Root Cause Analysis
Suppose you are conducting an internal audit of a hospital. After checking all the registers and overseeing the physical verification of assets and stock, you find a discrepancy in the books of accounts.
In order to locate the underlying problem, you need to delve deeper and conduct a thorough and penetrating investigation of all the vouchers, files, documents, reports and re-verify the adherence to necessary compliance.
While conducting a Root Cause Analysis, you trace the transaction trail and data entry records and find that a simple error of omission has set off a domino effect, which, in turn, misrepresented the entire books of records.
Now, you, as an internal auditor, can provide a true and fair view of the financial statements, thanks to the RCA techniques that enabled you to identify the mix-up.
That is why RCA is recognized as a part of Total Quality Management (TQM) or any other Quality Management Initiative.
The wind power company Clipper Wind power recovered a million dollars after conducting a Root Cause Analysis that revealed issues with turbine failure in the icy-cold winter climatic conditions.
Clipper redesigned the functioning of the machine, revamped its testing metrics, and adopted new strategies for future development.
- L. Polk & Co.: Making Every Issue the Only Issue
R.L. Polk & Co. conducted a Root Cause Analysis to improve customer support by speedy redressing of grievances and issues.
A process improvement team remodelled the architecture to serve the customers better and achieve operational excellence.
Many techniques like the following are used to conduct RCAs and solve problems
- The 5 Whys Technique:
Made popular by Toyota in the 70s, this strategy involves every answer having to deal with a ‘why’ question that, in turn, prompts another ‘why’ question, and it goes on until a solution is found.
- Fish-Bone Analysis or Ishikawa Diagram
Developed by Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa, this visual tool takes the form of a skeleton of a fish, and it is also known as the Cause and Effect diagram because of its ability to streamline the process of identification of problems.
- Pareto Analysis
Widely used in statistics and mathematical applications, this technique involves manoeuvring through several causes and then identifying the one having the most veritable impact.
It is based on the 80/20 rule, The 80/20 Principle states that 80% of the output or results will come from 20% of the input or action.
- Failure mode and effects analysis
FMEA is used to detect failures within a particular system. Faulty parts of a certain process can be corrected using this tool.
Failure Mode and Effects Analysis is designed to identify, prioritize and limit the failure modes.
It is not a substitute for good engineering.
Rather, it enhances good engineering by applying the knowledge and experience of a Cross Functional Team (CFT) to review the design progress of a product or process by assessing its risk of failure.
- Scatter plot analysis:
Discrepancies between variables can be discovered using a pair of data points using this method.
Scattered between two axes X and Y, the cause and effect can be easily understood using regression or correlation analysis.
Why it is crucial for any professional environment?
RCA is useful in every type of professional environment.
This is because can identify the origins of the problem with specific set of steps tools & techniques.
It helps to trace or track back to reasons plaguing the problem – which helps in discovering where actually the problem started and how it grew into the symptom you’re now facing.
- Determine what happened.
- Determine why it happened.
- Figure out what to do to reduce the likelihood that it will happen again.
Career opportunities with root cause analysis
Root Cause Analysis remains to be an integral part of every industry and profession since time immemorial and will continue to be, regardless of the changes that every profession undergoes.
A prospective manager of any operations in any industry should have a trained eye for root cause analysis not only to deliver instant solutions in any area of the workplace but also to understand how things can be improved for the better from as they stand now.
Hence it is a much-desired skill in the armoury of every professional in any field wanting to rise up ranks of the professional ladder fast.
At the end of the day what separate a successful professional from the rest is the acute insights they bring to the table which actually pave the way for growth for any organization.
If you want to grow in your field of operations, then RCA is a skill that will take you a long way.
Many courses offline & online are available.
Join Skill Development Courses to harness and develop to deliver your ability to drill into any problem and arrive at its accurate Root Cause Analysis with precision.
Root cause analysis uses scientific solutions to resolve real world problems thus making the incumbent of this very skill an asset to any organization.
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