Pareto Chart - A Six Sigma Tool for Measuring Process Performance

A Pareto chart is a histogram drawn in nominal frequency order to indicate the ratio of results caused by various elements. It is one of the most effective tools in Six Sigma for measuring process performance.

What is Pareto Chart?

Pareto chart, one step of Six Sigma chart which combines a bar chart and a line chart, is observed by an Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto and generalized by Joseph M. Juran. Previously the main function of this chart is to evaluate which might be the most common cause of the deficiency. Later it is widely used to emphasize the importance reasons among all elements.

The horizontal axis of a Pareto chart shows main elements which influence the quality of a program. The sequence of those elements is less and less important from left to right. Besides, left vertical axis of the chart represents the frequency of occurrence while right vertical axis shows the cumulative percentage. Thus, the height of each bar acts as influencing the degree of each element and the upper line indicates the cumulative frequency line.

Pareto Chart Definition

How to Measure Process Performance in Six Sigma by Using Pareto Chart?

1. Layout Process Performance Metrics

Lay Out Process Performance Metrics

2. Pareto Analysis Procedure

After clarifying the metrics for measuring process performance, Pareto chart has a basic structure to be analyzed step by step.

  1. Fix time scope to know what your Pareto chart might cover and examine.
  2. Label bars under horizontal axis to arrange previous metrics in descending order.
  3. Collect data on occurrence number and calculate the cumulative percentage. (Tips: Cumulative percentage= [Individual Count] / [Total Count]*100)
  4. Plot two axis and put counts with bars to the left and percentages as points to the right.
  5. Join the points to the line and construct bars.
  6. Draw a line of 80% and divide horizontal axis into two parts. Factors on the left are more meaningful than factors on the right.

3. Sum up the Result

After analyzing most influential factors in affecting performance, you can put forward a summary of how to measure process performance by Pareto chart.

A Pareto Chart Example

Below is a pareto chart example create with Edraw. Click the image you can download the template and customize it.

Pareto Chart Template

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