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Root Cause Analysis

What is Root Cause Analysis?

Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is an umbrella term that covers a wide array of methods and tools used to find causes of problems in the manufacturing industry. These approaches have one goal in mind, and that is to uncover the root cause of an issue, a factor that is referred to as the primary reason that there is a discrepancy in production and should be removed immediately through process improvement.

What are the Goals of Root Cause Analysis?

  1. Identify the root cause of a deviated event or problem in your production.
  2. Analyze and study how to fix and improve the underlying issue. 
  3. Apply what you learn to prevent future issues. 

Approaches to Root Cause Analysis

Though there are several approaches to perform Root Cause Analysis in manufacturing businesses. A few of these methods include:

  1. Events and causal factor: This approach is utilized during one-time events, such as a factory fire or explosion. With this method, Root Cause Analysis helps manufacturers quickly assemble evidence and study the event’s timeline to identify the contributing elements. 
  2. Change: This particular approach is only viable during situations in which the system’s performance has drastically changed. To be able to understand what caused the shift in the system, manufacturers use this method to analyze changes in equipment, staff, data, and any other factor that could have affected the system’s performance. 
  3. Manufacturing Defect Analysis: Usually applied for large production orders, this approach can detect manufacturing defects with a circuit board assembly. 
  4. Kepner-Tregoe Problem Solving and Decision Making: Using this approach, manufacturers work through four phases for resolving root causes. 
    1. Situation analysis
    2. Problem analysis
    3. Solution analysis
    4. Potential problem analysis

Advantages of Root Cause Analysis in Manufacturing

Effective Root Cause Analysis is critical for Industry 4.0 manufacturing standards, and is an essential component for optimizing the production floor.  As such, Root Cause Analysis is the most effective method of finding and eliminating issues on the factory floor. 

Here are some additional benefits of using Root Cause Analysis:

  1. Reduce cost by solving problems and defects only once and not constantly re-using resources to find the root cause. 
  2. Ease of use for manufacturers as Root Cause Analysis is straightforward and relies on facts and numbers, rather than opinions. 

Empowers staff to use Root Cause Analysis tools to fix long-term recurring issues, as real-time shop floor analytics and shop floor control tools are not enough for complete optimization of the factory floor.

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