What is a Cause and effect Chart? How to Build a Cause and effect Chart?

Cause and effect chart is a tool to help businesses identify the root causes of problems and solve them thoroughly. How to build a cause-and-effect diagram? How does this diagram work? Let's learn with Viindoo how to apply the cause-and-effect diagram through the following article.

What is a cause and effect chart?

Cause and effect chart (also known as a fishbone diagram) is an organized logic diagram that identifies the root causes of problems or shows relationships among them. These causes can be classified into six main groups of Machine, Material, Manpower, Environment, Measurement and Method.

The cause and effect diagram was created by a Japanese scientist named Kaoru Ishikawa. He built this diagram while he was working at Kawasaki Heavy Industries. This diagram has a simple design and closely resembles a fish skeleton.

Cause and effect chart is typically used in the early stages of workflow improvement. Problems are written down at one end, and businesses often identify linkages around these problems to find the causes and fill in the branches of the diagram.

cause and effect chart

cause and effect chart

The causes of fishbone diagrams can be classified into six main groups.

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Why should we use Cause and Effect Diagram?

Cause-and-effect chart is a hugely valuable tool for businesses in uncovering the root causes of a problem. This chart can bring a lot of benefits to the whole process. When businesses have a clearer view of the causes of a problem, they can take corrective and preventive measures against the problem more effectively.

From marketing and finance sector, almost every business is using this diagram to improve their workflow. One important thing to remember is that improvement measures should always focus on the customer, as they are the ones who bring success to the whole business.

Cause and effect diagram

Cause and effect diagram

Solutions for the problem should always focus on the customer's interests.

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What to be included in the cause-and-effect diagram

In the cause and effect or fishbone diagram, the problems will be placed on the right side of the diagram, and the causes of the problem will be placed in the branches on the left side. These causes will be divided into 6 main groups, including:

  • Mechanical causes: The problem stems from the failure of the machinery due to lack of maintenance or improper maintenance.
  • Material causes: Material issue leads to problems in the workflow. The causes might be substandard materials, out of specifications or simply because of the incorrect weight.
  • Manpower causes: The problem occurs when staff are incompetent, which might results from hasty personality, or employees’ disinterested working attitude.
  • Natural causes: The problem arises because of environmental factors and factors inside and outside the business. For example, high temperature and high humidity can cause equipment corrosion, high pollution, unstable weather or inconvenient environment.
  • Measurement causes: Inaccurate metrics and standards for process measurement and control are the root for this, which leads to potential problems in the production process.
  • Methodological causes: Inefficient business methods are also a cause of problems. It may be that the company is not too focused on training, so the employees are incompetent or the company is too dependent on machines.

Fishbone Diagram

Fishbone Diagram

The causes of the problem will be placed in the branches on the left side of the diagram.

How to build an Ishikawa chart

To be able to build a fishbone chart, businesses can follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Determine what the problem is.
  • Step 2: Create a diagram by drawing a line, the right end of the line will be the problem to be solved and the left part of the line will be branched like a fishbone.
  • Step 3: After confirming the problem, collect full information about the problem including its correlations.
  • Step 4: Set up a multidisciplinary team of members from different departments of the company so that they can assist in filling out the cause-and-effect diagram. These members will be in charge of researching the relationships of the problem and together choosing the cause.
  • Step 5: Research and prioritize the causes in the diagram.
  • Step 6: Devise solutions for the causes listed on the diagram.

Cause and effect chart

Cause and effect chart

The causes listed will be studied and prioritized to fill in the branches of the diagram.

The content of the above article has provided full information about the cause and effect chart as well as how to apply this diagram to the workflow. Viindoo hopes this chart will help businesses improve business performance and thrive. 

What is a Cause and effect Chart? How to Build a Cause and effect Chart?
Viindoo Technology Joint Stock Company, Amber Nguyen March 16, 2023

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