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Selecting the right quality tool

Published: 9 May 2022

Paul Vaughan CQP FCQI, Head of Quality at Emico, has developed a Quality Tool Selector, with input from the CQI’s Content Advisory Panel. Here, he outlines its development and explains how the compendium, which demonstrates what tool to apply to which scenario, benefits all quality professionals.

If Batman can have his utility belt, Wonder Woman her Lasso of Truth and Doctor Who the sonic screwdriver, then surely the super quality professionals of this world can have their Quality Tool Selector.  

Just imagine, when confronted with an opportunity for improvement or a villainous problem, our quality professionals can consult their tool selector and before you know it – BIFF! BAM! KAPOW! – the problem has either been or is being sorted. 

What is the Quality Tool Selector? 

The Quality Tool Selector has been developed with the purpose of providing a compendium of quality-related tools to guide and assist the quality professional in selecting the right tools for the right job, time and environment. 

The Quality Tool Selector can be found in the reports section of the CQI website as a resource to CQI and IRCA members. 

Since 2019, every Quality World magazine has included an informative and practical description of a quality-related tool. Feedback has confirmed that these have been well received by the readership. However, the practicalities of the quality professional carrying 24 editions of Quality World around, just in the event of encountering an opportunity for improvement, could be problematic to say the least.  

The Quality Tool Selector … is intended to be dynamic in adapting to current and future change, for example the digital revolution, Quality 4.0, and so on.

To alleviate this accessibility burden, the CQI Content Advisory Panel called on a number of quality professionals for their support in developing a comprehensive table of quality-related tools and identifying where and when in the product, project or service lifecycle they can be used.  

Quality tools for every scenario 

The tools alphabetically range from affinity diagrams to XY Bar/Histogram charts and from a lifecycle perspective, failure mode effect and critical analysis (FMECA) at the development stage, to customer surveying at the after sales point. Several tools will be applicable and common to all, if not most, of the lifecycle stages. For instance, where there’s a problem to be solved, the quality professional is likely to need a root cause analysis type tool such as the 5 Whys. Naturally, the customer’s voice will need to be heard throughout, which can be addressed through the quality function deployment (QFD) tool and meaningful customer surveys.  

In alignment with all ISO system standards, Shewhart/Deming Cycle aka plan, do, check and act (PDCA) is included in its own right. It is also embedded into a number of other improvement tools such as Kaizen, which also provides another approach to problem solving. 

Developing for the future 

Primarily, this initiative was aimed at helping our up-and-coming quality students, affiliates and practitioners to develop, evolve and hone their skill sets. However, initial circulation of the Quality Tool Selector to the quality community has proved to be enlightening or, at worst, has served as a reminder of the vast number of tools at their disposal. Therefore, it is deemed that the applicability of this tool is for all levels of the quality community.  

The Quality Tool Selector will not be time stamped, as it is intended to be dynamic in adapting to change, for example the digital revolution, Quality 4.0 and so on; the tool count will undoubtedly increase in the selector as these aids become available.  

The tool selector is for you, the members, and therefore we would appreciate your feedback, particularly if you are aware of any worthy tools that have not been included and where in the lifecycle you believe those listed may also be effectively used. 

Looking ahead, the intent is to provide a link to the applicable Quality World published tool, where it exists. We will also be looking at giving links to other reference sources, where permitted. 

View and download the tool.