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It was adopted from the Japanese approach to management, most notably practiced by Mr. Shigeo Shingo , who would use the five whys on the production floor when he would tour manufacturing sites. In essence, Mr. This approach takes little time to perform. As few as five minutes can be used to perform a five why analysis, and it does not require the use of special software, flip chart paper, or reading materials. Disadvantages : The 5 Why approach normally leads to the identification of just one root cause for the problem in question.
Being able to do so effectively requires even more skill of the part of the question asker. It also does not necessarily point the problem solver towards the generic causes of similar problems.
While the use of this tool will lead to the definition of a root cause that is also a change that is needed a corrective action , it does not often result in a corrective action that is well developed and defined. Shingo was quite skilled at doing so. The training did cover root cause analysis in a sense, but more in the form of general problem analysis. The key components of the KT process include problem analysis, potential problem analysis, situation analysis, and decision analysis.
The Decision Analysis tool is a great tool, and I still advocate its use today, but it focuses on teaching people to evaluate possible improvement options in a systematic, fact-based manner, as opposed to finding root causes. Situation Analysis is used to assess the risk associated with possible improvements, and Potential Problem Analysis looks at the possible repercussions of failing to make a change.
To me, the Decision Analysis tool is one of the best out there for evaluating improvement options possible corrective actions. Disadvantages : Good information and a formal evaluation process helps keep the user of any of these tools from focusing too much on blaming people.
Well-rounded corrective action development is really not a focus of these tools as I remember them. Evaluating Root Cause Analysis Options: Fault Tree Analysis Features : My perspective of fault trees is that they encourage the user to 1 ask the five whys multiple times for a given type of problem and 2 evaluate several possible problem causes on one diagram similar to the manpower, methods, materials, and machines boxes on a fishbone diagram.
Like the other common root cause analysis approaches, fault trees tend to be a predominantly opinion-based tool, in that there are no predetermined questions that are used to help you create the branches of a given tree.
I find them to really be useful for troubleshooting reoccurring problems, such as quality defects, because such problems tend to have a common set of causes and sub-causes. Disadvantages : Fault trees typically fail because 1 people do not use them in a disciplined manner to develop multiple problem causes at each level, 2 multiple levels of potential causes exist to be sorted through for each problem type, and 3 they are opinion driven. They often tend to be a blend of a cause effect diagram and a flow chart, but in such cases, the user can easily get lost and not arrive at any particular root cause.
Advantages : It is always useful to compare what should have happened to what did happen when analyzing a problem, but this effort alone will not lead you the root causes of, and corrective actions for, preventing the problem in the future. Disadvantages : The Change Analysis tool appears to be limited to comparing what should have happened to what did happen, and in turn does not lead you to the actual root causes of, and corrective actions for, preventing that problem in the future.
Evaluating Root Cause Analysis Options: Fishbone or Ishikawa Diagram Features : This tool is perhaps the oldest, and most well known, tool for conducting a root cause analysis. In its most common form of use, the user attempts to define multiple possible causes for a given problem in the four areas of manpower, methods, materials, and machines. The five why technique is often used with this tool to construct the bones of the chart, with the answer to each why resulting in a new branch being created off of the previous one that the question originated from.
Advantages : This tool is better than nothing, and serves as a useful tool for getting individual opinions onto a sheet of paper so that everyone involved can talk about them and suggest additional possible causes. In a lot ways, it is similar to identifying the conditions for a snapchart, but that is where the comparison ends. Worse yet, opinion voting of some form is normally used to select the most likely causes from those listed on the diagram. Teams are then encouraged to test different countermeasures for the selected causes to see if the problem goes away, which can be both time consuming and costly.
The tool also does not focus on finding and eliminating generic causes. The results that you get from using this tool versus the time invested to use it will almost always far outweigh the results you will get from the time invested using any of the above tools — the time required per tool application is not much, if any, greater, and the quality of results is far superior.
Would You Like to Learn More? I believe that this approach to root cause analysis far exceeds the more opinion-based approaches that have been used for years, such as fishbone diagrams, 5 Whys, and fault tree analysis. In turn, it can be used to error proof your work systems.
If you want to reduce significant amounts of waste, improve customer satisfaction levels, and grow your business, you need work systems that promote effective, daily human performance and minimize the potential for equipment breakdowns.
If you would like a quote, simply click on this link to request a quote via e-mail. These two and five day workshops focus on teaching and sharing root cause analysis and investigation best practices.
ISBN 13: 9781893130012
TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis
New TapRooTÂ® Publications: Improving Patient Safety Through Advanced Root Cause Analysis