Root cause, “schmoot cause!”

Root cause, “schmoot cause!”

Welcome to Food Bites, your weekly food safety fix!

Our newsletter this week takes on a more serious note.

Root cause, “schmoot cause!”  Yes, that is the general attitude we experience toward the topic of this week’s Food Bites.  Don’t stop reading, we promise this one will be worth it – like really “Rands and cents” worth it!

Root cause analysis is not the magic wand we wave that makes problems disappear.  On the contrary, root cause analysis is blood, sweat and tears poured onto a page with the sole purpose of making something (not someone) go away – like a problem, you know.  And when this problem is removed, it provides us with the opportunity to save money, work more efficiently, improve our processes, and just make things better.

If you want to do a proper root cause, it’s always good to use a model that prompts you to “look beyond what you see” and drill down to the fundamental cause of a problem.  BUT be careful that the model or tool you use does not complicate the process and defeat the objective of the entire exercise.  It is better to choose a simple model (like 5-Why’s) bearing in mind that a user-friendly model will probably deliver the same result as a more complex tool anyway.

Irrespective of the model you plan on using, if people have not been trained on the basic concepts of root cause analysis and they are not familiar with the model, you can expect mediocre results.

HOMEWORK: Take a few of your corrective action reports and review them by looking at the following:

  1. Have all the required fields been completed?
  2. Is it crystal clear what the problem is and why this is a problem? (You are literally halfway there if you can define the problem properly).
  3. Is the root cause section completed in full or is it just a repeat of the problem statement?

How did it go?

The idea is to have a bullet-proof cause analysis that prompts certain actions which addresses the root cause.  Without this step, we are simply implementing actions for the sake of “ticking the boxes” and “ticking boxes” doesn’t save money and neither does it make the problem go away.

Progress Excellence offers a half-day Root Cause Analysis and Corrective Actions Masterclass – if you are excited to turn your “schmoot cause” into root cause, contact us at and we will prepare a custom quotation for your team.

Next week we explore the wonderful world of customer complaints and how we can use information from our newly acquired cause analysis skills to delight our customers and deliver results.

Keep calm and keep reading Food Bites!