All of us are aware that there are always more problems than we have time to work on them, more capital projects than we have available funds, more necessary tasks than time in a week and more demand for solution of problems than resources to address them. Because this is a reality in any operation, the need to look at these challenges utilizing the Pareto principle is all the more crucial. The challenge is not to solve as many problems as we can, but how to take a limited resource (time) and get the maximum return on any time spent with problem solving efforts. Performing a Pareto analysis on a problem gives clear direction as to how to prioritize time and resources to get this maximum return. Pareto can be used for three distinct purposes:
- Prioritize and justify time and resources spent on problems.
- Problem clarification—further defines nature of problem to give direction to problem solving activities.
- Objectively document or test to see if improvement efforts are effective—a benchmark.