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Root Cause Analysis

When there is a break or change in the flow of a process, an investigation should be done to have a complete understanding of the situation – the situation is usually called an “Event”. Understanding why an event occurred is the key to developing effective recommendations. Root Cause Analysis is a way to determine how a problematic event occurred; it is a method of solving problem that aims at identifying the root causes of problems or events as opposed to other methods that focus on addressing the symptoms of problems.
It is designed to not just identify WHAT and HOW an event occurred but also WHY it has happened, this helps to find the root cause and reduce reoccurrence of the problem in the future. It is not practical to think that a single corrective action will completely prevent recurrence of the problem; this is why root cause analysis is often considered to be an iterative process.
The basic process consists of a number of basic steps. These corrective measures will lead to the true cause of the problem.
• Define the problem: The factual description of the incident – use both qualitative and quantitative information (nature, size, locations and timing) of the results in question.
• Collect data and evidence and classify: The data and evidence has to be collected and classified along a time line of incidents until the eventual problem or incident is found. Each special deviation in the form of behaviour, condition, action and passivity must be recorded in the time line.
• Always ask: Repeatedly ask ‘why’ to identify the effects and record the causes associated with each step in the sequence toward the defined problem or incident.
• Classify the causes within the causal factors: Always classify the causes that relate to a crucial moment in the sequence including the underlying causes. If there are multiple causes, which is often the case, document these, preferably in order of sequence for a future selection. Identify all other harmful factors.
• Think of corrective actions or improvement measures: Try to come up with solutions that will ensure prevention of recurrence with a sufficient degree of certainty. Search for corrective actions or improvement measures that can be implemented to avoid mishaps or failures.
• Think of effective solutions that can prevent recurrence: Think for solutions that fulfil the intended goals and objectives and must not cause any new and unforeseen problems.
• Implement the solutions: Go ahead with the solution that has been made by consensus.
• Monitor the effectiveness: Watch over the solutions closely and adjust if necessary.
The techniques used for ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS:
1) 5 whys
2) Tabular Method-Technique
3) Fishbone Diagram
4) Decision Analysis
5) Strategy Analysis
With the basic steps and techniques mentioned above a preferable and amicable solution to a problem can be found.

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One comment

  1. Very Good information, Thank you

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