Flowcharts can be useful to identify activities in a process that reduce our

# Flowcharts can be useful to identify activities in a

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are actually performed Flowcharts are useful for this purpose. Flowcharts can be useful to identify activities in a process that reduce our effectiveness and efficiency. For example, some activities may be redundant or repeated, others may be unnecessary. Activities may be performed in sequence, when they could be conducted at the same time to reduce the overall time for the process. Flowcharts can be used to identify conditions that cause delays and bottlenecks. This can bring focus to problems at various points within the process that need further evaluation and improvement.
(Click on chart to see a lager version) Pareto Diagram There may be many causes for problems or conditions that adversely affect work processes. A pareto diagram is a type of bar chart in which the bars representing each problem cause are arranged, or ranked, by their frequency in descending order. A Pareto diagram is useful in interpreting data and confirming the relationships that are suggested in cause-and-effect studies. This approach is based on the idea that 80% of the problem comes from 20% of the causes; the diagram is used to separate the "vital few" problem causes from the "trivial many". This aids in focusing on correcting or improving the vital few causes that contribute most to the problem. How to Construct a Pareto Diagram Step 1: Decide on the problem, type of data needed and cause categories (see Cause-and- Effect diagram).
Step 2: Collect or obtain data. Step 3: Order the causes or categories. Step 4: Calculate the cumulative total and the percentage of the total for each cause in a cumulative percent table. Step 5: Draw and label the horizontal, or x axis, including an interval for each cause. Step 6: Draw, scale and label the vertical (y) axis on the left side of the diagram. Mark the y axis from 0 through the cumulative total. Draw and label the vertical axis on the right side of the diagram. Mark this axis from 0 to 100% percent, corresponding to the cumulative total. Step 7: Draw the vertical bars for each cause, in the order of the highest to lowest frequency (from left to right). The width of each bar should be the same. Step 8: Plot a point at the center of each bar equal to the cumulative totals, until the total adds up to 100%. Add a zero point at the left side of the first bar. Connect the points with straight lines. Step 9: Title the diagram to describe the nature of the observations and the time frame in which the data was collected. The figure below shows an example of a Pareto Chart. In this case an ambulance company wanted to identify the leading causes of incomplete data on run reports. Company managers found that about 35% (using the cumulative scale on the right) of the incomplete forms were missing the patient's zip code. Further, 35% of the missing data sheets showed that the ID of other responding agencies was missing. These two data elements accounted for 70% of all run reports with missing data. With this information, managers can work with field personnel to identify potential solutions. The benefit of the

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• Spring '14
• DerekL.Liston
• The American, Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award