April 13, 2011 | Barb Carr

Root Cause Analysis Tips – Using TapRooT® to Improve an Existing Program

Welcome to this week’s root cause analysis tip.  In the TapRooT® Book, in Chapter 2 (2.4), Mark Paradies and Linda Unger talk about ways to use TapRooT® to improve an existing improvement program, and that is what I would like to cover today.

There is an old saying – “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”  I was talking to someone once and they told me “We can’t use TapRooT®, everyone here loves Six Sigma.”

Hmm …

I am not here to sell you on Six Sigma, most people either love it or hate it.  All I can tell you is that in my previous life, I saw it save my company millions of dollars in one division, and completely flounder in another.  The difference was the implementation.  Having said that, it works, but the root cause analysis techniques typically taught in Six Sigma training are weak at best.  But parts of the Six Sigma cycle, DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control), require root cause analysis and corrective actions, so why not use TapRooT® for your root cause analysis within DMAIC?  And then make use of our corrective action tools as well.  You have just improved an already functioning program.  More information about how the different TapRooT® tools fit into DMAIC can be found in 2.4.

I just used Six Sigma as an example, the same holds true for any improvement program, because root cause analysis and corrective action are always required.  Maybe you do continuous improvement through the PDCA (plan, do, check, act) cycle.  Maybe you do BBS (behavior based safety) observations.  Of course you do audits (right!?).  All of these activities can easily be improved by incorporating TapRooT®.  Beyond the root cause analysis and corrective actions, other tools we teach can be used as well, but in the information collection phases of your program.

  • Equifactor® can help with equipment troubleshooting.
  • CHAP (critical human action profile) can help you break down tasks to compare what is supposed to happen with what did happen.
  • Change Analysis to look for changes and differences.
  • Safeguards Analysis to make sure you have the appropriate layers in place to protect targets (people, environment, equipment, process, equipment) from hazards (uncontrolled energy).

One last thing – in the book as well as in our courses we present a way to start an audit program from scratch.  You define scope, decide how to conduct the audit, collect the data, and identify your issues.  Many companies already have good functioning audit programs and are good at finding the problems; however, they are not as good at FIXING the problems.  So if you are comfortable with what you audit, how you audit, and what you find, then great.  Don’t throw out the program and start over, just incorporate TapRooT®.

So I hope this discussion is helpful.  Thanks for visiting the blog and we hope to see you soon.

P.S. (Is your existing program working?  Visit our course page and learn how to improve it using TapRooT®).

Root Cause Analysis
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