Problem Solving Root Cause Analysis

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Consider applying a different type of root cause analysis if your standard process isn’t well defined enough to provide a good basis for comparison.

Also, depending on how variable your processes are, the number of moving parts might significantly increase the scope of this type of analysis.

Causal factor analysis requires identifying all of the contributing events that led to the problem.

Avoid the pitfall of focusing on the most obvious, final contributors.

One of the ways to delve into all of the causes is by leveraging the “5 Whys”.

The For example, imagine your cost of scrap increased over the last quarter.Using the 5 Whys can help you identify the causal factors that contributed to the problem you would like to prevent in the future.For basic challenges, the 5 Whys themselves can be enough to get to the root cause of the problem.–you might uncover that there has been significant operator turnover over the last period.Ask why again and you could learn that a few of your experienced operators retired.In the non-technical example provided above, a clear solution to the problem would be to replace the latch so the gate closes without needing a brick to hold it closed.With more sophisticated problems, the 5 Whys might not be enough to solve the root of the issue. What happens if you factor in that the plant waited to hire new team members until a week before the experienced operators retired?The goal it to prevent it from happening again in the future.Before you can complete a root cause analysis, you must collect as much data as possible about the events and people involved in the lead up.This type of analysis seeks to expose which deviation from regular procedure, or change, drove the unfavorable event.This is the type of analysis manufacturing folks typically think of when discussing change analysis. Looking for a deviation from a norm also results in a clear corrective action.


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