Use a Radar Chart to Determine Which Problem Is Most Critical

Posted by on Mar 6, 2021 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Flowcharts, swimlane diagrams, etc. are useful in understanding problems from an internal point of view, but when seeking external comparisons, a radar or spider chart can be a helpful tool.  The main purpose of the radar chart is to show graphically how a product is viewed by different customers and how they compare.  In conducting root cause analysis, the main application is to determine which problem is most critical and to be able to compare the seriousness of problems and causes between customers, products, etc.

A radar chart is a way of benchmarking or comparing performance levels.  These comparisons can then be used to:

  • Determine which customer, product, or characteristic needs further analysis or improvement.
  • Provide input as to what objectives should be set for the improvement.
  • Learn how to obtain ideas from those who better use your product or service than yourself

Another important feature is that benchmarking against others can help identify those areas in your operation where you need improvement and those in which you are doing well already.

Steps in constructing a radar chart

  1. Collect the information.  Typically this information will come from market analysis, surveys, focus groups, etc.
  2. Assign one characteristic or variable for each spoke of the chart.
  3. Divide each spoke into segments by using a separate unit of measure for each characteristic or variable.
  4. Plot the performance data for each characteristic or variable on the correct spoke, using different colors or symbols to separate the data points from different customers, organizations, etc.
  5. Identify the variables that show the largest gaps.

Radar chart example

The radar chart at the top of the page was constructed in Excel using QI Macros Software and the data below.  In this particular case, a survey was sent to four different customers asking them to rate six characteristics for one of our products using a 1 to 5 scale.  Upon return of the surveys, the table below was put together in QI Macros and the above chart plotted.

In this case, all four customers feel work needs to be done to improve the on-time delivery of the product.  In addition ease of installation and maintainability of the product needs to be improved.  It is also important to note that customer D, with the exception of product reliability, has the lowest scores and may need further attention.

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