Indramat DIAX Test Station

Top four reasons to use root-cause analysis for repairs

Benefits of Using Root-Cause Analysis

It has long been a widely accepted philosophy that the best way to engage the problem is to address it at the source in contrast to merely treating or attacking the symptoms, which are often superficial. It is this same philosophy that is at the core of Root-Cause Analysis. RCA is a standard methodology that is used to identify problems at their source or root, which allows the necessary corrections to be made at the source rather than focusing on the visible and apparent symptoms. RCA is a modality that associates commonly with a Kaizen improvement process, which is rather accurate, being that RCA investigates the possibility or organization change, instead of localized optimizations.

1. Improving systems by attacking the source of problems

The primary and more prevalent benefit of using the root-cause analysis is the fact that is can discover the direct relationship between the direct, or root-cause of problems and the symptoms that these core problems create. RCA also works to resolve issues at the root itself, which has the potential to eliminate multiple symptoms through one central action.

2. Cost-efficient and productive

Making business processes analogous to a seamstress will help to simplify the importance of RCA. If a seamstress makes dress in which one sleeve is longer than the other, the quick fix would be to terminate the seamstress and hire another; however, if the next seamstress makes the same dress with the same flaw, this would indicate that there is probably an underlying problem that is causing one sleeve to be longer than the other. More importantly, the second failure would highlight that the proper process was not engaged at the first sign of failure. If a more thorough examination of the elements involved in making the dress, it would have been possible to identify the apparent technical problem that handled the inconsistencies in the sleeves.

An RCA process asks the question “Why.” In this particular instance, the question would be why was one sleeve too long? Over a process of asking many successive questions, the team conducting the RCA will be led to the core problem.

3. Better when the why’s are not limited

There is a universal concept associated with the RCA process, and that is to limit the number of “why” questions to five. The five, why’s, is a concept credited to Taiichi Ohno, who is considered to be the father of the Toyota production system, and it often used during the RCA process. The problem with five why’s is that if at any time the wrong “why” question is asked, it can quickly redirect the individual or team conducting the process, and send them on a tangent that will not result in identifying the root cause. This reason is why it is important not to limit the process to only five questions. If the wrong question enters into the equation, it could take many steps to get back on track: However, once back on track, the team will be able to discover the root-cause.

4. Results are lasting

When repairs focus on treating symptoms, the benefits are often short-lived because the causation has not been addressed. When an RCA is conducted, and the root-cause is improved, the implemented fixes last considerably longer. These types of improvements are known as organizational enhancements, and they help in developing a working knowledge and understanding of the relationship between individual symptoms and specific questions.

By practicing root-cause analysis, businesses eliminate taking unnecessary action, as well as reduce the cost associated with erroneous repairs and excesses repairs. ICR technicians always apply root-cause analysis for each and every piece of equipment or component that comes through our facilities. Whether your service need is of the mechanical, electronic or among our other wide range of services make sure to turn to ICR when in need.

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