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Relationship Diagram: Examples

The Quality Toolbook > Relationship Diagram > Examples

When to use it | How to understand it | Example | How to use it | Practical variations


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The design department of a company which produces industrial cabinets were continually irritated by the production department, who kept modifying their designs. The production department, on the other hand, considered the design department to have their 'heads in the clouds' when it came down to real production issues. To understand this problem, two members from each department met to try and find the key causes of this problem and how they could address it. Initially they could not agree, and so decided to use a cause-effect Relations Diagram to try and work from their two problems in towards common causes that could be addressed. They defined the problems as (a) production make bad changes to design, and (b) designs are impractical to build.

In the next meeting, they put the problem cards on either side of the work area and started Brainstorming possible causes, working in towards one another. Initially, each department naturally focused on their grievance area. However, working together, keying off each other's thoughts they soon started to find common areas. Their mutual understanding further improved when they started to add causal links, and they were surprised how easily they agreed on the final key causes. Their diagram is shown below.

As result, a cross-functional task force developed a product lifecycle to involve all departments. This included cross-functional meetings and training requirements.



Fig. 1. Example Relations Diagram


Other examples

  • A firm of consulting engineers uses a Relations Diagram to ensure that all eventualities are covered in an investigation report into the laying of a new cross-country gas pipeline.
  • A library manager uses a State Diagram to help identify what happens as an outstanding book report progresses from a late return to legislative action.
  • A production engineer uses a Block Diagram to show how the machines, materials and processes interrelate and improving the flow of metal flanges through a plating process.



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