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While Root Cause Analysis (RCA) has become a popular problem-solver for many organizations, Root Cause Analysis for manufactures is especially propitious.

This is due to the reality that eventually all manufacturing processes will experience problems with non-conforming parts or equipment failure resulting in lost productivity or rework expenses and possible increased scrap.

Overall, the benefits of RCA in manufacturing are significant. Here are four of them:

  1. Realistic solutions: Allows you to avoid producing a new solution every time a malfunction occurs. The solutions RCA creates can last for years.
  2. Cost Savings: Reducing the occurrence of manufacturing issues keeps your company active, so you can maintain your revenue stream.
  3. Automation: Allows the sharing of information across factories within the same company, which permits managers to record notes concerning a common root cause and take steps to prevent it.
  4. Convenience: You can detect safety hazards before they become a reality and predict deviations in product quality, fixing those issues before they reach your consumers. 

Another necessary aspect of using root cause analysis to resolve manufacturing issues is assembling the RCA team. The team should be comprised of personnel that have direct knowledge of the process being examined and responsibility for implementing any permanent corrective actions.

In addition, the team should include representatives from Quality, Process Engineering and, when appropriate, team members from the next step in the process or from other shifts. 

Tools/methodologies to help manufacturers resolve issues include the fishbone diagram (also known as the Ishikawa diagram), which is predicated on the idea that multiple factors can lead to the failure/event/effect we are investigating.

Another, the 5-Whys, suggests that you ask “Why?” five times in a row in order to identify the root cause of basically any process or problem.

Then there’s the failure modes effect analysis (FMEA) method that looks ahead to what could happen. Investigating why a problem occurred is reactive. Anticipating how something could go wrong is proactive. The information gained from reactive problem-solving (RCA) helps to prevent problems from occurring in the first place (FMEA).

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) describes the basic principles of RCA  and specifies steps that a process for RCA should include in standard IEC 62740:2015.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers Root Cause Analysis for Manufacturers, a 2-day course where participants learn to identify the cause of a problem, solve it, and prevent it from occurring again. RCA saves manufacturers and system integrators valuable resources, time, and money by optimizing their troubleshooting system and implementing root cause analysis basics.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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