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A Toolbook for Quality Improvement and Problem Solving (contents)

String Diagram: Examples

The Quality Toolbook > String Diagram > Examples

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


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A metal worker became fed up with walking what seemed to be half-way around the machine room just to build a metal box. With help from the works facilitator, he measured the distance he traveled to build one box, using a pinboard and scale map of his workshop area, as below. Using this, he simply moved the machines into a U-shape. the result was an easier and faster process, which also used less floor space.



Fig. 1. Example String Diagram


Other examples

  • A self-service restaurant team measures the route taken by customers around the food counters and also identifies the most popular meals that they are building. They rearrange the counters and food to enable a logical progression for the most common meals. They also include complementary and high-margin food in this line, which helps to increase the profitability of the restaurant.
  • A traffic planning department uses a helicopter to spot the routes taken by a sample of vehicles passing through the town, plotting the lines on a street map. Common destinations and routes are now easily identified (along with short-cuts taken through residential areas). As a result, some roads are widened, others are blocked and signs erected. The result is a much smoother traffic flow.
  • A maintenance team measures the route taken by engineers making routine checks on key equipment throughout the plant, plotting it on a site plan. They are then able to plot a much shorter route to each of the same machines.



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