Root Cause Problem Elimination: A tool for an elite group or the frontline?
Should problem elimination be executed by an elite group or by the frontline (supervisors and hourly)? In IDCON’s opinion, 80% of all problems can be solved by the frontline if they are trained in a simple problem elimination process. The problem elimination process must be simple, yet detailed and structured enough to eliminate problems.
Most Root Cause Failure Analysis (RCFA)* processes are designed to solve 100% of all problems. The Root Cause process will inherently become very complex with that target. Instead, why not design a process that will solve 80-90% of all problems, but is simple enough to be used by the frontline in their day-to-day work. If a problem is passed through the simple problem and it is verified that a solution is inconclusive, then take a second pass at the problem with a more complex method.
The number one reason why problems aren’t solved is lack of incident and historical information. The data we need to solve problems in plants can best be collected by the operations and maintenance frontline through inspection routes, incident data, process data, data trends, etc. By building simple frontline processes around data collection, problem solving and implementation of solutions your plant will become very effective and accurate in problem solving.
In our opinion at least 80% -90% of all problems should be accurately eliminated by the frontline and 10-20% by an “elite group”.
*You may wonder why IDCON call what is often called Root Cause Failure Analysis (RCFA) for Root Cause Problem Elimination. The difference between “failure analysis” and “problem elimination” may seem as a word play to some. But, think about which phrase really describes the RESULTS we want to achieve. In our opinion it is critical to ELIMINATE the problem, not just to analyze the failure or solve the problem.