Situations where root cause analysis can aid problem solving

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When is root cause analysis useful?

Root cause analysis is an approach for trying to get to the underlying problem. Rather than tackling the surface problems – the most apparent issues that are not necessarily the underlying cause – root cause analysis tries to identify and ultimately correct the originating aspect. 

Identifying the root cause is useful to address an underlying issue that may cause many issues. By tackling the underlying issue, you prevent not only the one issue that you identified, but potentially a whole set of other issues that are caused by the same underlying problem. 

Examples of situations which can benefit from root cause analysis

Preventing the source of manufacturing defects

Root cause analysis can be useful in identifying manufacturing defects. Rather than addressing than just scrapping any parts that don’t meet quality control standards, root cause analysis looks to understand where the problems are arising from, so that they can be solved. By gaining a deep understanding of the cause of the problem, firms are able to prevent similar issues occurring across different production processes.

Addressing the underlying cause of safety issues

Another area where root cause analysis is common is in the safety area. Root cause analysis is particularly important in the safety area to help address underlying issues that can manifest themselves in different forms. Rather than just addressing one particular problem, root cause analysis can be useful for gaining the understanding of what ultimately caused the issue, providing the opportunity to address this underlying issue that could potentially cause many other problems. 

Identifying implementation problems with strategy implementations

Another opportunity for root cause analysis is identifying problems with strategy analysis. When implementing an organization’s strategy there will inevitably be issues with the implementation. Thinking about the root cause of the problems can help make sure the right problems are corrected.

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