Root Cause Analysis: Boosting Your Factory’s Operations

As a factory manager, you’re responsible for overseeing a complex system of production, quality control, and employee management. 

To do this the right way and improve your operational excellence, you need the right problem-solving tools.

Today, we tell you how Root Cause Analysis (RCA) can help you increase the productivity, profitability, and overall quality of your production chain.

What is Root Cause Analysis?

Root Cause Analysis is a problem-solving method that identifies and solves the core cause of a problem instead of just treating the symptoms.

This method is quite versatile and it can be used to address different issues, from equipment failures to quality problems.

RCA helps factory managers make informed decisions to improve their operations and prevent similar problems from happening again in the future.

Root Cause Analysis involves a systematic approach to problem-solving that you can implement in a few easy steps, making it a great method to add to your toolkit along with QRQC or 8D

The Root Cause Analysis Process

Because the RCA process consists of six steps only, it doesn’t take long to add to your problem-solving routines, and because of how easy it is to follow, it won’t bring you any unnecessary headaches.

Root Cause Analysis Graph

Step 1 — Define the problem

The first and most important step in the RCA process is to define the problem clearly and concisely

At this stage, you need to identify both the issue and its effect on the factory.

This is the time to involve anybody affected by this issue in the process. This includes operators, management, and maintenance workers.

Step 2 — Gather data

After you define the problem, you then need to start gathering data.

At this point, you need to be as thorough as possible, and the data you collect needs to give you information such as: 

  • How does this problem affect safety?
  • Where did it happen?
  • How often does it happen?
  • How does it affect production?

The more relevant information you add about the problem, the more effective your Root Cause Analysis process will be when dealing with the problem quickly and effectively.

Step 3 —  Analyse data

After gathering the data, you need to analyse it.

The best way to do this is by trying to find patterns or trends in the data you collected. This can lead you to find the potential causes of the problem. 

Step 4 —  Identify the root cause

Once you’ve analysed the data, you should have a clear idea of what the root cause of the problem is.

All you need to do now is identify the root cause based on the data you gathered to take appropriate measures to solve it.

Step 5 —  Develop and implement solutions

After identifying the root cause, you then need to develop and implement solutions. 

The most effective way of doing this is by creating a plan to deal with the root cause effectively. This plan should also reflect preventive measures to make sure the problem doesn’t happen again.

Step 6 — Monitor progress

This last step is key to ensuring you implemented the Root Cause Analysis process properly.

To monitor how your solutions are impacting the root cause of the issue, you need to track KPIs to make sure the problem is solved and the solutions you put in place are effective.

If this isn’t the case, then you need to find different solutions.

Benefits of Root Cause Analysis

As with any other problem-solving method, RCA comes with some undeniable perks when it comes to improving daily industrial operations:

  • Increases efficiency — when you find and fix the root cause of a problem, it’s easier to streamline your operations and reduce waste in the process
  • Improves quality — this method works well to identify and solve issues that affect quality control
  • Prevents future problems — because the way this process works is by creating a plan to tackle the root cause of an issue as well as enforcing preventive measures, the chances of recurring problems are slim
  • Increased productivity — when everything works properly, productivity goes up and downtime goes down, which in turn makes your bottom line expand
  • Improves communication and decision-making — because everybody affected by the issue is involved in the RCA process, communication flows both ways and decision-making gets easier thanks to data-based input
  • Improves cost-efficiency — this method is great to increase profits, as it improves efficiency, prevents quality control issues, and reduces waste.

How to implement Root Cause Analysis in your factory

You can implement RCA in your factory easily in a few steps, but for it to be truly successful, you need to make sure you’re following these tips:

Implementing Root Cause Analysis

Start small — Don’t try to fix everything at once. Choose just one problem to solve with RCA, and focus on implementing a solution for that problem. Once this is done, you can look at other areas in your factory.

Involve everybody — Don’t let people out. If you gather feedback from everybody affected by the issue, your chances of developing successful solutions are higher than if you’re working in a vacuum.

Use the right tools — Don’t use tools that aren’t suited for the job. There are many problem-solving tools that can help you gather and analyse data just the way you need it. Use them.

Train your people — Don’t assume everybody knows how RCA works. Teach everybody how to collect and analyse data properly, as well as develop and implement solutions. This makes your team stronger and better at problem-solving.

mlean® and Root Cause Analysis

Root Case Analysis is a powerful method when it comes not just to problem-solving, but also to preventive maintenance.

RCA increases quality, productivity, and profitability while facilitating collaboration and inclusion in your organisation.

But if you’re using the wrong tool to implement RCA, then you might as well not be implementing RCA at all.

Our mlean® Production System (mPS) brings you everything you need to not just implement Root Cause Analysis, but also monitor and audit your daily operations to ensure top quality, productivity, and profitability with minimum waste.

If you want to take a look at a digital tool that makes your industrial operations easier, book a free demo and let us show you what we’ve got!

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