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Root Cause Analysis for Manufacturers

Root cause analysis is particularly relevant for manufacturers because 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.

Even with the best quality systems, training and Statistical Process Control (SPC), problems can happen. The critical issue is to prevent those same problems from reoccurring. The goal of root cause analysis (RCA) is to get down to the true cause of the problem, the root cause.

Manufacturing professionals run into problems when they only treat an issue’s symptoms without permanently fixing the root problems. Ignoring finer details of an issue often leads to recurring issues that could have been solved through RCA.

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.

Root cause analysis is undergoing a new interpretation in light of the Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing revolutions. With the rise of Predictive Quality and artificial intelligence, it’s natural that manufacturers are progressing to more advanced root cause analysis methods such as automated root cause analysis.

Automated root cause analysis harnesses the power of machine learning – a subfield of artificial intelligence that focuses on developing and researching algorithms that learn from data. The algorithms exist in the form of models which are trained with historical data in a way that allows them to make predictions and decisions based upon new data.

Thanks to significant advances in machine learning and Big Data analytics, root cause analysis can be performed using automated methods. These methods are unbiased and based purely upon historic and real-time data from the production floor, infused with process expertise (more on that later).

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.

This standard identifies a number of attributes for RCA techniques which assist with the selection of an appropriate technique. It describes each RCA technique and its relative strengths and weaknesses.

Root Cause Analysis for Manufacturers Course by Tonex

Root Cause Analysis (RCA) for Manufacturers training course will teach attendees 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.

Root cause is the fundamental, underlying reason for a problem. Many manufacturers might only treat an issue’s symptoms, or even its intermediate causes, without fixing the root problem. RCA helps with process improvement and makes improvement for less waste and redundancy within your operations.

Root Cause Analysis (RCA) course will enable participants to understand root cause analysis and the process of investigating the root causes of why defects are present within a manufacturing process or product and determine what can be done to solve or prevent them. Participants will gain a working knowledge of RCA process, methodologies, tools, and best practices.

Who Should Attend?

This course is designed for technicians, engineers, testers, integrators, operators, maintenance, analyst, quality, reliability, safety, process employees with little or no Root Cause Analysis (RCA) experience. The course is also useful for those who have experience with RCA but have never had any formal training on the standard.

Course Structure

Lectures, hands-on and problem solving practices using simple tools and methodologies. The course is designed to provide the participants with tools and best practices to analyze complex systems (system manufacturing, integration and operation) to identify the root causes of problems.

  • Comprehensive RCA Training Course Manual
  • RCA Cheat Sheet
  • Tonex’s Root Cause Analysis Tools, Techniques and Templates (Excel Tools and RCA Templates Provided)
  • Core of Problem Solving and Corrective Action

What You Will Learn

  • An overview of the Root Cause Analysis (RCA).
  • A summary of RCA tools and applications.
  • An overview of problem solving techniques.
  • RCA process, methods, their strength, and their effectiveness in dealing with the complexity of complex manufacturing and system integration/operation processes.
  • Using RCA tools and methodologies including Fishbone diagram, 5-Whys, Cause and Effect Analysis, Event Tree Analysis (ETA), Fault Tree Analysis (FTA), Failure Mode Affect Analysis (FMEA) and others.

Course Agenda/outline

Fundamentals of Root Cause Analysis (RCA)

  • Root Cause Analysis for Manufacturers
  • Benefits of Root Cause Analysis
  • How to Conduct Root Cause Analysis
  • Manufacturing Problem Solving Models
  • Root Causes and Realistic Solutions
  • Core Principles of Operational Efficiency
  • Analytical and Creative Thinking

Root Cause Analysis (RCA) Methods

  • Working with Qualitative RCA Tools
  • Fishbone Diagram: Cause and Effect Diagrams 5 Why, Concentration Diagrams
  • Working with Quantitative RCA Tools
  • Capability Analysis, Control Charts, MSA, and Regression Analysis
  • Corrective Action Strategies
  • Correlating Process and Product Variables, and Poke Yoke
  • Control Charts
  • Brainstorming
  • Cross-functional Team Building
  • The Basic Method
  • Basic RCA Procedure
  • Defining Area of Concerns
  • Collect all Relevant Data about the Problem
  • Analyze the Information for Evidence of all Root Causes
  • Develop or Recommend Strategies for Handling the Problem
  • Implement Solutions as Needed
  • Case Study 1
  • Activity 1: Working with RCA Methods

The Fishbone Diagram

  • Ishikawa Diagram
  • Fishbone Diagram: “Cause and Effect” Diagram
  • Manufacturing, System Integration and Operation Issues
  • Ways to Examine the Causes and Effects
  • Catalysts and Gleaning Ideas
  • Fishbone Procedure
  • Inefficiency in your Manufacturing and Operational Structure
  • Identifying Root Cause to the Defects
  • Finding Intermediate Causes
  • Variation in the Process
  • 6M’s (5 M’s and 1 P)
  • Six Elements Contribute to Variation in a Process
  • Machine, Material, Method, Measurement, Mother Nature “Environmental” and Man (People)
  • Case Study 2: Using Easily Understood Visual of the Potential Root Causes of a Nonconformance
  • Activity 2: Brainstorming – Working with Fishbone Diagram

The Five Whys (5 Whys)

  • The Five Whys Technique
  • Benefits of the 5 Whys
  • An Effective Method for Determining Root Causes
  • To Identify the Root Cause of a Problem
  • Determine the Relationship between Different Root Causes of a Problem
  • Easy to Complete without Statistical Analysis
  • When Is 5 Whys Most Useful?
  • When Problems Involve Human Factors or Interactions
  • How to Complete the 5 Whys
  • Case Study 3: Keep Asking Why- Discovering Relationships between Various Root Causes of a Single Nonconformance,
  • Activity 3: Working with 5 Whys Method

8D Method

  • Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and the 8D Corrective Action Process
  • Effective problem-solving method is the eight disciplines (8D) model,
  • Identifying, Correcting, and Eliminating Recurring Problems
  • 8D for Product and Process Improvement
  • 8D approach and Permanent Corrective Actions based on Statistical Analysis of the Problem
  • Source of the Problem by Determining its Root Causes
  • Case Study 4: Root Cause Analysis and the 8D Corrective Action Process, Real-life Experience with Actual Examples from Manufacturing, Engineering, System Integration and Operation
  • Activity 4: Working with 8D

Overview of Other Approaches to Root Cause Analysis

  • Event Tree Analysis (ETA)
  • Fault Tree Analysis (FTA)
  • Failure Mode Affect Analysis (FMEA)
  • Events and Causal Factor Analysis
  • Change Analysis
  • Barrier Analysis
  • Management Oversight and Risk Tree
  • Kepner-Tregoe Problem Solving and Decision Making

Workshop 1: Apply RCA Techniques to a Real Problem Defined

  • Problem Definition
  • Factor that Caused a Nonconformance
  • The Process
  • Problem Identification Components
  • Defect Creation
  • Physics of Failure
  • Human Factors
  • Life Cycle Gaps
  • Hidden Failures
  • Production and Equipment Failure
  • Reliability Engineering and Failures
  • Identifying Possible Causes
  • Eliminating the Underlying Cause(s)
  • Preventing Reoccurrence
  • DeBono’s Six Hats
  • Data Collection and Data Analysis Tools
  • Analysis of Human Errors
  • Management and Organizational Issues
  • Policy Issues


Root Cause Analysis for Manufacturers

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