Seven Key Tools for Breakthrough Improvement

The Magnificent Seven is All You Need

Over the years, in project after project, I have found that I only needed seven tools to solve virtually any operational problems involving delay, defects and deviation. Once in a great while I might need another tool, but I had to look it up because I had long forgotten it. You can easily create breakthrough improvements using these seven tools and QI Macros for Excel.


value stream map Value Stream Maps identify and remove delays from any process.
spaghetti diagram

Spaghetti Diagrams identify and eliminate unnecessary movement of people or materials in any workspace.

pivottable Excel PivotTables summarize massive dumps of data about defects and money.

Control Charts to measure and monitor the performance of any process.


Pareto Charts identify the most frequent types of defects, mistakes and errors.


Histograms evaluate deviation in process performance


Ishikawa (fishbone) diagrams identify the root causes of the problem.

Matrix diagrams like check sheets, countermeasures and action plans collect data and prioritize corrective actions.


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