Carpenters use a kit of tools designed for very specific functions. Their hammers, for example, are used for the driving of nails and their saws for the cutting of wood. These and others enable a carpenter to build houses. They are physical tools. Total quality tools also enable today’s employees, whether engineers, technologists, production workers, managers, or office staff, to do their jobs. Virtually no one can function in an organization that has embraced total quality without some or all of these tools. Unlike those in the carpenter’s kit, these are intellectual tools. They are not wood and steel to be used with muscle; they are tools for collecting and displaying information in ways to help the human brain grasp thoughts and ideas. When thoughts and ideas are applied to physical processes, the processes yield better results. When they are applied to problem solving or decision making, better solutions and decisions are developed.
The seven tools discussed in the following seven sections of this chapter represent those generally accepted as the basic total quality tools. Some authors would include others, and we discuss some of the others briefly later in this chapter. A case can be made that just-in-time (JIT), statistical process control, and Quality Function Deployment are total quality tools. But these are more than tools: They are complete systems under the total quality umbrella. This book devotes an entire chapter to each of these systems.
A tool, like a hammer, exists to help do a job. If the job includes continual improvement, problem solving, or decision making, then these seven tools fit the definition. Each of these tools is some form of chart for the collection and display of specific kinds of data. Through the collection and display facility, the data become useful information— information that can be used to solve problems, enhance decision making, keep track of work being done, and even predict future performance and problems. The beauty of the charts is that they organize data so that we can immediately comprehend the message. This would be all but impossible without the charts, given the mountains of data flooding today’s workplace.
Source: Goetsch David L., Davis Stanley B. (2016), Quality Management for organizational excellence introduction to total Quality, Pearson; 8th edition.