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Problem Solving Tools – In-depth Analysis www.optimumfx.com

In-depth problem solving tool

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Problem Solving Tools –In-depth Analysis


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In-Depth analysis tools

When you have either a significant one-off defect or problem, or a series of minor problems over a prolonged

period of time that requires a detailed approach

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Benefit of formal problem solving

• Think of a typical re-occurring problem that’s worth 60min/week– Fallen bottles on a labeller infeed– Collation errors in a packer– Materials issues in a palletiser– Startup issues following on a Monday morning

• Imagine how many hours have been spent observing this issue. How many engineering fixes were attempted. How much money in parts has been spent over the last 6 months that this has hurt you

• Now imagine getting a team to sit in an office to work through a structured process for 2-3hr in one go and imagine the most frequent complaint:

“This is all very good, but it’s just too slow...we don’t have time for this”

• How many hours of resource have you wasted by NOT doing this sooner?

• When you have something that’s cost you 60min week for 3 years is 3 hours in one week really too slow?

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Introduction to a formal problem solving process

• As an example of an off-line problem solving process we will demonstrate Kepner-Tregoe’s Problem Analysis process

• This is ideal for significant issues or repeat offenders and may involve a team of people for a reasonable period time

• Getting a great result = follow the process

• Ensure that the team has a trained facilitator who will ensure that the process is followed and that the team are not jumping to unfounded conclusions

• Potential issues– A good RCA is a process. A process is only effective when it is followed robustly– Can require strong leadership skills from a facilitator to ensure that the team stays on target

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Identify possible causes from experience:- Faulty sim card- Phone damaged - Disconnected- Phone not allowed to travel- Flight mode switched on

Problem:- I can’t make phone calls

Evaluate possible causes:- If_____is the true cause of _____how does it explain the Is and Is Not information? - What assumptions have to be made?- Which cause best explains the Is and Is Not information?



WhatObject has the


WhereIs object when

deviation occurs

WhenWas deviation observed first

ExtentHow many

deviations on obj

- My phone - Colleague’s phone

- Where I am standing now- The hotel, the airport, conference room- Calling features and data features

- At the airport in England

- Any other feature on my phone

- Since I got off the plane- Continuously- On this trip

- Before getting on the plane- All time since getting off the plane- On other trips abroad

- 1; my phone- N/a- One; my ability to make calls+data- No trend

- All the other phones- N/A- All other applications not working- No trend

Define:- My phone can not make calls

Problem Analysis Example

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Generic Problem Analysis

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Bringing it together…

5 Whys

Defined problem

Refined problem


Probably cause

Accountability and what happened/when

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What’s changed

Possible causes

Action tracker for each stage of the problem solving process