Monday, September 5, 2011

The Basics of Reliability Series: Problem Solving or Cause Analysis

Problem solving or root cause analysis (CA) is all about continuous improvement with a repeatable and sustainable process that drives results. There are three key points to make with the graphics contained in this Single Point Lesson (SPL) .
First of all, we have to get past the physical roots into the systemic and latent roots to get the maximized  return on investment from our cause analysis efforts.
Secondly, CA without a process leads to reports and documents without results and returns on investment.
The third and final point is that simple is good, but not too simple. You do not have to always complete elaborate reports and analysis for every problem, but on the other hand, do not miss a root cause by being too simple. This balance is driven off of the dollars associated with the situation. For example, you can start with a 5 Why approach to CA (shown in blue on the CA single point lesson) and if you discover that the problem is bigger than that or the return supports more effort, then branch out from the 5 Why and create a fault tree (shown in black on the single point lesson). If you discover that you are left with multiple scenarios or questions that you cannot answer, simply take that next step and add in logic of “and” and “or”, and use the logic tree to dig deeper (shown as the addition of the purple symbols on the single point lesson). This simple process is what we call the transitional method to CA, and it allows you to take it to the level that makes sense for the problem.
This CA effort supports your quest to eliminate or mitigate equipment problems, process problems, and job plan and estimation issues as long as you follow through to implementation and verification. 
Remember there is no benefit until you make a change!

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed learning more of SPL's with you at the SMRP conference. This was my first conference where I spoke and hope to attend next year to speak on how to write an effective SPL.