Back to basics: Root Cause Analysis Tools

Effectively solve the right problem without creating new one(s)

published by Quality Arete Group
Root cause analysis is a problem solving methodology for finding the root cause of an identified problem or non-conformity. This methodology helps to implement permanent solutions. The following are the steps that can be followed, when doing a root cause analysis:

      Define the problem
      Collect data (Investigate Root Cause)
      Create proposed action plan
      Implement Action Plan
      Verify and Monitor the effectiveness of the solution

Tools of Root Cause Analysis

5 Why’s

This tool is used to explore the cause/effect relationships by keeping asking ‘why’ until meaningful conclusions are reached.

5 Why's

Cause & Effect (Fishbone Diagram)

The various causes are grouped into categories and the arrows indicate how the causes flow toward the non-conformity. The categories (causes) are not predefined but, common ones include Material, Machinery, Manpower, and Methods. They provide a good checklist for initial analysis, thus identifying many causes for a single effect or problem. It can be used as a tool to sort ideas into useful categories, problem identification, and narrow down potential solutions.
Fishbone Diagram

First, brainstorm the major categories of problems & include them on a branch off the main arrow. Generic categories:
Machines (equipment)
People (manpower)

Then, brainstorm causes of the problem in each Category until you have exhausted all possible causes. In this method, while we are trying to understand the causes, we ask: What actually happened? When? Where? Why? How? So What?

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