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Processes are refined, and you quality check product batches to assure every product is perfectly manufactured and functions as it should. However, sometimes defective products will slip through the cracks, and that is when you get that call from a customer complaining you need to fix the problem quickly and effectively.

Replacing the product can be the easy answer, but to prevent further errors arising, it is essential to determine where the defect occurred and why. To do this you need to action a Root Cause Analysis (RCA).

There are several different techniques to determine the root cause of a defective, all with the main steps:

  •    Determine the exact nature of the defect
  •    Determine how the defect occurred
  •    Collect data and evidence regarding why the defect happened
  •    Determine how to reduce the chances of it reoccurring

Root Cause Analysis works on the basis that events and systems are related, where as one action will trigger an action in another area.

It is a process of tracing back these actions to the original cause and assessing it. It is important to keep asking ‘why?’ as you work your way back through the process map looking at all areas of the process.

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Materials – defective raw materials, wrong material for the product type, sub par materials

Manpower – Lack of knowledge or skill, stress affecting performance, inadequate capability

Machine/Equipment – Incorrect tools used, poor maintenance, defective tools used

Environment –  forces of nature, workplace atmosphere, work layout/design

Management –  Inattention to the task, lack of process, task risks not recognized

Methods – Job process not followed accurately, poor communication between steps

All these can contribute to a defective product, or an other error experienced within a business.

There are several techniques available to conduct a Root Cause Analysis, all dependent on the type of problem being identified.

Analysis such as the Change Analysis, looking at the situation that did not exhibit this problem and comparing it to the one that did to determine why the problem occurred. For complex systems, there is the Current Reality Tree, developed by Eliyahu M. Goldratt, using a cause effect tree that starts with the undesirable outcomes and guides through to one or more root causes. A popular one is the Fishbone Analysis, is a cause and effect diagram, simple yet effective in rooting out the root cause. Regardless of the technique used they all follow a similar path to find the root cause, and fix it.

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But what happens if you determine the root cause, fix it, and update the customer, then the customer calls back with another problem a few months later?

It can happen, and it has happened to many companies who follow the Root Cause Analysis word for word, and resolve the issue, yet it keeps happening once changes are made. I have many clients experience this, and it has taken approaching the process from a different direction using practices from the Japanese masters, to finally resolve the issue – PERMANENTLY.

I am now offering to teach this method, and how I discovered it at a select number of workshops in the upcoming months. Our next workshop is October 11th – 12th, 2017 in San Francisco, CA, where I will be teaching the Root Cause Analysis, and the additional CA+ steps to assure you permanently solve the issue. It will combine your current tools, with a new way of thinking to drastically reduce the risks, improve opportunities, and increase the success of implementing corrective measures.

If you would love to join us, please choose a date on the Workshop page. I will be visiting:

  •    Austin, TX – SOLD OUT
  •    San Francisco, CA
  •    Dallas, TX
  •    Chicago, IL
  •    Newark, NJ

All workshops last 2 days, and you will be provided lunch, drinks, and an intimate classroom setting, walking you through example situations and how to approach them.

I look forward to seeing you there.