Quality Management : Problem Solving

A Better Way

by Barsalou, Matthew

Root cause analysis (RCA) is frequently performed in industry to determine the root cause of an occurrence or failure....

Open Access

Decide and Conquer

by Bailey, Bill D.; Lee, Jan

Most of us spend at least part of our time working in groups or teams. These may be functional or cross functional groups such as project, design or process improvement teams....

More Than Just Opinion

by Barsalou, Matthew

A root cause analysis (RCA) should be empirical-based on data and facts. This should be obvious, but many books about RCA occasionally fail to mention the need to perform experiments, test hypotheses or look at a defective part being investigated....

Open Access

Best of Back to Basics: What Is a Fault Tree Analysis?

by Pilot, Simha

Use a general conclusion to determine specific causes of a system failure
The fault tree analysis (FTA) was first introduced by Bell Laboratories and is one of the most widely used methods in system reliability, maintainability and safety analysis. It is a deductive procedure used to determine the...

Open Access

Best of Back to Basics: Turning 'Who' Into 'How'

by Thomas, Kenneth

When things go wrong, the goal should be to move away from trying to determine “who” was at fault and quickly transition into a problem-solving mindset of “how” to make things better....

Open Access

Best of Back to Basics: All About Data

by ReVelle B., Jack

We can't be certain, but Lt.Commander Data, a character on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," may have derived his name from his ability to acquire and process data critical to the mission of the United Star Ship Enterprise....

Open Access

Best of Back to Basics: That's So Random - or Is It?

by McCain, Cecelia

Assignable cause, random variation, process stability, process capability—these terms can easily confuse those new to process management. Does random variation in a process automatically require process improvement?...

Best of Back to Basics: Successful Relationship Diagrams

by Boisvert, Lisa

Revealing the relationships among all the elements of a problem allows a quality improvement team to focus on the one or two elements most strongly driving the problem--the root causes. This makes sense, yet it's not a very popular concept....

Open Access

Best of Back to Basics: Return on Investment

by Westcott, Russ

Return on investment (ROI) is a powerful tool to add to your repertoire of skills. It will help you sell quality improvement initiatives and enable you to demonstrate the benefits from such improvements....

Open Access

Best of Back to Basics: Plan Experiments to Prevent Problems

by Laman, Scott A.

An experimenter's ability to minimize mistakes often comes with experience. Unfortunately, this experience often results from past problems, surprises or confusion....

Open Access

Best of Back to Basics: Separate the Vital Few from the Trivial Many

by Hartman, Melissa G.

A Pareto diagram can help you decide which improvement efforts to make first

O R G QP Pareto Diagram by Number of Complaints FIGURE 1 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 1.00 0.80 0.60 0.40 0.20 0.00 Category of complaint Number of complaints Cumulative percentage Not stocked Dirty Needs maintenance Not ready Too noisy Too few beds No sp...

Open Access

Best of Back to Basics: Solve Problems With Open Communication

by Duffy, Grace L.; Bauer, John; Moran, John W.

A force field analysis helps employees meet organizational goals
A force field analysis is a tool that can help employees resolve issues to meet the goals of their organizations. It helps identify forces currently supporting or working against the solution of an issue, so positives can be...

3.4 per Million: Shock Absorbers

by Snee, Ronald D.

Consumers misuse—and even abuse—products. Driving a car is a good example. The auto industry has responded by making changes to autos—reducing and sometimes eliminating the effects of these sources of variation in driver actions....

Much-Needed Structure

by Anderson-Cook, Christine M.; Lu, Lu

At the heart of Six Sigma is an approach to structured problem solving. DMAIC leads users through steps to determine the right scope for their problem, select the correct metrics to characterize the process to be improved and understand its performance....

Statistics Roundtable: Thinking of Linking

by Anderson-Cook, Christine

Results that come from statistical studies often hold the key to answering important business questions that can influence future choices made in a project....

Creative by Design

by Parendo, Perry

Although many people don’t consider its structured approach as enhancing creativity, it’s important to acknowledge DoE as an unexpected and valuable source of creativity. DoE is 50% more efficient than alternative test methods if you use a half-fraction d...

Change in Flow

by Patel, Raj C.

“The customer deserves to receive exactly what we have promised to produce,” Philip B. Crosby wrote in his classic work, Quality is Free. But how do organizations ensure this happens?...

Open Access

Quality in the First Person: Saying Goodbye to Dad

by Mazur, Glenn

How one family used analytic hierarchy process to evaluate the choices and agree on the best solution for end-of-life care for a family member....

Open Access

One Good Idea: Probable Cause

by Broccoletti, Moreno

An approach that standardizes the unwritten rules that make root cause analysis effective is proposed in this column....

Expert Answers: February 2013

by QP Staff

Root cause analysis...

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