What is Root Cause Analysis (RCA)

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What is Root Cause Analysis (RCA) 2016-08-26T12:33:33+00:00

Root Cause Analysis can be used in different scenarios and for different purposes like problem solving or continuous Improvement.
Some examples is seen below

  • Investigate an issue.
  • Determine why a machine or some equipment intermittently keep failing.
  • Preventing a potential problem from happening
  • Eliminate or reduce waste
  • Increase efficiency of a process

Root Cause Analysis Explained

The main function of Root Cause Analysis which is also implied by its name, is that it go in-depth to find the underlying reason for a problem (also called root cause). If only treating symptoms of a problem, you would only temporary solve a problem, or end with a solution that often is costly to maintain and not sustainable in the long term.

Why use Root Cause Analysis

Problems happens, the severity and the extent of the problem, and how long it will keep coming back, depends on how we response to them.
It is human nature to rush directly to solve problem as soon as it occur, and jump lightly over the analysis side of it. As also indicated above, then this is merely just a temporary solution and the problem will come back and haunt you again at a later date, as the core reason for it was not removed. Potentially it could come back in a much worse or severe form.
Root Cause Analysis can be used in almost any situation where there is a gap between actual and desired performance. The Root Cause Analysis will find the underlying contradictions that led to the issue, so if you want your problem to go away and not reoccur, you need to remove the underlying root cause of the problem.

When to apply RCA

Below are a few examples of when RCA can be applied

  • Accidents
  • Human errors
  • Improving a manufacturing process
  • Environmental problems
  • Increase efficiency

Root Cause Analysis Tools

The purpose of RCA is to identify all the contributing causes to a problem, for doing this analysis we have several RCA Tools or methodologies available.
See some of the tools listed below.

5 Whys: It is a simple technique that was developed within Toyota Motors. The approach was that by asking why five times, you would get to the underlying root cause of the problem.

Fishbone Diagram: This tool is also known as Cause and Effect or Ishikawa Diagram. The Fishbone Diagram is used to identify possible causes for a problem. It is a tool used together with brainstorming for categorising the potential causes into categories and identifying its root causes.

Pareto Chart: Vilfredo Pareto invented the Pareto Chart back in 1897 to show the uneven distribution of wealth. Today it is known as the 80/20 rule, or 20% of the problems cause 80% if the defects.

If you are interested in Root Cause Analysis and decreasing the amount of repeat issues in your organisation, then our 8D Problem Solving Training might be interesting for you. The training is a detailed training on how to effectively solve problems and prevent them from reoccurring.

Alternatively you can continue to our quality training page for an overview of the training we provide.

Go to Quality Training

Root Cause Analysis