Touching the Surface of Root Cause Analysis

When there is an issue or problem in your business, you don’t want it to linger and cause deeper problems. You want to fix it forever.  This is a job for Root Cause Analysis (RCA) — find the cause, fix it and never allow it to happen again.

The Process of Root Cause Analysis

  • Establish the problem or issue
  • Define the problem or issue
  • Understand the problem or issue
  • Establish the Root Cause
  • Apply corrective action
  • Monitor the newly corrected process

A clear understanding of the problem is extremely important. If you don’t have a clear understanding of the problem and what this issue affects and why it is happening, establishing an accurate root cause is very difficult. Remember, we want to eradicate the problem permanently, not just treat the symptoms or put a band-aid on it.

Fishbone Diagram

A Fishbone diagram is an exceptional tool that allows us a visual of the possible root causes of a problem. This is also referred to as “Cause and Effect.” Once you thoroughly identify and define and understand the problem, this chart will help find the probable causes.

5 Whys

This tool is by far the best tool for getting started in identifying the root cause of a problem, because it helps strip away top layers of underlying issues. The 5 Whys will save time, and it is used without having to have any analytical data. You just keep asking “why” until you get to the root of the problem.

Pareto Chart

A Pareto chart is a great tool when there are many problems or causes and you want to focus on the most important one. It can also be referred to as a bar graph.

The above is an abbreviated summary of the process of Root Cause Analysis. Get more information on our Six Sigma training courses and services today!


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