Tools for Root Cause Analysis
Training in Root Cause Analysis includes developing analytical skills and to expose the real reasons behind low performance, accidents, production failures, machine failures and other adverse events. These may involve the identification and mapping of processes, procedures, activities, inactivity, behaviors or conditions.
RMP conducting RCA training at CBNC in Rio Tuba, Palawan, Philippines
Following are some of the Basic Tools used in RCA
A mind map is a visual representation of the process or business that we are examining. I have found that many of my participants in my training seminars have a difficult time communicating the circumstances of an incident with words. However, given some Manila paper and crayons, they are very well able to draw exactly what is happening at their workplace. I have found Mind Mapping to be an excellent way to encourage brainstorming among participants.
This technique is sometimes also called “spider diagrams,” “mind webs”, and “idea sun bursting”.
A search in the internet will reveal that there are many possible sources of this technique. I remember being taught in school that the proper way to start a report for a news story was to always begin with
We just add the last H (how) and we have our 5W1H.
The 5W1H is very useful in the initial collection of information to help us grasp the current situation and correctly define the problem, as in
Ishikawa Diagrams(Cause and Effect Diagrams)
This tool was created by Kaoru Ishikawa of Japan. It is often used by a team to list down all the possible causes of a problem and hopefully find the root cause. The diagram very much resembles the skeleton of a fish and is often referred to as a Fishbone or Herringbone Diagram.
The Effect is placed at where the head of the fish would be and the spines are the primary causes. The primary causes for Manufacturing are often referred to as the 4 M’s that is: Man, Method, Machine and Material. For Service applications, we look at Equipment, Policies, Procedures, and People. Two other causes we can look at would be Money and Environment.
Secondary causes would be drawn as laterals to the main spines.
alt=”Fishbone Ishikawa Diagram” title=”Fishbone Ishikawa Diagram” width=”490″ height=”260″ border=”0″ />
Creating Ishikawa diagrams can take some time to complete and may require quite a lot of expertize from the users. The 5 Whys approach is a simpler approach made popular in the 1970s by the Toyota Production System. The 5 Whys strategy involves looking at any problem and asking: “Why?” and “What caused this problem?”. The answer to the first “why” will prompt the second “why”. The answer to the second “why” will prompt another and so on until the root cause of the problem is discovered; hence the name the 5 Whys strategy.
Very often, when we ask production people the first why, their first answer is always that the machine or plant is already too old and needs to be replaced. Of course this isn’t going to happen, so we go to the next “why” until we get to the root cause.
The main advantage of the 5 Whys is that it is simple, and easy to learn and apply. All employees can learn this technique very easily and contribute to productivity.
Other Useful Tools
Sometimes, the root cause of the problem is not easily discernable using the Ishikawa Diagram and the 5 Whys
RMP specializes in helping organizations with their operations by teaching the various problem solving and decision making concepts and tools that have been proven to be effective in increasing productivity and reducing costs.
Once you have discovered the Root Cause of the problem and have fixed it, the next step is to create a control system that monitors your processes and warns you if the same problem or another problem crops up. The Seven Quality Controls Tools (7 QC Tools) can be very helpful here. Click 7 QC Tools to learn more about them.
In-house and Private Exclusive Workshop Formats
Due to the sensitive nature of the topics discussed, this workshop is best availed of as an exclusive private workshop for small groups and as an in-house seminar program. A two or three day format is recommended depending on the needs of your company. The workshop can be custom fitted to your needs and can include coaching and practice sessions.
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About the Author
Rafael M. Pefianco MPM FAAPM
Rafael M. Pefianco is a highly trained Mechanical Engineer. He has a wide experience in managing warehouses and distribution businesses. He is an International trainer whose passion is to enable Filipino professionals to reach world class levels by sharing the insights he has gathered working and teaching abroad and in the Philippines. He is a Master Project Manager and a Fellow of the American Academy of Project Management. Please click [Background of Raffy Pefianco] to read more about him.
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