How to build a good Check Sheet

March 5th, 2012

In an earlier article “The Check Sheet – Simple but Powerful” I talked about the power of a check sheet and how some use them. Here in this article I’m going to talk you through constructing one. Check Sheets are one of the Seven Basic QC Tools. You will usually construct a check sheet for one of two reasons. To collect information (data) about something, or to help you remember to do some thing. Lets look at both.

Collecting information:

When collecting information, check sheets are lists of items and the frequency that the item occurs. They can be made in so many different ways that many times, we don’t think of them as a list, but they are.

Simple Table Check Sheet

Figure 1: Simple Table Check Sheet

The most recognized check sheet is the simple table (Fig. 1). Here you create two columns, the first will be your categories and the second one the count or frequency it is detected. In the categories column you list in each row either an attribute or a range of values that you what to know information about. In figure 1 we have ranges of inches so we can capture different sizes (categories) of some measurement we are making.

The right column you label as frequency and put “tick” marks ever time you find a value in that measurement range. If you arrange the tick marks as seen in figure 1 (groups of five) you will see that your check sheet will look like a Histogram and you now can see the shape of the measurement distribution . With this information you can see the highest , lowest, middle and most frequent value that you collected easily from this table.

The same can be done for attributes or characteristics. For instance you could want to collect the number of each color car that drives by your house. In this case the left column would be a list of colors while the right tick marks for each car color that passed.

The Picture Check Sheet

Figure 2: Picture Check Sheet

Another very handy check sheet is what I call a “Picture” check sheet (Fig. 2). Here you take a picture of something you want to collect information about and you mark on the picture where something occurred. In figure 2 you can see a picture of a shoe. On it are red x’s  where defects were seen during an inspection. This type of check sheet is great for showing you were something occurred most frequently. Here on this shoe most of the defects are in the toe. So now we can work toe issue as it is the most frequent type of defect on this shoe. This could have been done in a table but find the correct description of where the defects are is sometimes difficult so using a picture make’s it real easy to see.



Help to Remember:

Figure3: Grocery List

Another type of check sheet we use a lot is a “Help me remember” sheet. It help us to remember what to do especially when we have complex task to perform and we do not what to forget anything. The one I know many use is a shopping list. Here you just have a list of thing to get and as you get them you check or cross them off the list. Assembly instructions can be a check sheet. Also think about restaurants where the waitress take your order she creates a check sheet to insure your order is completed as you ordered.

Another good check sheet at a restaurant that I frequent take the waitress out of the loop by making the menu a check sheet. Here you pickup the menu items you want by marking what you want to eat right on the menu it self. Then you hand it to the cashier they ring you up and the menu goes to the kitchen to be filled. Great idea, one less opportunity for a mistake on my order.


In  Summary

As you can see all of these answer such questions as:

  • Has all the work been done?
  • Has all the inspection been done?
  • How frequently a problem occurs?
  • What should I do next?
  • Have I done everything?

Well there you have how to build a good check sheet. If, you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, emailing me, calling me, or leaving a comment on my website.

Bersbach Consulting
Peter Bersbach
Six Sigma Master Black Belt

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