RCA (Root Cause Analysis) is not a method or process itself, but a class of problem solving methods aimed at identifying the root cause of problems or events. RCA is any structured approach that identifies factors resulting in the problem outcome including symptoms, effects or consequences.
The practice of RCA is based in the belief that problems are permanently solved by addressing the root cause, rather than addressing obvious symptoms. Counter measures directed at the root cause are more likely to prevent problem re-occurrence.
There may be several effective measures that address the root causes of a problem. Due to this fact, RCA is often performed iteratively and is frequently used as a continuous improvement tool. RCA is reactive, identifying events or causes, revealing problems and solving them. Analysis is done after a problem has occurred. Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is the usage of RCA to forecast or predict probability of events before they occur. RCA and FMEA are related and similar but separated by their place in the Product or Process life cycle. FMEA is used prior to product or process launch whereas RCA is used after.
How Do I know if I Have Found the Root Cause?
The root cause of any problem is found at the point of creation. The root cause is never an operator error or a broken tool. The specifics of a root cause occur at the conversion of a product or service from one state to a new desired state. This conversion must be measurable and typically require proper energy usage. Examples of energy include, but are not limited to force, temperature or motion. The incorrect application of energy is the point at which the root cause can be found. The root cause can only be known if it can be turned on and off at will. The RCA process is selected depending upon many factors such as culture and knowledge of problem solving tools. Quality-One has decades of experience in determining the proper tools and techniques for problem solving suited to your specific needs. Q-1 is the leader in Training and Facilitating the most effective RCA techniques available. We specialize in Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving (8D), 5 Why and Six Sigma.
Where is RCA Used?
Benefitting from the evolution of RCA techniques, all industries and global businesses are now using this disciplined approach. Examples of RCA usage include:
User / Operator Safety-based RCA
- Accident Analysis
- Occupational Safety and Health
- Quality Control
- Business Processes
- Failure Analysis in Engineering and Maintenance
- Change Management
- Risk Management
- Systems Analysis