Quality management experts throughout history have used the Pareto Principle (also called the 80/20 rule) in various ways. Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, first came up with the idea based on his observation that 80 percent of Italy’s land belonged to just 20 percent of the country’s population.
Joseph Juran, one of the fathers of quality management, later adapted it into “The Rule of the Vital Few.” The ratio doesn’t have to be 80/20, and the numbers don’t have to add up to 100, but the idea is simple: a small number of inputs have an outsized impact on the outputs. For example, 20 percent of causes create 80 percent of your quality problems. In a more familiar example, most of us probably wear just 10 percent of what’s in our closets for 80 percent of the time.
With that in mind, this post looks at 7 ways you can apply the Pareto Principle to improve your quality management efforts.