Fishbone Root Cause Diagram

Fishbone root cause analysis diagram (also known as Ishikawa diagram) is used to identify key root causes for issues affecting certain aspects of your business. It categorizes root causes into categories, which make sense to your situation. However, often People, Machines (Technology), Procedures, Processes are used as categories for the root cause analysis. Fishbone is really what the root cause diagram looks like with issues in the head of the diagram. This analysis is often used in the A stage of the Lean Six Sigma DMAIC approach.

Process Map

Process Map – Process Map Analysis – Process Map Framework – Process Map Business Methodology – Process Mapping is a tool to documenting business processes and is an effective way to think about the inefficiencies associated with each process step. Process mapping is used as part of the Lean Six Sigma toolkit. There may be few process levels with Level 1 usually representing the high level view, level 2 is more detailed with level 3 focusing on procedural.

Key process map symbols include boxes, which represent steps and procedures, diamonds are decision points.
Below sample image is an examples of a Process Map used in business management with legend and explanations on what each symbol means.

process map

5S Kaizen Framework

5S – Kaizen 5S – 5S Analysis – Five S – 5S Framework – 5S Business Methodology – 5S model is an approach to solving business problems. Below sample images are examples of 5S used in business management.

5S is a Lean Six Sigma structured method to getting a workplace cleaned up (eliminating waste), organized, standardized and then sustaining the improvements made. Five S name is based on the five Japanese words starting with S. Below is the image of this framework and key benefits of 5S model.



5 Why Analysis

5 Why – 5 Why Analysis – Five Why – 5 Why Framework – 5 Why Business Methodology – 5 Why model is one of the fundamental lean six sigma frameworks and is essential in looking for the root cause of waste and business challenges.

Level after level, 5 WHYs are meant to unpeal symptoms to get to the root cause of an issue. The limit is placed on a number five because looking beyond may not be as viable and will probably go as far as a psychological issues of the business owners; Lean recognizes that psychology is not its competence 🙂 and that the focus is to be at a business level. Below sample images are examples of 5 Why-s used in business management.

5 why analysis

Bullwhip Effect

Bullwhip Effect – Bullwhip Effect Analysis – Bullwhip Effect Framework – Bullwhip Effect Business Methodology – Bullwhip Effect is one of the recongnized recurring issues whereby a sudden spike or a decline in demand from a customer results in much bigger effect on the supply chain.

The longer the supply chain, the more pronounced is the effect with potentially huge variations and volatility for producers of raw materials. Understanding of this effect should limit managers mistakes when it comes to overproduction, ordering of goods and meeting customer demand. Below sample images are examples of Bullwhip Effect.

bullwhip effect

Kaizen Continuous Improvement

Kaizen – Kaizen Analysis – Continuous Improvement – Kaizen Framework – Kaizen Business Methodology – Kaizen model is a lean approach to continuous improvement of business processes and is at the heart of the Lean Six Sigma philosophy.

Kaizen worldview or mind frame is meant to be a continuous cycle consisting of the following stages: make problems visible, develop countermeasures, determine root cause of the business issues, hypothesize solution, test hypothesis, implement solution, standardize work. Below sample images are examples of Kaizen used in business management.


Project Cycle

Project Cycle – Project Cycle Analysis – Lean Project Cycle – Project Stages – Project Cycle Framework – Project Cycle Business Methodology – Project Cycle model developed as part of Lean methodology and is one of the top business frameworks to structure a lean six sigma project.

Project stages are as follows: Request, Scoping, Planning, Training, Redesign, Implementation, Review and Feedback. Below sample images are examples of Project Cycle used for lean project management.

project cycle


Sipoc – Sipoc Analysis – Sipoc Framework – Sipoc Business Methodology – SIPOC model is high level view of the process that specifies who the suppliers and customers are, what are the inputs and outputs and what is the high level process. Sipoc is one of the key Lean Six Sigma tools.

SIPOC is quick way to document a business process and ultimately be able to resolve a business issue. Below sample images are examples of sipoc used in business management.


Lean Eight Wastes

8 Wastes – Lean Eight Wastes – 8 Wastes Analysis – 8 Wastes Framework – 8 Wastes Business Methodology – 8 Wastes model also known as seven wastes or eight wastes of lean is one of the top Lean Six Sigma business frameworks aimed at establishing various inefficiencies within an organization.

There were 7 wastes in the lean methodology originally however an 8th waste, namely the waste of human intellect, was added to recognize the importance of human beings and their creativity in the business process. Below sample images are examples of 8 Wastes used in business management.

8 wastes

Cost Of Poor Quality COPQ

Cost Of Poor Quality – COPQ = Cost Of Poor Quality Analysis – Cost Of Poor Quality Framework – Cost Of Poor Quality Business Methodology – Cost Of Poor Quality model is a Lean framework stating that organizations only see symptoms of poor quality such as rework, scrap and rejects. However, what they do not see is that poor quality affects sales, results in longer cycle times and affects many other business aspects.

The classic depiction of COPQ is an iceberg with only a small portion of the symptoms visible above the surface. COPQ is a Lean Six Sigma approach to solving business problems. Below sample images are examples of Cost Of Poor Quality used in business management.

cost of poor quality

Value Stream Map

Value Stream Map – Value stream map is a lean tool used to depict end-to-end process that a product or a service goes through from initial placement of the order to completion in the hands of the customer. This is often used to analyze the current state processes and design the future state process. Value stream mapping is used in manufacturing, service industries such as financial industry, logistics, healthcare, software and product development, etc. Value stream maps usually have standard symbols to depict activities.

The proper value stream map should separate value-adding processes from the non-value add activities. Another way to separate is by the type of activities, e.g. information flow vs. materials flow. Lead time is usually represented at the bottom of the value stream map to represent the total elapsed time for the order to get to the customer. Note, lead times are viewed from customer perspective and are usually longer than cycle times or internal processing times (e.g. lead time would include time in transit). Value stream maps show value adding times and non value adding times. Time spent on non-value add activities is waste (also known as muda in Lean methodology).

Just in Time Diagram

Just in time – JIT – The just-in-time concept is one of the Lean tools and is essentially an inventory strategy that prescribes receiving goods only when they are needed thus reducing waste, inventory costs and decreasing capital needed to run the business. In addition, having low inventory can be viewed as more flexible, i.e. if a product does not sell well, you can always switch to something else (both in terms of finished goods and raw materials).

One obvious disadvantage of JIT, it is hard to predict demand and hence sometimes customers will demand products that you have no inventory off, thus decreasing your revenues and creating a client irritant. Nevertheless, adopting the just-in-time strategy can potentially create a cost and efficiency advantage for a business. The just in time diagram below identifies some of the key areas where just in time strategy may be applied.

Control Chart

Control chart is a chart used to show how a process changes over time with data plotted in time order and relevant measure value on the y-axis. It is one of the 7 basic tools of quality, originally developed by Walter Shewhart. It is often used to determine whether a process needs to go through a formal review and whether everything is within the norm. If there were changes to the process, it will show how the new outputs compare to the historic norms. So let’s explain how control charts work.

Data measurements are plotted against time. A control chart has a central line for the average, a lower line for the lower control limit and an upper line for the upper control limit. These are established from historical data. One can track process outputs and variations by checking current indicators against historical limits. If variation is normal (i.e. within limits) than the process is in control, otherwise the process is out of control and may be affected by the so-called special causes.

Control Chart Example



DMAIC is a Lean Six Sigma methodology that is used in reviewing and analyzing processes to come up with various process improvement tactics. DMAIC is an acronym that stands for the five phases of the approach: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control.

In the Define stage of dmaic, the project would be officially launched, the main business problem identified, project team established and project activities planned (e.g. project charter and project plan developed). In the Measure stage, the team would document the process, collect data (e.g measuring cycle time) and narrow project focus. In the Analysis stage of the DMAIC, project team is to analyze data, identify root causes (e.g. using Ishikawa diagram) and waste (see 8 wastes). In the Improve phase, one would develop recommendations for process improvement, evaluate and prioritize solutions (e.g. develop an implementation roadmap), and conduct a pilot. In the final stage of the DMAIC method, one would implement, control the process and validate project benefits.

Process Management

Process Management – Business Process Management – BPM – Process Management Diagram – Business Process Management model is a stream within business management that focuses on the management of company’s processes. Essentially, BPM views a business through the eyes of the process, i.e. all activities are processes in one way or another.

Process Management is about active control of the business activities and involves process mapping, KPI and metrics identification, end-to-end view and oversight. The key process management steps include process design, process implementation, process enactment and diagnosis (analysis)

process management

Kaizen A3 Tool

Kaizen A3 – Kaizen A3 Analysis – Kaizen One Page Problem Solving Tool – Kaizen problem solving tool – Kaizen template – Kaizen A3 Framework – Kaizen A3 is a lean six sigma problem solving tool, which allows to quickly identify the problem, analyze the issues and provide recommendations and action plan with identified owners.

This Lean Six Sigma A3 method was designed as a workshop tool, allowing a work group to stay focused on the problem. Usually, within a span of a day, often within 3 hours, a team can work through a difficult problem and come up with an actionable list of recommendations. All of this fits into 1 page, hence the name – A3.

kaizen a3

7 Wastes

7 Wastes – Seven Wastes – 7 Wastes of Lean – This lean six sigma methodology (also known as 8 wastes) helps identify waste and other types of issues in the workplace. The 7 wastes framework includes defects, transportation, inventory, overprocessing, movement, overproduction and waiting.

Defects are wasted products completed not right the first time around. Inventory and overproduction are excessive quantities of raw materials or finished products. Transportation and movement are unnecessary movement of things or people. Overprocessing is making the product beyond customer expectations and waiting is simply waiting for materials, preventing timely completion of products. 7 Wastes Analysis – 7 Wastes Framework

7 wastes