pareto analysis

What is Pareto Analysis?

Posted: October 18, 2022 | Updated: October 20, 2022

Those who are in control are always faced with constantly making decisions. Which decisions should be dealt with first? How do you prioritize? To answer that question, many company leaders tend to use a Pareto Analysis. The Pareto Analysis assists in prioritizing decisions by determining which will have the most impact on your overall business goals and which will have the least.

Pareto Analysis is a statistical decision-making technique used to select a small number of activities with a significant overall influence on outcome. It employs the Pareto Principle, which is also known as the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule states that 80% of all outcomes are derived from 20% of causes.

For decision-makers, the final outcome is the most important thing. When working towards creating your idea outcome, decision-makers want to keep the amount of effort or input as minimal as possible. The Pareto Analysis helps such decision-makers to make the correct decisions that will have the most significant affect on what they are trying to achieve. Politicians and policymakers also use this analysis to plan their strategies.

The best part of this analysis is that it shows a leaders problems and potential outcomes in the form of numbers. These 80/20 rule numbers can be used to generate charts which then makes it very easy for decision makers to analyze their input vs the expected output of any given decision. Within an organization, any problem can be analyzed for each of the departments. The expected input to achieve a targeted output can be set with the problem analysis.

Companies can then allocate their resources based on the Pareto Analysis to improve their productivity and efficiency.

What Is Pareto Analysis?

Pareto Analysis is a technique used in business decision-making, but it also has applications in welfare economics and quality control. It is largely based on the “80-20 rule.” As a decision-making technique, the Pareto Analysis statistically distinguishes a small number of good or undesirable input factors that have the largest impact on an outcome.

The Pareto analysis assumes that you can obtain 80% of a project’s benefit by completing 20% of the work or that 80% of issues can be traced back to 20% of the causes. This is also known as the 80/20 rule and the Pareto Analysis is an extremely effective decision-making tool. In the broadest sense, it is a technique for gathering the information needed to define level of priority around your job functions and specific tasks.

Take, for example, quality enhancement. A few core factors (20%) create most problems (80%). This method is also known as the vital few and the trivial many. After understanding the Pareto analysis explanation now let us understand the history.

Pareto Analysis History

In 1906, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto determined that 80% of Italy’s land was owned by only 20% of the population. He continued his research and discovered that unequal wealth distribution was consistent throughout Europe. The wealthiest 20% of a country’s population accounts for an estimated 80% of the country’s wealth or overall income, according to the 80-20 rule.

The principle was proposed in the late 1940s by Romanian-born American engineer and management consultant Joseph M. Juran. He coined it after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who found that 80% of income went to 20% of the population in Italy. After conducting polls in a few other countries, Pareto discovered that his findings fit into a similar distribution.

What is a Pareto Chart?

chart on screen

A Pareto Chart is a statistical chart that ranks causes or problems in descending order of frequency and cumulative impact. A histogram graphic is utilized inside the Pareto chart to rank the reasons behind the impact.

How to make a Pareto Chart?

To fully grasp the full meaning of the Pareto Analysis, it is necessary to investigate the stages that assist users in identifying problem areas and their causes to develop appropriate solutions. Here is a checklist for creating a Pareto chart and analyzing the aspects to consider before deciding to take a specific course of action.

Identify the problems 

Make a list of all the issues you need to resolve or decisions you need to make.

List the causes 

Determine the fundamental source of each problem.

Score the problems 

Now, list the issues you’ve identified in order of significance. The type of issue you’re looking to solve will determine the scoring technique you choose.

Group the problems 

Sort the issues according to their root cause.

Add up scores 

Now, total the points for each group you’ve selected. The group with the highest score should be your top priority, while the group with the lowest score should be your lowest priority. 

Take action 

Start taking care of the problems’ causes. Starting to work on the most important problem or the most important set of problems first will help expedite creating solutions.

Pareto Analysis Breakdown & Examples

  • 80% of accidents are caused by 20% of drivers
  • 80% of your profit comes from 20% of your items and services
  • 20% of your items and services cause 80% of consumer complaints
  • 20% of criminals commit 80% of crimes
  • 80% of travel is to 20% of the overall destinations
  • 80% of all income is earned by 20% of the world’s population

Pros and Cons of Pareto Analysis


  • Aids in the identification and determination of the root causes of flaws or difficulties
  • It aids in prioritizing the most serious issue for a problem and attempting to eliminate it first
  • Determines the whole impact of a problem
  • It improves problem-solving and decision-making abilities
  • It aids in time management and frees up time for decision makers
  • It is useful in every sort of leadership decision regardless of industry


  • Does not offer solutions to problems
  • Only useful for determining or identifying a problem’s root causes
  • Focuses mostly on historical data or your organization


As a leader, when there appears to be too many options to choose from and there are so many things going on that it is hard to determine what is most important inside an organization, the Pareto Analysis aims to aid in the discovery of the most critical and significant options. Having the ability to access accurate data is required when implementing the Pareto Analysis affectively. However, if done correctly, the Analysis can help break down a large problem into smaller pieces, help you decide on where to spend your time, and help improve how you utilize your companies resources.

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