the power of decision trees

For every action there is a reaction. Every obstacle or event has a path that follows, and the reaction may or may not lead to a desired result.

Consider the daily decisions that need to be made on the main floor everyday. In a perfect world, each person would be equipped with the  right tools and able to make each decision in line. Each operator would be sound in making decisions with a solid deductive and inductive skill set as well as experience to validate the judgement against historical data. Yet, more often than not, this is not the case. Operators in manufacturing, retail, and almost every category of employment, are not the tenured individuals they once were. It is another discussion when we start looking at why there is turnover or lack of skills in the profession. Either way, the case still exists of limited ability. Please note, there are operators capable of this – and even in those cases – many companies wish to have more controlled decision making. This usually has to due with responsibility, accountability and the ramifications of the risk. Even if you compare the risk in a low risk statistical analysis the probability of the operator making a correct judgement is probable – but a mistake is possible and that may not be satisfactory to the program you are in charge of.

From my experience there is a way to bridge some of this concern using what is called a “decision tree,” or decision-tree2more correctly, a flow chart. Each task that is performed is mapped out using a charting method showing actions to take in case of certain scenarios. If this, then that… if you will. Granted, there are some concerns that will end up with with a direction to contact another member of management. If the form is used properly, then many of the common tasks or decisions can be standardized, controlled, and empower individuals to make decision within the confines set forth by the creating team.


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