root cause analysis

Root Cause Analysis. Where does your business stand?

The Importance of Root Cause Analysis

RCA can save an organisation massive amounts of time and money. Identifying and remediating specific problems are crucial for the success of any project. A root cause analysis helps you improve your organisation’s safety and reliability and provides lessons for avoiding future challenges.

Focusing on only one root cause limits your potential solutions and creates unnecessary challenges in the workplace. Defining problems is the only way to implement solutions that work.

Applying RCA

There are a large number of techniques and strategies that we can use for root cause analysis. Below we’ll briefly cover the Five Whys, The Fishbone Diagram and Change Analysis. Tableau shows these are some of the most common and widely valuable techniques.

5 Whys

“One of the more common techniques in performing a root cause analysis is the 5 Whys Approach. We may also think of this as the annoying toddler approach. For every answer to a WHY question, follow it up with an additional, deeper “OK, but WHY?” question. Common wisdom suggests that about five WHY questions can lead us to most root causes – but we could need as few as two or as many as 50 WHYs”.

Change Analysis

“Another useful method of exploring root cause analysis is carefully analysing the changes leading up to an event. This method is convenient when there are many potential causes. Instead of looking at the specific day or hour that something went wrong, we look at a longer period and gain a historical context,” explains Tableau.

The Fishbone Diagram

“Another common technique is creating A Fishbone Diagram, Also Called An Ishikawa Diagram, to visually map cause and effect. This can help identify possible causes for a problem by encouraging us to follow absolute branched paths to potential causes until we end up at the right one. It’s similar to the 5 Whys but much more visual”.

RCA in Action

Root Cause Analysis should be performed as soon as a problem presents itself. “The sooner, the better’ could not be more appropriate. Putting an RCA strategy in place could mean forming a small team to investigate the root cause. A line manager may supplement the team with the power to implement solutions.

ASQ explains, “The analysis lasts about two months. During the analysis, equal emphasis is placed on defining and understanding the problem, brainstorming its possible causes, analysing causes and effects, and devising a solution to the problem. During the analysis period, the team meets at least weekly, sometimes two or three times a week. The meetings are always kept short, at a maximum of two hours, and since they are meant to be creative, the agenda is quite loose”.

A wide variety of industries can benefit from RCA. An organisational culture around continuous improvement is vital for any business. RCA is highly applicable in the sectors of manufacturing, science, engineering, technology logistics, procurement, health and safety.

Contact TSS Global for more information on Root Cause Analysis. Take the guessing out of your business’s risks.