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Keshav Ram Singhal

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Write-up – 5

Understanding Statistical Tools and Techniques


A check sheet is an organized way of collecting and structuring data. This is a generic tool that can be used for a wide variety of purposes. With the use of this tool, we can collect the facts in a most efficient way. Data is collected and ordered (organized) by adding tally or check marks against predetermined categories of items or measurements. A check sheet simplifies the task of analysis.

A check sheet should be used:
- When data can be observed and collected repeatedly by a particular person or at a particular place
- When collecting data relates to frequency or pattern of events, problems, defects, defect location, defect causes etc.
- When collecting data relates to a particular production process

Following procedure will be useful:
- Define the event or problem to be observed
- Develop operational definitions
- Decide the time and duration of data collection
- Design the check sheet form in such a way that data can be recorded simply by marking check marks or Xs or other similar symbols. The design of check sheet form should make use of input from those who will actually use the check sheet.
- On the fixed time and duration, collect and record data on the check sheet.

A check sheet should be developed in such a way that it is easy to understand. A check sheet is a simple chart for gathering data. When check sheet is designed clearly and cleanly, it assist in gathering accurate and pertinent data, and also allow person concern to read and use data easily.

A check sheet can be kept electronically.

How you liked the write-up. Please post your comments. Thanks.


Write-up – 4

Understanding Statistical Tools and Techniques


Kaoru Ishikawa developed this analysis tool in 1943. This diagram is also known as ‘Ishikawa diagram’ or ‘Fishbone diagram’.

The cause and effect diagram organizes and displays the relationship between different causes for the effect that is being examined. It is a useful tool for opening up thinking in problem solving. It identifies many possible causes for an effect or a problem. This tool can be used to structure a brainstorming session. In fact, the cause and effect diagram helps in organizing the brainstorming process in a systematic way. This is a tool that sorts ideas into different categories.

This tool should be used when you wish to identify possible causes for a problem. Following procedure will be useful:

- Identify the problem on which you wish to draw cause and effect diagram
- Write the problem at the centre right of the writing-board. Draw a box around it and draw a left-side horizontal line running to it.
- Brainstorm the main categories of causes, factors or concerns related to the problem. If you feel difficulty in grouping major categories, then it is better to use generic headings, such as Methods, Machine (equipment), People (human resource), Material, Measurement and Environment. These are commonly identified causes of problems.
- Write the categories of the causes, factors or concerns of the problem as the branches from the main row
- Brainstorm all the possible causes, factors or concerns of the problem. Ask – “Why?”
- Write the generated idea as a branch from the appropriate category. Possible causes, factors or concerns can be written in several places, if they relate to several categories. Example – No internal audit organized in the organization as the trained internal auditor resigned two months back. It can be written along People as well as along measurement.
- Again ask – “Why?” question about each cause. Continue asking – “Why? Why? Why?” and in this way you can generate deeper levels of causes, factors or concerns related to the problem.
- When you are unable to find more ideas, then focus your attention to the diagram where ideas are less.

Brainstorming can be effectively used to generate causes and sub-causes. When completed cause and effect diagram looks like a tree-like structure that indicates many factors including causes and concerns of a problem.

In this way you can now evaluate different causes, factors and concerns to solve a problem.


The process is similar as mentioned above, however, in the diagram at the cause side two different coloured cards are used to indicate facts in one colour card and ideas on other colour card. Generally facts are written on the left side of the cause spines, whereas ideas for solving the problem or effect are written on the right side of the cause spines. Ideas are then evaluated and selected to solve the problem or concern.

How you liked the write-up. Please post your comments. Thanks.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Write-up – 3

Understanding Statistical Tools and Techniques


Brainstorming is an effective group technique, which can be used to generate a large number of ideas quickly. The generated ideas can provide solutions to a specified problem in a variety of situations. In the process of brainstorming, members of the group are encouraged to put forward their ideas concerning the problem. All ideas generated in the group are recorded for subsequent analysis.

Brainstorming cartoon – Courtesy www.socialsignal.com

Brainstorming process may be described as under:
- Identify a problem
- Call a brainstorming meeting of a group
- Ask each member of the group to put forward their ideas
- Record all ideas
- Identify areas of improvements
- Design solutions to the identified problem
- Develop an action plan to execute designed solutions

Brainstorming is generally used in conjunction with the cause and effect diagram tool. The cause and effect diagram identifies many possible causes for an effect or a problem. It can be used to structure a brainstorming session.

Brainstorming Image - Courtesy - www.mindspower.com

If you wish to generate a good number of ideas, then as convener of the brainstorming session, you should encourage all participants of the group to put forward their ideas. You should not criticize or make any adverse comments during the session. You should record all ideas. An openness of the convener will be able to bring out hidden ideas during the brainstorming session. A lot of good information and a number of ideas can be discovered, if the brainstorming team is a diverse and have experience in the identified problem area.

How you liked the write-up. Please post your comments. Thanks.

Thanks for the sources of Image and cartoon.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Write-up – 2
Understanding Statistical Tools and Techniques


‘DRIVE’ is a problem solving methodology. It is an approach to problem solving and analysis that can help an organization to improve its processes.

The full form of ‘DRIVE’ is ‘Define-Review-Identify-Verify-Execute’. Using this methodology requires following steps:

D – Define – You should define – (i) the scope of your problem, (ii) the success criteria measurements – including deliverables and success factors that you agree

R – Review – Review the current situation of the problem, understand the background of the problem, determine and collect information – performance data, problem areas, improvement options

I – Identify (determine) – Identify (determine) improvement options or solutions to the problem – What changes you need to improve your process so as to enable to rectify the problem

V- Verify – Verify (check) – Whether determined improvement options or solutions will bring those results that we defined as the success criteria measurements

E – Execute (implement) for solutions and improvement – Plan and execute improvement options or solutions, check the results.

We are a quoting a simple example using ‘DRIVE’ methodology. In a class, when result of first assessment test announced, the management was worried looking to the result that 50 percent students failed in Mathematics, while in other subject the result was 95 to 100 percent. The school management used the problem solving approach ‘DRIVE’.

Define – Scope of the problem – 50 percent students failed in Mathematics. Success criteria – 95 percent students should get good marks in Mathematics.

Review – Current situation – Students of the class are good in other subjects. They could not get good marks in Mathematics. Background – The mathematics teacher resigned in the month of July and the Mathematics class is taken by other subject teacher. There is a shortage of Mathematics subject teachers in the school. School requires three Mathematics subject teachers, while there are two only. Problem area – Recruitment process requires advertisement in local newspapers and then selection of qualified teacher. No action yet initiated. Improvement option – Immediate action to start recruitment process

Identify – Identify (determine) – the recruitment procedure with timeframe objective and also during the time gap outsource Mathematics teacher from other schools and also plan taking extra periods on Sunday with the help of two Mathematics teachers available in the school on payment of extra remuneration.

Verify – Verified shortage of teachers and found improvement options suitable to solving the problem.

Execute – The school management took immediate steps to contact nearby schools and one school agreed to depute their one Mathematics teacher for one month. Extra classes were organized on Sunday with the help of two teachers. Recruitment process started and within one month a new Mathematics teachers recruited.

Thus the school management is able to improve its processes by using a problem solving approach ‘DRIVE’.

How you liked the write-up. Please post your comments. Thanks.

Understanding Statistical Tools and Techniques

Write-up – 1

Understanding Statistical Tools and Techniques

Implementing an effective quality management system requires measurement, analysis and improvement. ISO 9001:2008 QMS Standard mentions requirements for analysis of data. There are a number of statistical tools and techniques available for monitoring, measuring, analyzing and improving the organization’s processes. We are starting a series of articles under the heading ‘Understanding Statistical Tools and Techniques’. Some of the tools and techniques are as under:

- Problem solving approach ‘DRIVE’
- Brainstorming
- Cause and effect diagram – CED – Fishbone diagram – Ishikawa diagram
- Cause and effect diagram with addition of cards – CEDAC
- Check sheet
- Control chart
- Histogram
- Pareto analysis
- Scatter diagram
- Stratification
- Process mapping
- Process flowcharting
- Force field analysis
- Bar chart
- Matrix analysis
- Tally chart

The use of statistical techniques helps organization in understanding variability. It helps organizations to solve problems. It also helps organization to improve effectiveness and efficiency. The statistical techniques also facilitate better use of available data to assist in decision making. Seven tools from the above are known as basic quality tools. These are:
- Cause and effect diagram – CED – Fishbone diagram – Ishikawa diagram
- Check sheet
- Control chart
- Histogram
- Pareto chart
- Scatter diagram
- Stratification

As per requirements of ISO 9001:2008 QMS Standard, an organization is required to determine, collect and analyze appropriate data. This must include data generated from relevant sources including as a result of monitoring and measurement. The analysis of data must provide information relating to:
- Customer satisfaction (See for reference clause 8.2.1 of the ISO 9001:2008 QMS Standard)
- Conformance to product requirements (See for reference clause 8.2.4 of the ISO 9001:2008 QMS Standard)
- Characteristics and trends of processes and products including opportunities for preventive action (See for reference clause 8.2.3 and 8.2.4 of the ISO 9001:2008 QMS Standard)
- Suppliers (See for reference clause 7.4 of the ISO 9001:2008 QMS Standard)

To improve organization’s processes by means of a systematic approach, people working in the organization require the knowledge of simple kit of tools and techniques. The person who actually works on the processes needs to understand these tools and techniques, so that he can effectively use these tools. Some may think that these tools are complex and require higher knowledge of Mathematics or Statistics. However, we will make the study of these tools and techniques in a language easy to understand. We request our readers to please send/post your comments and suggestions for improvement.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mutually Beneficial Supplier Relationship

The ISO 9001:2008 QMS standard is based on eight quality management principles and one of the principles is ‘mutually beneficial supplier relationship’. A supplier is a partner of an organization in its product realization. An organization and its suppliers are interdependent. A mutually beneficial relationship between the organization and its supplier enhances the ability to both to create value to each other.

Purchasing is an important activity under the product realization. The organization needs to ensure that purchased product conforms to specified purchase requirements. Accordingly, the organization needs to maintain control on the purchasing process, and thus it requires selection and ongoing review of supplier’s capabilities.

Implementing ISO 9001:2008 quality management system requires adoption of process approach and an organization is not able to improve its processes until the organization is able to get support from its supplier. As a result there is a necessity to improve organization-supplier relationship for mutual benefits.

An organization can take some steps to develop its suppliers. The organization can create partnership by encouraging its suppliers to become customer-focused. It can organize meetings with its suppliers to better communicate purchasing needs. The organization can motivate the supplier to move towards quality management system, if the supplier is not on this way. The organization can organize training for the staff of its suppliers to better communicate issues of meeting requirements and also to develop them.

It is for the organization to think how it can improve mutually supplier relationship and if the organization proactively acts in improving the relationship, the organization will be able to earn following benefits:
• Increased ability to create value for the organization and its suppliers
• Optimization of resources
• Long-term benefits

- DS & KRS

Friday, January 13, 2012

Do not be frustrated while implementing QMS

You are involved in the implementation process of ISO 9001:2008 QMS standard and you find that managers and employees in your organizations do not have the passion for quality and/or continual improvement. Such situations are generally observed and it may create frustration among people, who wish to implement quality management system in the organization with full zeal.

Don’t be frustrated with people’s behavior. Be positive. You may find some obstacles in the beginning. May be people around you are not sure of the returns. Your first priority is to create awareness among people about the system. Educate them. Explain how quality management system is useful to them as well as to the organization. It is observed that some organizations implement the ISO 9001:2008 QMS standard without making reasonable efforts for training people. Training of people is important. It should be treated as investment, not as an expense.

People won’t be interested in implementation of quality management system unless they know what it means to them and to their job.
- Explain why the quality management system is important to the organization.
- Explain how the quality management system will make their job easier.
- Explain what they will be required to do for implementing the system.

With best wishes,


Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Conversation on QMS Internal Audit

Keshav Ram Singhal

I posted an article ‘Adding value to internal QMS Audits’ at my blog on ‘ISO 9001:2008 QMS Awareness’ (Link: http://iso9001-2008awareness.blogspot.com) on 6th October 2011. Just after a few days I received a telephone call from a friend. He desired to meet me and accordingly we met and have conversation on the topic. Here-in-below I describe the conversation for the information of my readers.

My friend – Your article ‘Adding value to internal QMS Audits’ is good, but it does not speak about the mistakes generally done by internal auditors and solutions to those mistakes.

KRS – Thanks for the input, however, can we have conversation on your point? First, I would like to know what common mistakes you observe from your internal auditors.

MF – Our organization is a manufacturing unit and more than 150 employees are working in our unit. We have provided internal audit training to five employees, who are being assigned the task of QMS internal auditing in our organization and I am observing that our internal auditors do not carry out the audit with sincerity. They view auditing as a routine task.

KRS – Yes, many auditors view auditing as a mundane task, just as a routine. This is unfortunate. They should set out to add value to organization’s business.

MF – Adding value to organization’s business. How?

KRS – Motivate your internal auditors to be alert with the organization’s objectives and during audit process auditors should keep their eyes and ears open.

MF – Every person keep eyes and ears open while working. What do you mean?

KRS – It is very true that a person generally keeps his eyes and ears open, but whether he actually looks to and/or hears the problems in the auditee’s area is relevant point for an auditor. I want to emphasize that while auditing the auditor should grasp the opportunity to seek out problems so that your organization can propose adequate solutions for the continual improvement and the effectiveness of your quality management system.

MF – Yes, I understood your point, but one problem generally we see. Auditors are interested in finding lapses or omissions, so that they can blame someone. Auditors give an impression that they are looking for something so that someone can be blamed.

KRS – Here our article ‘Adding value to internal QMS audits’ that has included a relevant valid point. When an auditor observes a problem or nonconformity, he should not see who is responsible. Rather he should consider why and what caused the problem or nonconformity. When you consider why and what caused the problem or nonconformity, you may find various points, such as, there was inadequate training, applied procedures were unrealistic, resources were insufficient, there was not enough time for doing things properly, there may be better way of doing things.

MF – You are very right. But auditors feel happy when they raise CAR or NCR on the auditee. They want to blame that people are not working properly.

KRS – Auditors should focus on the processes of the organization and not on the persons. Auditors should avoid careless words like, ‘whose lapse would that be?’, and ‘who did it?’ It should be the endeavour of the auditor to find out ‘what part of the system is letting the auditee or organization down?’ An auditor should always remember the mantra that ‘Audits uncover defects in the system.’

MF – Nice, but I have noticed that although organization incurs lot of expenses on the training of internal auditors, but they perform their QMS internal audit without sufficient preparation. What do you say about preparation for QMS audit?

KRS – Yes, I agree organizations invest on trainings of QMS auditors, but it is also the moral responsibility of the MR and the top management to provide necessary support for conducting an audit. It is bad if an auditor perform an audit without sufficient preparation. An auditor should do his homework and check through the standard and relevant work procedures of the organization. As I earlier stated, auditors should focus on the processes of the organization.

MF – You said, check through standard. Which standard?

KRS – ISO 9001:2008QMS Standard. This is the standard which provides requirements for quality management system.

MF – How to check?

KRS – The auditor should draw up a checklist with the relevant part of the ISO 9001:2008 QMS Standard and internal procedures of the organization. If an auditor is new for auditing work, then he should allow more time in his audit preparation.

MF – That’s right, but it may happen that an auditor may skimp on details, when he asks many questions to an auditee.

KRS – It is observed that a careless person may skimp on details and move from being objective to subjective. It is for the auditor to always seek out objective evidence. An auditor should always ask open questions.

MF – How?

KRS – Such questions that can provide objective evidence, such as, show me, how you do, what is it … The auditor should listen the reply of the auditee with patience, but he should not be deflected by a good talker. The auditor should be more careful if the auditee is a talkative person. While asking questions an internal auditor should remember 5W1H for asking open questions. 5W1H means what, where, who, why, when and how.

MF – This is a good suggestion to remember 5W1H.

KRS – Very true, if you ask any questions using any of the 5W1H, you will find answer in detail. No question can be replied with an answer yes or no, if you have used any of the 5W1H. It is seen that auditors generally ask closed questions because of time pressures. It will be good not to skimp on detail of time pressure. Auditor should record good and bad aspect.

MF – What you wish to emphasize? Good or bad aspects?

KRS – Good aspect is for conformity and bad aspect is for nonconformity. Conformity to standard’s requirements and/or organization’s established procedures will come under good aspects, and nonconformity to standard’s requirements and/or organization’s established procedures will come under bad aspects. An auditor should look for evidences in the manner things are being planned meets customer requirements, applicable legal requirements, standard’s requirements and organization’s own requirements. He should look for evidence that processes are being carried out in the manner they are planned.

MF – So, it is an objective of an auditor to look for objective evidences.

KRS – You are very right. It should also be an objective of an internal auditor to see that the process approach is effectively implemented in the organization and the organization is adhering to PDCA cycle.

MF – Good … Good, but what I feel that preparing an audit report is also an important work for an internal auditor. Many times it is observed that auditor’s report lacks content and traceability.

KRS – Yes, very true, you are. An auditor should not slip into the habit of vague generalizations, such as – ‘I have checked several processes/requirements and found compliance.’ He should list all areas, activities, procedures, standard’s requirements with relevant reference that he checked during audit process. If an auditor has raised any NCR or CAR, he should refer to and include its reference number in the audit report. The auditor should remember that someone, either MR or top management, will refer to his report and would like to retrace his steps. A value added internal audit is that is useful in helping the organization to achieve organization’s objectives and continually improve. A value added audit supports and encourages result-oriented systems. It helps to identify strong and weak points and focus on continual improvement in the organization. A value added internal audit gives confidence that QMS is implemented in the right spirit.

MF – Thanks, Mr. Singhal for the conversation.

KRS – Thanks.

Abbreviation used – CAR = Corrective Action Report, NCR = Nonconformity Report, MR = Management Representative, PDCA = Plan Do Check Act, QMS = Quality Management System

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

'Singhal Institute for Training and Education Trust' announces 3rd Batch of Distance Learning Training on 'ISO 9001:2008 QMS Awareness'

The features of 3rd Batch of Distance Learning Training on 'ISO 9001:2008 QMS Awareness':

* Concessional fee

* An endeavour to create awareness

* The programme will provide an opportunity to the learner to know the requirements of ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System and related concepts. Upon completing this training course, the participant should be able to understand: - Quality concept, - Eight Quality Management Principles - Requirements interpretation - Effective implementation of ISO 9001:2008 QMS - Importance of documentation, management review, internal audit and continual improvement.

* Course contents – Introduction about ISO, Quality concept, Quality Management Principles, Step-by-step approach in implementation of ISO 9001:2008, General and documentation requirements, Management responsibility requirements, Resource management requirements, Product realization requirements, Measurement, analysis and improvement requirements, Certification / registration process.

* Third batch of this Training Programme on "ISO 9001:2008 QMS Awareness‟ is a distance learning training and will be imparted to candidates on a subsidized fee, who seek admission to the course between 1 January 2012 to 31 March 2012.

* Upon successful completion of the training, the learner will be awarded with a "Certificate of Successful Completion of the Training".

Those interested should send an email to site.ajmer@gmail.com so as to enable us to send more details.

With best wishes,