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Root Cause Analysis: The Core Of Problem Solvin...


How do you solve a problem? Do you find yourself using quick and easy solutions or a structured methodology? Too often, organizations tend to seek quick solutions to a problem without adequately addressing its underlying cause. These decisions often result in solutions that don't work or aren't sustainable, often wasting time, effort, and money. To combat these issues and adopt a fresh approach, teams can use the methods and tools of Root Cause Problem Solving. By first viewing a problem as an opportunity for improvement, the team can then identify the problem's root cause or causes, and implement solutions to prevent the problem's reoccurrence.




Root Cause Analysis: The Core of Problem Solvin...



This six module course introduces the Root Cause Problem Solving approach. It explains how using Root Cause analysis can help improve operational and financial performance by identifying root causes and implementing solutions to significant or recurring problems. This methodology is used by many major automotive manufacturers to improve quality and customer satisfaction, reduce operation costs, and provide greater employee knowledge of work processes.


So which type of root cause analysis tool is the best one to use? Manufacturers have a range of methods at their fingertips, each of which is appropriate for different situations. Below we discuss five common root cause analysis tools, including:


A fishbone diagram sorts possible causes into various categories that branch off from the original problem. Also called a cause-and-effect or Ishakawa diagram, a fishbone diagram may have multiple sub-causes branching off of each identified category.


While these tools can be useful when analyzing problems, they are hardly the core of problem solving or root cause analysis. The charts can be a good way to organize the information collected for problem solving, but more often than not, the large wall charts intimidate people from participating in root cause.


An effective root cause analysis process can improve production reliability significantly. But, few organizations have a functioning root cause analysis process in place. This article will discuss common problems and


Through corrective actions, the underlying causes are addressed so that recurrence of the problem can be minimized. It is utopian to think that a single corrective action will completely prevent recurrence of the problem. This is why root cause analysis is often considered to be an iterative process.


By performing an RCA it is discovered that the problem lies with a pump in the automatic lubrication mechanism. By determining the root cause of the defect by means of an RCA, the same problem can be prevented after an appropriate response.


Think of effective solutions that can prevent recurrence of the causes and to which all involved colleagues and team members can agree. These solutions must comply with the intended goals and objectives and must not cause any new and unforeseen problems.


The Kepner Tregoe Method is a method based on facts in which the possible causes are systematically excluded in order to find the real cause. This method also disconnects the problem is from the decision.


It is important to distinguish between root cause, causal factors and non-causal factors. This is done by correlating the sequence of events with the size, nature, and timing of the problem. One way to detect underlying causal factors is to use clustering and data mining.


Finally, from the sequences of events, researchers must create an additional set of events that actually caused the problem. This is then converted into a causal graph. To be effective, the Root Cause Analysis must be performed systematically.


This form of problem solving is often a team effort. Think of the analysis of aircraft accidents. For this, the conclusions of researchers and identified causes must be supported by documented evidence.


Taking corrective action is not formally part of the RCA as the goal is to eliminate the root cause of a problem. Still, it is an important step that is added to virtually all Root Cause Analyses. This step is therefore to add long-term corrective actions so the problem does not develop in the same way as before.


There are various forms of training for managers and other persons for which it is important to carry out a correct RCA. These courses are ideal for people who need to understand Root Cause Analysis terminology and process for professional use. Participating in such training courses helps to understand the importance of identifying the root cause of a problem to ensure it does not recur. In addition, courses help to identify common barriers and problems in conducting a RCA.


A Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a method for identifying the root causes of various problems. There are several methods and techniques that are used for this purpose: Fishbone Diagram, 5 whys method, Barrier Analysis and the Kepner Tregoe Method.


Five elements are important in performing the RCA and always come back. First, it is imperative that there is a description and explanation of the events leading up to the identification of the problem. In addition, it is important to establish the correct chronology of these events. Subsequently, it must be possible to clearly distinguish between the root cause, causal factors and non-causal factors.


When the root causes of the problem are understood, involve your team in brainstorming about solutions. Be sure to consider how the solutions will affect all areas of the business. You can use Pareto analysis to focus on the causes that have the greatest impact on your business.


In the example above where painting contributed to long lead times, root cause analysis may reveal that the bottleneck at the painting stage is due to long drying time of the paint. The solution could be to speed up the paint drying process. Action plan items could include steps to speed up the drying time (e.g. buying a more powerful drying fan) and measuring the drying time as a baseline to improve.


If lead time goes down and clients get your product earlier, that could solve your customer satisfaction problem. If not, you may need to review the process to look for other root causes or solutions.


Anyone can contribute to the root cause analysis process and benefit from its tools and principles. So, the answer is simple: everyone. When it comes to the formation of a project team though, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind.


Most teams using root cause analysis to solve problems are small, only having 2-5 members. That said, depending on the problem and situational complexity, team size can vary. On rare occasions, they can even grow very large, spanning multiple departments with 30-60 members.


Step two, as you may guess from its name, focuses on finding potential causes of the event in question. Your goal should be to uncover as many causal reasons as possible. This pushes you to dig into the issues which will help you develop a deeper understanding of the problem.


In this step, all voices should be welcomed and encouraged through exercises such as brainstorming, process mapping, and Fishbone Diagrams. Creativity and free-thinking will serve the team well and deserve encouragement almost to the point of a mandate. All kidding aside, the goal is to cast a net wide enough around the problem scope so that identification and consideration of all possible causes are achievable.


In step three, we have arrived at the reason why we began: to uncover the root cause that lies at the heart of the problem. Several tools can help us reach our goal. Below is a list of the most common tools that manufacturers use.


The main ingredient for success at this step is tenacity and patience to see the project through to completion. There can be a tendency of project team members to bring the project to a conclusion. This is because the team will be approximately 4-8 weeks into the process at minimum at this point. Therefore, the team must be willing to avoid prematurely concluding that the problem was solved.


We have included the A3 method for three reasons. First, it is often the method that will be taught in connection with lean manufacturing principles. Second, many Evocon clients have had success using it. And third, by contrasting it with ASQ, we reinforce our point that root cause analysis has no standard definition.


Here again, A3 is essentially the same as ASQ in that both are concerned with identifying causes. The key difference here is that A3 does not separate the search for all potential causes for the search for the root cause. Other than this point, everything that has said in step 2 for ASQ applies here as well.


In this article, we have introduced the process to perform root cause analysis in much detail. This was accomplished by walking through six steps of two methodologies: ASQ Six Steps and A3 problem-solving. This step-by-step look at the process and tools of both will have given you the base level knowledge necessary so that you can begin utilizing root cause analysis in your plant today. 041b061a72


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