Taking the Root Canal out of Root Cause

Taking the Root Canal out of Root Cause

Are the months flying by or what?  It feels like just yesterday we were celebrating our 17th birthday and now we are dishing out Easter eggs.  But then again, time does fly when you’re having fun!


This month we are talking about a topic that is as important to us as it to you – root cause analysis and corrective action.  In fact, the theme for this month was triggered by numerous discussions about repeat external audit non-conformances, repeat internal non-conformances as well as thousands of missed opportunities to improve.


The way we see it, you can throw exorbitant amounts of money at a problem and really still find no joy in “making it go away”.  And that is quite a frustration.  The solution, it seems, is obvious – identify the source of the problem, address the cause of the problem, and verify the actions to make sure that they are delivering the results you want.  So, why are we still struggling?


In all honesty, we see too many people shying away from proper cause analyses.  Root cause analysis is not the magic wand we wave to make problems disappear.  On the contrary, root cause analysis is a systematic process that we follow to determine exactly what the cause of a problem is and subsequently allowing us to determine what action to take to address the problem.  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.


The idea is to have a bullet-proof cause analysis that prompts certain actions which address 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.


Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and invest in our human resources?  Teaching staff the fundamental concepts of root cause analysis will go a long way to involving teams and instilling critical knowledge about this systematic approach.  The results will not only be visible in your bottom line, but also in the general attitude of staff toward problem-solving.


Progress Excellence offers a half-day Root Cause Analysis and Corrective Actions Masterclass – if you are excited to turn your “root canal” into root cause, contact us at info@progress-excellence.co.za and we will prepare a custom quotation for your team.  The workshop is delivered on-site or virtually.  We also offer an online, self-paced version of the same workshop.  Click here to find out more: https://progress-excellence.co.za/courses/root-cause-analysis-masterclass-online-training/.


Keep calm and keep reading Food Bites!