IT'S BACK: The Dilemma of Recurring Problems


Nightmare scenario: The phone rings and you learn with dread that the problem you thought you had gotten rid of a month ago is back and bigger than ever. Your stomach sinks and your pulse quickens as you scramble to find out exactly what is happening. How do we avoid this scenario? Avoid defining a possible cause as the “root” cause without first testing it based on the facts and data to determine if it is indeed the true cause. By not checking the possible cause against the facts first, you tend to default towards “known cause” fixes, which in many cases are unrelated to the original problem. You can also get better results if you dig deeper in your questioning, and look for the cause of the cause, like this: Question: Why is production on line three slow? Answer: The new tubes don’t fit. Question: Why don’t the new tubes fit? Answer: The hole is too small to allow easy insertion. Question: Why is the hole too small? Answer: I don’t know, it was fine for us yesterday. Question: What happened since yesterday? Answer: I don’t know. Question: What is specified for the hole? Answer: It is specified in the tooling setup. Question: What is specified in the tooling set up? Answer: What is in the tooling setup SOP. Question: Did we check what was set up for the tooling? Answer: No, we assumed it was good to go. Question: Can we check? Answer: Looks like there is an error in the data entry for set up during programming. By asking focused questions to isolate data that is specific to the problem, you can reduce your wicked problems to a critical few and avoid that nightmare scenario. Continue reading...

Kepner-Tregoe Problem Solving and Decision Making (PSDM) is a proven, step-by-step process for successfully solving problems, making good decisions, prioritizing issues, and analyzing potential risks and opportunities. For almost 60 years, these skills have equiped learners with the foundation of effective critical thinking.

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