How to Run a Pareto Chart in Minitab

Understanding & Performing Pareto Analysis

Pareto Analysis

Lesson & Exercises

Only $4.95

A more complete lesson than you just reviewed with additional exercises, different data sets, screen cast videos showing how to use Minitab. This a downloadable .zip file containing .pdf files and .mtw data files.

The lesson includes the "how to" case study on creating a Pareto chart along with exercises and exercise questions using separate data sets. Exercise solutions are provided with screen shots of Minitab output as well as links to screen cast videos for how to use Minitab to generate all Pareto charts for each exercise and to arrive at the answers posed to you through the exercise questions.

One of the most useful charts to visually represent where areas of concern in a business may be is the Pareto Chart. The chart identifies the Pareto principle, or what many call the “law of the vital few,” or more often, the “80:20 rule.” The principle suggests that a majority of the effects are coming from a small amount of causes. By creating the Pareto chart, areas of concern are easily identifiable.

Steps to Running a Pareto Chart in Minitab

Below are step-by-step instructions on how to run a Pareto chart in Minitab. The data used in the following example can be downloaded in .MTW format Pareto Chart.MTW. It shows the count of defects across five different teams.

  1. Download and open the Pareto Chart.MTW data file.
    Pareto Chart in Minitab
  2. Click on Stat → Quality Tools → Pareto Chart.
    Pareto Chart in Minitab
  3. A new window with the title “Pareto Chart” pops up.
  4. Select “Category” into the “Defects or attribute data in” box
    Select “Count” into the box “Frequency in.”
  5. Click “OK.”
    Pareto Chart in Minitab
  6. The Pareto Chart will open in a new window.
    Pareto Chart in Minitab

Interpreting Minitab's Pareto Chart

It’s important to know how to create a Pareto chart, but understanding what the chart is showing and being able to communicate that among team members is what makes this chart useful.

The purpose of running a Pareto analysis on this data set was to find how many defective products were being created by each team. In this example your effects are the defects and the causes are the teams. The chart created by Minitab has sorted the teams in descending order by the number of defects create. Team 4, with 25 of the 50 total defects, was placed on the left. The percent under the count of defects shows what percentage of the total defects that team was accountable for. The connected data points above the bars represent cumulatively what each team is contributing as a percentage to the total number of defects. The graph shows that just about 80% of the effects are coming from 20% of the causes.

Now that the graph has been interpreted, the next step would be to continue analyzing the data to identify what is causing the effects in the 20%. A second and third level Pareto chart should be created to identify the root cause for defects among the team.

Understanding & Performing Pareto Analysis

Pareto Analysis

Lesson & Exercises

Only $4.95

A more complete lesson than you just reviewed with additional exercises, different data sets, screen cast videos showing how to use Minitab. This a downloadable .zip file containing .pdf files and .mtw data files.

The lesson includes the "how to" case study on creating a Pareto chart along with exercises and exercise questions using separate data sets. Exercise solutions are provided with screen shots of Minitab output as well as links to screen cast videos for how to use Minitab to generate all Pareto charts for each exercise and to arrive at the answers posed to you through the exercise questions.

About Michael Parker

Michael Parker is the President and CEO of the Lean Sigma Corporation, a management consulting firm and online six sigma training, certification and courseware provider. Michael has over 20 years of experience leading and executing lean six sigma programs and projects. As a Fortune 50 senior executive, Michael led oversight of project portfolios as large as 150 concurrent projects exceeding $100 million in annual capital expenditures. Michael has also managed multi-site operations with the accountability of over 250 quality assurance managers, analysts, and consultants. He is an economist by education earning his Bachelor of Science degree from Radford University while also lettering 4 years as an NCAA Division I scholarship athlete. Michael earned his Six Sigma Master Black Belt certification from Bank of America and his Black Belt certification from R.R. Donnelley & Sons.

4 Comments

  1. Joe DeSimone on December 19, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    I dont want to combine categories and I dont want an Other column. How do I get all of the pareto tail visible on the graph so the numbers are not squished ?

    • Michael Parker on December 27, 2018 at 11:26 am

      Hi Joe,
      Thanks for the question. In Minitab when running a Pareto chart you can elect to either “not combine” or combine after a certain percentage. The default is to combine after 95%. If you select “Do not combine” there should not be an “other” category unless you have a category in your data labeled “other”.
      https://www.leansigmacorporation.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/mtb-pareto.png

  2. Cesar on July 20, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    This won’t work at all if the numbers are formatted as text. Wasted an hour trying to figure out why my graph didn’t look like this one.

    • Michael Parker on July 24, 2018 at 2:37 pm

      Hi Cesar
      You’re Correct
      Minitab indicates if it considers a column as text by including a -T in the column heading.

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