Tag: quality tools

Using a Grid Analysis for Supplier Selection

An article was published in MasterControl’s November newsletter that simplifies the process of supplier selection.  A grid analysis is great for almost any decision-making situation where you want to objectively compare multiple options.  It also complements many other decision-making tools as well.

Per the article, factors that should be considered in the grid analysis for supplier selection may include:

Cost – Initial quotations and negotiations are not always representative of future costs.    However, this is certainly an important competitive advantage if that’s the desired positioning.  Contractual commitments should be discussed to avoid incremental increases.

Quality/Standards – Depending on the industry, specific supplier audits may be required.  If the organization requires ISO or other certifications, audit reports are a useful snapshot of the supplier’s strengths and weaknesses in specific areas.  This should incorporate management as well.

Location – The geographic component of supplier selection not only affects cost but it can also be required for certain products.

Shipment Expectations – The quotation and audit reports should include enough information to reasonably determine how well the supplier complements your existing demand schedules.

Expansion Capabilities – Long-term strategy will require that any supplier partnership considered important during the expansion plans of the organization should not be overlooked.

Grid analysis can be done in two ways, with or without weights.  If the assumption is that each factor decided on is equal in importance, go through each supplier and provide a rating for each factor based on all information available.  Do this for each of the three and total each row.  Scale each choice from 0 (poor) to 5 or 10 (great), and you don’t have to use different ratings for each one.  Assign each factor and supplier the rating it deserves based on all of the available information. 

For most situations, we know that all factors are not equal in importance.  That being true, a grid analysis can adapt to placing weights of importance on each factor.  To do this, multiply out the factors for more accurate results.  Weights may include something that is not important at all, which may have no value assigned, or something that is very important that may be assigned a weight of 5 or 10.   If a factor is determined to be twice as important than others, assign it a weight of 2.

Grid analysis can also incorporate team decision-making and offers useful comparative perspective as well.  If everyone on a team completes the grid analysis process individually, take the final score of each supplier from each team member and add them together.  Divide that number by the number of team members.  Do this for each supplier.

View the full article, including example data sets here.

Selecting suppliers using a grid analysis

Let’s say you need to find a manufacturer for a new product.  It’s easy to look at the cost and weigh heavily in that direction.  However, this often results in regrets later when shipment delays and other quality issues occur.

A useful quality tool for making such decisions is the Grid Analysis.  It allows you to effectively compare various options using factors that can be weighted to adjust for relevance.

Example: A 3rd party quality provider has provided systems audits relating to three options you are considering for manufacturing in China.  You’ve determined the most critical decision factors include:

  • Quality
  • Timeliness
  • Communications
  • Management
  • Cost

Who do you pick?:

All things equal…


Using weights…


It’s not always the lowest cost provider that proves to be the best choice!

Grid Analysis is the simplest form of Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA), also known as Multiple Criteria Decision Aid or Multiple Criteria Decision Management (MCDM). Grid Analysis helps you to decide between several options, where you need to take many different factors into account.

To use the tool, lay out your options as rows on a table. Set up the columns to show the factors you need to consider. Score each choice for each factor using numbers from 0 (poor) to 5 (very good), and then allocate weights to show the importance of each of these factors.

Multiply each score by the weight of the factor, to show its contribution to the overall selection. Finally add up the total scores for each option. The highest scoring option will be the best option.  (www.mindtools.com)

7 QC Tools in 8 Minutes

Great presentation… Quick and easy way to learn about quality control, the benefits and the primary tools used in the industry.

  • Graphs
  • Check Sheets
  • Pareto Charts
  • Cause & Effect
  • Scatter Diagrams
  • Histograms
  • Control Charts

In addition, we discuss the benefits of quality control on our website .  We also talk quality tools in a few older blog posts.  And, we’ve written a few articles in our newsletter as well.

Top 5 Quick & Invaluable Quality Reads for 2013

A thread in the ASQ LinkedIn group piqued our interest a few months back.  It got us thinking about our favorite quality related books and provided some excellent insight into a few we haven’t read yet.

We know life is busy, but we all know the importance of continuous improvement   Our list of quick and invaluable quality related “must read” books includes:

The Daily Drucker: 365 Days of Insight & Motivation for Getting the Right Things Done (Peter F. Drucker)  – This little gem is a quick and easy way to start the day thinking in a quality mindset.  More than a few great ideas and inspiration came from this one, and it can be used more than once.

The Five Most Important Questions (Peter F. Drucker) – This is a very quick read, perfect for a short flight.  In it, Drucker discusses self-assessment, the customer, providing value, measuring results and planning.  This one is likely to require “pen and paper” or Evernote to get the full benefit.  You’ll want to document your answers.

Quality Improvement Made Simple & Fast (Matthew J. Maio) – We have done a write-up on this book before and continue to highly recommend it.  While the length, only a 44 page booklet, may be deceiving, the content is rich and ready to be applied.  This book will guide you through Plan>Do>Study>Act and is written in a way that’s fun to read.  The templates in the back are invaluable.

The Quality Toolbox (Nancy R. Tague) – This book should be standard reading in college courses and a staple on any business person’s bookshelf.  In it, you will find a way to answer any question (or problem) you have.  It gives you the tools you need to get stuff done.  Rather than trying to read it cover-to-cover, this one works best if you make a goal of reviewing one tool per week.  There’s even a chapter on “How to Use this Book.” 

101 Good Ideas: How to Improve Just About Any Process (Karen Bemowski & Brad Stratton) – This book is conveniently segmented in a way that lets you skip around and pick what you want to learn.  It offers examples and tools for improving a process, communicating quality, training for quality, getting feedback, managing meetings  organizing/analyzing data, auditing and more.  The ideas presented are general in nature, but provide enough information to get you going in the right direction. 

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  ~Dr. Seuss

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”  ~Oscar Wilde