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Improve #15: STEP FOUR - Analyze the Root Cause

We are already half-way learning the process. We pinpointed the problem, we have broken it in parts, we have set target assignments and set deadlines for them. So, now it's time to talk about causes. Yes, "causes" but not just any "causes" but Root Cause of the problem


STEP FOUR - Analyze the Root Cause


One of the main issues when problem-solving is not understanding the differences between problems, symptoms, causes, and effects. That's right. Let's think of a real-life example: A flight is delayed because there is bad weather (not because the pilot takes too long to walk to the cockpit). A flight delay may become a problem for some passengers because they will miss a connecting flight. So, an experienced traveler that knows that bad weather may lead to missed connecting flights, he/she will immediately work on finding a new connecting flight instead of wasting time complaining to the airline about a delay. An experienced traveler knows how to identify the problem and its cause and therefore, by connecting a problem with the cause, does something about it.

The same thing happens in the problem-solving process. Knowing to recognize the difference between problems and their cause or causes is indispensable. Not being able to recognize the difference leads to a flawed solution.


Therefore, knowing the Root Cause is essential, and Analyzing the Root Cause is vital because it will help you identify the actual factors that caused the issue in the first place. To analyze correctly, we must identify the factors that cause the problem. These are generally more than one. More often than not, there are multiple root causes to analyze.

Make sure you are considering all potential root causes and addressing them properly.

So, don't get stuck with just one. You can start with a few and use the process of elimination until you get to the Root Cause.


APPLICATION:

Remember our case story? Let's assume that the problem is "Too many returned shoes". Can you think of a few root causes of the problem?


Please use the comment section to reply.

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14 Comments


Geraldine Recinos
Geraldine Recinos
Mar 18, 2020

Assuming that the problem is "Too many returned shoes", the root from the problem could be: -Low quality products / raw materials

-No control of returns (Not classifying them by cause of return, no follow up with the client to check reason, no person in charge of the return department)

-Department with no training/adequate personal to handle the situation.

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Jaime Pineda
Jaime Pineda
Mar 17, 2020

The main problem for me is that they are returning too many shoes.

1. They do not have a correct shoe return policy.

2. Lack of a quality control department.

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Patty Escobar
Patty Escobar
Mar 17, 2020

Following the assumption of "Too many returned shoes", the roots of the problem could be: 1. Physical causes: machinery failure, defective raw material, obsolete equipment and tools, poor working conditions

2. Human causes: Lack of knowledge of processes and procedures, personnel not suitable for the process, nobody follows up on the customer for reviews.


3. Organizational causes: employees do not move under the same objective, lack of leadership in the area of quality control, there are no correct working methods

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Milton Figueroa
Milton Figueroa
Mar 16, 2020

By God's grace, I have had the opportunity to learn a little about continuous improvement and I want to share how we can find the root cause using the 5's Why? technique

Example:

Cause: Poor quality material coming from the main factory.

Why? R/ Purchases are not being audited

Why? R/ the number of materials received is high and the warehouse supervisor does not have an assistant

Why? R/ The previous assistant retired 5 years ago and has not hired another.

Why? R/  The position is frozen


Then root cause could be "There is no a person who has been assigned the task of checking the quality of products coming from the supplier factory"

 

We stop asking Why? until…

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Karla Saavedra
Karla Saavedra
Mar 16, 2020

If the problem is "too many returned shoes", the root causes might be:

1. The quality of the materials and final product.

2. There is no return policy or the existing one don’t have filters to protect the owner from getting too many returns.

3. The orders are not checked before the deliver.

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