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First seven tools

In the quality improvement movement in Japan in the latter half of the 20th century, the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) were influential in defining a set of basic tools that could be used for improving processes. These came to be known as the first seven tools. They are:

  1. Cause-Effect Diagram
  2. Pareto Chart
  3. Check Sheet
  4. Scatter Chart
  5. Bar Chart and other graphs
  6. Histogram
  7. Control Chart

Despite some fancy-sounding names, they are mostly very simple and easy to use: the trick is in consistent and appropriate use, not intellectual gymnastics and elitist occasional usage.

The tool that requires most thought and understanding is the Control Chart. 

A number of these tools are only usable when a significant amount of numerical data is available. For situations where the data is more qualitative there is a second set of seven tools defined (seven seems to be a magical quality number :-). 

See also:

Second seven tools, Cause-Effect Diagram, Pareto Chart, Check Sheet, Scatter Chart, Bar Chart, Histogram, Control Chart

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