July 25, 2023 | Susan Napier-Sewell

Do Lean Transformations Need Advanced Root Cause Analysis?

lean transformations

Join TapRooT® experts Alex Paradies and Benna Hughes for the discussion, Do Lean Transformations Need Advanced Root Cause Analysis? 

You’re guaranteed an interesting discussion when you tune in to Benna Hughes and Alex Paradies as they discuss “Do Lean Transformations Need Advanced Root Cause Analysis?”

Be sure to read Alex’s insightful article by the same title, “Do Lean Transformations Need Advanced Root Cause Analysis?” either before or after you enjoy the video. And explore the advantage for you and your team of 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training



Alex tells us that, “One important Lean focus is making problems easily visible and having resources respond quickly to the problems (part of continuous improvement). Some companies believe that if people are made aware of problems, they will be able to find the problem’s root causes and fix them. 

“How do they find the problem’s root causes? The employees use their knowledge, and a simple root cause analysis technique (5-Whys, Fishbone diagrams, or the 8D methodology). The tools provide a structure to help employees display what they already know – the cause of the problem.

“This system has a flaw. The employees must know every cause for a problem.

“Lean problem-solving tools assume root cause analysis is an automatic process, and employees have the expertise (knowledge) to solve the problem using the structure of 5-Whys (or one of the other techniques). These systems rely on users knowing not just the answers to process questions but also what questions should they ask to find root causes.

“But what if:

  • Your employees don’t know all the ways the system can fail (they aren’t experts)?
  • They don’t ask the necessary questions to uncover critical information?
  • They are new to the process, department, or company?

“When faced with the uncertainty of determining the root cause, nonexperts migrate toward biases and their comfort zones:

  • Trainers will find problems with training.
  • Quality professionals will find procedures that were not clear or not followed.
  • Managers will find someone to discipline.

“To a worker with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. You can build a house using only nails, just like you achieve initial improvements using classic lean tools. But eventually, you run out of low hanging fruit. Organization’s lean transformation improvements begin to plateau because of their investigators reach the limits of their knowledge.

“How long would it take for your problem-solvers to become experts in human factors, mechanical failure, psychology, fatigue, procedure writing, and other disciplines?

“Would you like your problem-solvers to have access to the knowledge needed to spot the causes of human errors, equipment failures, procedures problems, …?

“There is a solution that provides an expert system to help your problem-solvers ask advanced questions to find root causes and develop effective corrective actions to stop repeat problems.

“What system is it? The TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis System.”


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Implementation, Quality
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