Various Fishbone Diagram Examples

In this article, we explore what a fishbone diagram is, why and how it is important or used as an analytical tool. The different contexts or problem-solving sessions where it can be used are also highlighted along with software solutions for the same.

What is a Fishbone Diagram?

Fishbone diagrams are also known as cause and effect diagrams or Ishikawa diagrams. These can also be called cause enumeration or process fishbone diagrams or showcasing time-delays. The short form for cause and effect diagram is CEDAC which can be done with cards as well. Such illustrations can be reverse fishbone type as well. No matter what they are called, these diagrams act as analytical tools to look at the different causes that lead to a certain effect. It is one of the quality tools that was invented to understand how a problem occurs and the effects of the same. It is also an aid for brainstorming sessions. A cause and effect diagram example helps to sort out ideas that can then be put in distinct categories.

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Why is Fishbone Diagram Important?

There are several instances when a fishbone diagram is important. The main reasons are:

  • When possible causes that lead to a problem need to be identified.
  • When thinking of a team needs to be streamlined and aligned.

These are also called causal diagrams that were first created by the expert, Kaoru Ishikawa in order to show how different causes led to a certain event’s occurrence. Common uses of the diagram include the prevention of quality defects in the manufacturing process as well as product designs. It helps to identify factors that are leading to a certain effect. Every reason for the variation is showcased as a branch or a bone on the main backbone of the fish diagram.

It is commonly used for quality improvement and product development. It can help identify as well as fix defect sources as well as inefficiencies that show up in a product or process. Thus, it becomes a tool by which a team can solve different kinds of challenges in business.

The diagram also becomes useful for brainstorming sessions when problems are being identified. Team and individuals can deconstruct different problems or challenges by dissecting a problem, recording probable causes and illuminating solutions that have potential. The visual aspect of such a chart or diagram is also crucial.


Learn from Fishbone Diagram Examples

There are different kinds of fishbone diagrams that one can look up in order to understand how simple or complex problems are sorted as per probable causes.

  • Simple Fishbone Diagram Example

A simple fishbone diagram example can be in the context of manufacturing in order to highlight what are the main branches that form the entire chain of a manufacturing process. The fix processes comprise 6 Ms that stands for material, measurement, Mother Nature or milieu, manpower, and method.


  • Funny Fishbone Diagram

Any problem and its probable causes can be showcased with a funny cause and effect diagram example as well. It helps especially to draw the attention of children or young minds when a problem solving is being attempted with visual aids in class. For instance, the five whys can be illustrated with a funny image in order for viewers or participants to understand the visuals easily.


  • Fishbone Diagram Example in Business

There are widespread uses of cause and effect diagram example in businesses. For instance, if the low-quality output is a concern, the different branches or probable causes are first identified under broad categories such as management, raw materials, technology, working conditions, machine and workers. For each branch or category there are sub-branches that are highlighted which are constraints that contribute to hindering output.


  • Fishbone Diagram Example for Service Industry

One can also see a fishbone diagram example in the context of problems that arise in the service industry. Here low quality or inefficient service can be a concern that is discussed in the light of probable causes such as physical evidence, place, service, people, production and quality, price, process, and production. The different causes in each category are then showcased as sub-branches.


  • Fishbone Diagram Example in Manufacturing

In the context of manufacturing, the classic fishbone diagram example holds true every time. This is in context to the Ms such as machine, measurement, method and materials. These have further sub-branches such as measurement pertaining to accuracy, sampling, and bias whereas method would comprise of a recipe or operating process. This showcases how every subdivision of a certain category is looked into to determine how it contributes to a final cause.


How to Create a Fishbone Diagram?

If one is embarking on creating a fishbone diagram for the first time, one can use a software suite like Edraw that has a comprehensive set of templates and tools to help one complete a fishbone diagram as well as customize the same to see a professional finish in the end.

The steps to create a fishbone diagram using such a software application are few:

  • Start with a Template

This is the first step which leads to the template section of the software. There are several examples and templates along with possible suggestions as to which chart or diagram would be more applicable for a certain industry segment. Standard templates such as analyzing 4S in service industry, 6 Ms of manufacturing and 8 Ps for administration are usually included as readymade templates.


  • Identify the Main Problem

This is the first step to take after a template is chosen and the diagram is initiated. The end box is usually highlighted where one needs to type in the problem that they are looking to identify causes for.

  • Add and Delete Causes

Once the main box or problem is done, one can use the basic template that accommodates four problems mainly. One can add on more by simply using Smart panel options; there are options to add or delete details in the causal boxes as well.

  • Revise and Edit Causes and Details

This is the next move towards completing the final diagram. The templates allow one to click on a box and move its position; there are connection points as well as dashed lines that one can add. One simply needs to hold on a detail and release the same to bring it to a certain connection point.

  • Adjust Spacing

The final formatting for any fishbone diagram example would comprise of adjusting the symbol sizes, the control handles as well as adding on more visuals as per one’s need to customize the diagram. One can click on a certain branch and black squares come about to show where one wishes to add details; the black squares can then be dragged and adjusted; there are additional controls to change shapes of the different boxes, branching styles.


In the end, one can also use further customization features that are provided under Themes. Once the diagram is completed one can export it out to different file formats or easily share it over email or other services as a securely attached file.


As evident from fishbone diagram examples discussed above, one can use such a tool to analyze different causes of a business problem and how to find solution for the same. With Edraw it becomes easy to draw up such illustrations with a professional finish.


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