Learn How to Do Root Cause Analysis in 4 Steps

Modern CMMS software helps you standardize processes with work orders packed with step-by-step instructions and customizable checklists. Now, instead of techs winging it when they have to complete an unfamiliar task, they can easily access the department’s best practices. The new tech was hired specifically for a maintenance project that’s separate from the PM program. Looking at the parts and materials, it’s hard to say they’re having an effect on close-out rates. They might last longer and cost less, but that wouldn’t make them easier to use.

For example, the root cause could be the wear of a bearing, which happened much earlier than expected. In this case, the procedure has to be adjusted to change the bearing at an earlier time. Similar steps to avoid recurrence of fault can be changes in the maintenance schedule, different modes of maintenance, changes in design, different OEM vendors, etc. Once the problem is solved, you will need to take proactive steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again. There are other root cause analysis techniques, such as the Fault tree analysis, the Failure mode and effects analysis (FEMA), and the barrier analysis. Root Cause Analysis is used during regular monitoring and quality control, to guarantee a high standard of operations.

What Is Root Cause Analysis?

These are low-resolution investigations that result in weak solutions. Cause Mapping flattens problem solving by deferring to the people in the organization who know how well current processes actually work. A strong prevention culture makes it easier for people to share what they know.

definition of root cause analysis

The process starts with situation analysis and continues with problem analysis and solution analysis, concluding with potential problem analysis. Once the team settles on root causes and has laid out all the details of the issue, they must start brainstorming solutions. The solution should directly address the root causes, with consideration for the logistics of executing the solution and any potential obstacles the team may encounter along the way. These elements will comprise the action plan that will help the team address the current problem and prevent recurrences. Its use in the IT industry cannot always be compared to its use in safety critical industries, since in normality the use of RCA in IT industry is not supported by pre-existing fault trees or other design specs. Instead a mixture of debugging, event based detection and monitoring systems (where the services are individually modelled) is normally supporting the analysis.

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Once the timeline is established, the organization can more easily identify the causal and contributing factors. Fourth, causal graphs often have many levels, and root-cause analysis terminates at a level that is “root” to the eyes of the investigator. Switching vendors may have been due to management’s desire to save money, and a failure to consult with engineering staff on the implication of the change on maintenance procedures.

When carrying out an RCA, investigators should use the methods and tools most appropriate for their particular situation. They should also put into place a system for verifying each stage of the RCA effort to ensure every step is done correctly. As part of this process, investigators should definition of root cause analysis carefully document each phase, starting with the problem statement and continuing through to the solution’s implementation. Root cause analysis (or RCA) is the quality management process by which an organization searches for the root of a problem, issue or incident after it occurs.

Root cause analysis

If you stop seeing fluid on the ground under the machine, you’ve solved the problem, and you’ve taken care of the root issue. But if a leak crops up again in a week, it’s time to run another RCA to find out if there are other holes in the metal or if gaskets are failing. The implemented solution will have to be in line with the available resources. So, if the root cause is pushing the machine too hard, the obvious answer is to shorten the machine run time. However, if the production schedule doesn’t allow for shortened runtimes, another solution might be scheduling more preventive maintenance.

  • Share findings about other root causes with local authorities and leaders or organizations that might be able to address them.
  • As an example, a classic paper described a patient who underwent a cardiac procedure intended for another, similarly named patient.
  • An RCA template can help you address underlying issues that may not have been obvious at first.
  • If the overheating was due to shaft misalignment, it is prudent to fix that in order to not only prevent bearing failure but also overheating and frequent replacement.
  • A root cause analysis (RCA) involves finding the root causes of a problem in order to identify and implement solutions.
  • We can see that the top seven variables all contribute in important ways to the “target,” but that Total Population and StateBuyIn Level predictor variables are not that important.

For example, if a piece of equipment has a leak, you can patch it, dealing only with the symptom. But if you dig deeper and discover the leak is the result of a busted seal, you can replace the seal, both stopping the leak now and avoiding future leaks. This/these action(s) are such that will with certainty, prevent recurrence of each undesired effect and related outcomes or factors. Check that each corrective action would, if pre-implemented before the event, have reduced or prevented specific undesired effects.

How to do root cause analysis and have fun with it

We can answer your questions, help you book a live software demo, or even set you up with a free trial. For example, you can have a frank discussion with the team, assuring them that you’re more interested in avoiding problems than punishing people. And when you have the chance, go out of your way to show that you really mean it. Here’s a concrete example of how to use this method for finding a root cause. Unrelated means there is no relationship, and the change did not cause the incident.

For instance, if there were unusually high sales on a particular day, we can use root cause analysis to glean greater insight into why it happened and what can we do to increase its frequency and magnitude. Root cause analysis is a powerful tool to deal with undesirable incidents of all kinds and prevent their recurrence. Allow us to elaborate on this with a root cause analysis example of an equipment failure. Once we have the list of contributing factors, we backtrack and go back until we have found the root cause of the problem. Straightforward answers when defining the problem will help us set the scope for the root cause analysis.

Root Cause Analysis Explained

Project management software makes it easy for your team to collaborate and coordinate deliverables as needed. It may take several weeks to implement your plan, which means some of your objectives may become dependent on other milestones. Use Gantt charts to view project dependencies and collaborate in real-time. “Let’s get to the root of the problem” is an idiom people commonly use when looking for solutions. This idiom can be visualized in the form of tree roots below the surface.

definition of root cause analysis

Additionally, when people are engaged in finding the root cause of a problem, they are more invested in solving it and preventing recurrence. On the other hand, you might guess the problem is a dead battery and jump-start the car. If it works, you are on your way, but you risk getting stranded again without understanding why the battery died (the root cause). A qualified mechanic may use their experience, skills, and tools to determine that the battery is not the problem and that your alternator needs to be replaced. After considering possible root causes, you can use research to determine one or multiple root causes.

Remember to perform root cause analysis for successes too

Every time he answered, he was met with, “Could you be more specific, Mr. Stoll? ” And so he kept digging deeper, until he was at the level of explaining molecular energies, optics, and the inner workings of the human eye. Once you had the cure, you’d corner the market, making everyone else redundant. No more colds means never having to worry about that long list of symptoms.

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