A3 Practical Problem Solving – Step 5 Root Cause

A3 Practical Problem Solving - Step 5 Root Cause

This video blog will give you an inital overview to A3 Practical Problem Solving – Step 5 Root Cause. This is an 8 part mini series on the A3 8 Step Practical Problem Solving method. We have already covered:-

Step 1 – Problem Clarification

Step 2 – Containment

Step 3 – Problem Analysis & Breakdown

Step 4 – Target Setting

A3 Practical Problem Solving -  Visual Teach Poster

A3 Practical Problem Solving – Step 5 Root Cause

The video is presented by Peter Watkins a Senior Coach at LEA , who explains the key points using a Visual Teach Poster.

The top half of our Teach Poster focuses on the Purpose, Process & People of Practical Problem Solving. This is covered in our FREE Skill Level 1 course on A3 Practical Problem Solving – ACCESS HERE

This blog series concentrates on the lower half of the Visual Teach Poster , which covers the 8 step method based on Toyota Business Practice.

Play the Video Overview for A3 Practical Problem Solving – Step 5 Root Cause

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Key Learning Points from the Video

How do you investigate the root causes of a problem?

A3 Practical Problem Solving - Step 5 Root Cause

Start the Root Cause Investigation” with the “Problem to Purse” and then “Direct Causes” identified from Step 3

A3 Practical Problem Solving - Step 5 Root Cause

Example of Step 5 – Root Cause Analysis

leaper looking glass

A 5 Why Investigation must be done for each direct cause to understand the ROOT CAUSE and
Clarify whether it is an opinion or fact

There are two main levels of cause – “Specific & Systemic”, make sure you consider Systematic level 5-Why investigation when appropriate

5 Why

Carrying Out a 5 Why Investigation

Ask why to drill down to root cause

Might be more or less than 5 whys

Each why might give multiple answers. Capture them all

Confirm facts, and if there’s no cause-and-result sequence in the cause, stop asking “WHY?”

A3 Practical Problem Solving - Step 5 Root Cause

Check the 5-why logic by ensuring the pathway to root cause is in time order as you read down

You should be able to put ‘therefore’ between each level and it read correctly upwards from bottom

Characteristics of a Root Cause

It wont blame anyone e.g Team Member error and re-training

It will be the proven source of the problem i.e. if you address the Root Cause the Problem will not happen

It is something you can change and do something about
It will STOP the problem

Ask could it happen again?

Characteristics visuals

A3 Practical Problem Solving – Step 5 Root Cause

Helpful hints on this step:-

Avoid assuming YOU have the answers!

Avoid assuming you know what the problem is without seeing what is actually happening

Avoid assuming you know how to fix a problem without finding out what is causing it

Avoid assuming you know what is causing the problem without confirming it

When starting a 5-Why Investigation you should start with problem to pursue and direct causes ( first level of the 5 Why’s)

Logic must flow in time across and down levels of asking 5 Why – use the “therefore” to check

Understand there maybe multiple causal branches when asking each level of why

Go See a Problem

Don’t Reverse engineer and jump to the root cause you think it should be

Consult and involve the people relevant to causals and “go see” to grasp the real situation

Must prove out 5 why logic with facts and data

Solving a problem leapers

If you don’t have the right culture, people can become defensive
They create circular arguments – end up at the same point

Re word your approach and ask:-

How did that happen?

What was the reason that happened?

People generalise and hide the facts

If they include words such as insufficient, inadequate and poor. Ask questions “what was inadequate about it” will help you arrive at the facts

A3 Practical Problem Solving Leapers

People presume that asking 5-Why will be easy! – Its NOT

In reality it’s probably the hardest step to do correctly.

It takes patience and lots of investigation

Root Causes will be starting point for step 6 to eliminate with countermeasures

A3 Practical Problem Solving – Step 5 Root Cause

We have gathered together some links below for selected courses, books and articles if you want to learn more about A3 Problem Solving.