Introduction to the Seven Basic Tools of Quality

by | Jan 17, 2023 | Blog, Certificates, Classification, Compliance, Consulting Group, FDA, Guidance, QMS, Quality, Quality Systems, Regulatory, Safety, Standards

After World War II, while the United States was occupying (and helping to rebuild) Japan, W. Edwards Deming was brought in to assist with the 1951 Japanese Census.  Deming had been living in Japan for a number of years and had built himself a reputation, in both the U.S. and Japan, as being an expert in techniques for both statistical sampling, and quality control.[1] 

On an invitation from the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers, Deming gave a series of lectures, adapting the work of Walter Shewhart to layperson audience; Deming would later say that “…Shewhart had an ‘uncanny ability to make things difficult.’”[2]   It may seem obvious to state that not everyone has the time to learn the statistical concepts behind proper sampling, and not every manufacturer wants to give that degree of training to its blue-collar employees on its dime.

Prof. Kaoru Ishikawa likely attended Deming’s lectures, and expanded on the work of Deming and Shewhart, eventually publishing several books.  In one of these books, Ishikawa collected the seven most powerful methods for solving problems in manufacturing quality.

The Seven Tools are:

  1. Cause & Effect Diagram (a.k.a. Fishbone/Ishikawa diagram)
  2. Check Sheet
  3. Control Chart
  4. Histogram
  5. Pareto Chart
  6. Scatter Diagram
  7. Stratification[3]

Ishikawa compared these tools to the Seven Weapons of Japanese folk hero Benkei; as Benkei used his weapons to assure victory on the battlefield, a manufacturer could use these methods to assure victory in the marketplace.

The experts at EMMA International can provide a critical, outside perspective on your quality systems; Contact EMMA International by phone at 248-987-4497 or by email at info@emmainternational.com.


[1] Halberstam, David (1987).  The Reckoning.  Location Unknown: Avon Books.

[2] Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (2023, January 5).  W. Edwards Deming – Wikipedia.  Retrieved from <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_basic_tools_of_quality>

[3] Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.  (2022, October 31).  Seven basic tools of quality – Wikipedia.  Retrieved from < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_basic_tools_of_quality>

Ethan Benedict

Ethan Benedict

Mr. Benedict has experience in FDA compliance for both medical devices and pharmaceuticals. He has experience with many different elements of quality and regulatory compliance. Mr. Benedict holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from York College of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Ursinus College.

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