8D Story: A real life application for engineering companies - II     
   Seaching the root causes at the very origin of the problem   
Customer was secured, effects mitigated, protective measures remained still in place and anything else was possible! It was time to deploy a Problem Solving approach to find the root causes at the very origin of the problem.   

    Here is how we developed the Research of Causes stage (before talking about root causes):

    •     At first, we questioned ourselves about the standards culture. Initially we hadn’t felt concerned! With the training we understood that developing the standards culture is to limit the variations and to improve capabilities but also to eliminate all the recurring defects.  Sometimes the gap is situated between the real practice and the standard, or that an applied standard doesn’t provide the expected results! But it is also possible to find that there are no defined standards! 

    So, digging a little bit, we listed about ten standards to verify. A standard is usually associated with parameters (regulation, temperature, pressure,…): For us, it means checking, for example that cable sections used were consistent with the intended use. The “Standards” chapter is an “easy” way to understand gaps before implementing corrective actions. 

     In the second step, analyze and exploit the data. Our first thought was that for us it would be difficult because there is only one product being manufactured. But after digging a little, we realized we already had the data! Tests measures par example, measures registered in the customer’s place also. And certainly, scatterplots to draw… 

     Finally we started to brainstorm, accompanied by our IT specialist as a “sincere” participant, to make a list of all potential causes at the origin of the PROBLEM. Everything that came to mind was openly shared. It was leaking all over the place!!! The role of the facilitator came into full use at this point: to order, to collect, to channel, to question, to ask…Our paper board was full of our ideas!!! We had organized them by theme. In general, the Ishikawa diagram was used: Material, People, Environment, Ways and Methods. We had defined our root cause families (affinity diagram) which were: Thermal, Material, Electrics, Environment and Lamps.
    The continuation of our story should allow from standards, to eliminate some of the listed causes. Next we should prioritize the remaining causes: if it is necessary we might call a High Power Electric specialist, because maybe with our internal skills some questions will still be unanswered. We shall pursue with the 5 Whys to identify the root causes. 

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