Root Cause analysis (RCA) may be the formal search for someone or band of interacting true factors behind a problem. Hard section of professional solving problems is always to find out the right tool(s) effective at identifying the real source(s) of your problem and not simply the outward symptoms. It is common to discover more than just one root cause with a problem, so be suspicious if you just choose one source to your problem. RCA can be pointed at any easy and complex problem but the designated problem solver has to understand what method to use for various forms of problems. For instance, let's consider two different issues in need of solutions:
1. Fast food drive-through window customers complain that their orders take too long to get filled.
2. You can not produce high quality plastic parts created from your machine which has 25 knobs on it for that control settings.
You would hopefully apply different processes to get the root causes for each and every of the aforementioned problems but often, running a business, that is not the truth. Many times, exactly the same tool is used to fix every problem. In the worst of all scenario, the popular "GOFAAT" Problem-solving Method (Guessing One Factor at the same time) is used to attempt resolution both for problems.
While using GOFAAT method to solve problem #1 would look like this: Center manager would run around after each client complaint and scold employee Joe one day, then employee Mary or Larry the next day then scream in the slow cooking french fry machine the day after that. GOFAAT problem-solving is a kind of but ineffective method to attempt problem solving however this fact doesn't dampen its popularity. It is certainly not called GOFAAT by of its fans nevertheless it must be defined as such to show some organizations to their shortcomings in their solving problems efforts.
With all the GOFAAT approach to solve problem #2 would seem like this: mold machine operator Terry would spin dial number 7 (lucky 7) a bit off to the right when things go wrong with the hope that is likely to make the product quality problem go away. Mold machine operator Jerry would spin dial number 13 just a little on the left when things fail, longing for a miracle. The Clever mold machine Operator Tito would spin dial number 3 and 5 far to the right when things fail in hopes of solving the situation. Incidentally, Terry, Jerry and Tito never speak to the other person since they work on different shifts and management does not allow this group enough time to talk about their issues. Unfortunately, this can be a common situation that lots of professional problem solvers encounter once they investigate certain serious problems in business.
You can find roughly 18 different families of Source Analysis Techniques used today. They're the following. The low numbers generally depict simpler and much more unsophisticated techniques and the higher numbers generally want more training and experience to utilize those methods correctly. You will find 3 categories of problem solving techniques: Groups A, B and C. Group A techniques can be utilized by a small group of would-be problem solvers with little training. Group B and C techniques require more training as well as software to fix the difficulties.
Group A Problem Solving Techniques include Methods #1-5, which include:
1. GOFAAT method (Guessing One factor At any given time)
2. "Whack-A-Mole" Problem-solving method
3. Total Quality Management (TQM) > other Basic Brainstorming Techniques
4. Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) > Disciplined Gap Analysis > Closure
5. Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) continuous improvement techniques
Problem Solving Technique #1 in the list above will be the earlier mentioned GOFAAT method (Guessing One factor At A Time). This method requires no training to apply and is utilized by an individual or a small team to aim resolution of the problem. The usage of it since the primary means of solving problems would be at the bottom of the scale of sophistication if this relates to competency in solving problems. It might be reliant on luck when the GOFAAT problem solving method actually solved any problem anywhere.
The 2nd most undesirable Problem Solving Way is what I call the "Whack-A-Mole" method. It's very popular amongst professionals and managers however it is unproductive and it generates lots of wasteful and useless action. This is how the Whack-A-Mole method works: A particular manager runs a sizable factory with 550 those who sew and glue bits of material together to create purses. The manager with this factory lives a complicated life with several disasters erupting in his/her business every couple of days; sometimes a few disasters erupt daily. While using Whack-A-Mole method, this purse factory manager moves his/her best individuals to fight a challenge in a corner in the commercial where the big problems are creating chaos. Everything else inside the factory turns into a much lower priority even though this "Whacking" continues on. A few days later, the Manager moves these problem fighters to fight another disaster that erupted in another corner of the purse factory. The manager doesn't have time for you to worry if the last fire was fully put out, he/she only cares it's tamed down and from his/her radar screen of the top 3 issues.
Whack-A-Mole efforts often address the signs and symptoms of the problem and not the actual root causes. It really is utilized by frantic, stressed-out, untrained and unenlightened pros who feel that any intense number of activities will invariably yield great results. Unfortunately, only logical, efficient and effective actions get results. Professionals should try to learn how to work smarter rather than harder.
The GOFAAT and Whack-A-Mole methods can lead to chaos and unresolved issues running a business.
The remainder of the Group An issue Solving Techniques listed are more professional forms of solving problems techniques that folks or ad-hoc teams can use following a certain amount of specialty training. The basis causes for low complexity problems might be identified with methods #3-5 with the use of friendly debate, team consensus as well as the democratic process of team voting. Hard statistics and data verification of root causes are generally not employed for this group or problem-solving techniques. These methods can be effectively used on simpler problems. They may not always set things right . but many of times their efforts will pay off, if they are employed correctly inside a disciplined way.
Group B Problem-solving Techniques #6-11 include:
6. Lean Manufacturing > Lean Office
7. Time > Motion Studies / Spaghetti Charting
8. Seven Basic Tools of Quality
9. Lean Kaizen Events
10. Process mapping with 10 layers of research
11. Six Sigma and/or Lean > TRIZ
These types of techniques require very accurate information and/or data to achieve success. These tools could be accustomed to address the Not-So-Fast drive-through window customer complaint problem mentioned at the outset of this short article. A Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Black Belt, Lean Master or another highly trained professional is able to solve these kinds of problems by using the right tools at the proper time. Specialized training is required to correctly execute they. These Group B problem solving techniques have a higher odds of identifying the right root causes compared to Group A techniques. Group B techniques should be used for damage that is more challenging to fix. They ought to be applied when simple team brainstorming is not going to yield the actual root causes.
Group C Problem-solving Techniques #12-18 include:
12. 3D > Multi-stratification-level graphing
13. Statistical Hypothesis Testing
14. Simple Regression Analysis
15. Multiple Variable Regression
16. Neural Networks > DOEs
17. Off-The-Chart DOE Optimization
18. Artificial Intelligence
These methods demand a certain amount of accurate data concerning the problem that'll be analyzed with specific software make it possible for the situation solving way to become successful. These tools could possibly be employed to address the not so good quality plastic parts story mentioned at the beginning of this short article. The abilities needed to use these problem-solving techniques could be possessed by Lean Six Sigma Black Belts, Master Black Belts along with other very skilled and trained professionals. These methods are typically applied when all the other efforts failed to get at the root cause and solve the issue.