).
Machines: Equipment needed to perform the task.
Materials: All materials and parts used to create the product.
Measurements: Data generated from the process to analyze quality.
Environment: How does the environment affect? The environmental conditions involved in the process. Think of place, time, season, temperature, culture, work ethic etc.

Create the Fishbone diagram yourself

Do you also want to make a cause analysis yourself? We can definitely recommend the fishbone diagram for this. Why choose the Ishikawa diagram?
  • With the diagram you can easily make a cause analysis clear.
  • This cause analysis tool is considered one of the seven basic quality tools in the analysis phase of DMAIC.
  • The Fishbone diagram identifies many possible causes for an effect or problem.
  • It can be used to structure a brainstorming session.
  • It sorts ideas directly into actionable categories.
Click here to download an Ishikawa diagram example, with which you can get started right away.