In addressing operations problems, we need to get to the root cause. In late June I wrote about this in a two-part post called “Thinking Outside the Bottleneck.” In this post I’d like to show an example of one way of getting to the root cause: the 5 Whys method.
Let’s say that there are too many dumpsters taking up space in the weld shop. We could just move them somewhere else, but that won’t address the root cause of the problem. Here is how we can separate symptoms from real causes and prevent this situation from recurring…
Problem: There is a traffic jam in front of the weld shop
Why? Because there are dumpsters in the doorway and in the road
Why? Because they aren’t being repaired in a timely fashion
Why? Because there are not enough welders available
Why? Because two are out with injuries
Why? Because they don’t have the correct support equipment
Problem restated: The shop does not have the correct support equipment.
Solution: Get the correct support equipment. This corrects the root cause.
Have you used 5 Whys in your operations? Did you discover any surprising root causes?
© Rick Pay, 2012. All rights reserved.