Picture 3.png I’m signed up for just about every root cause analysis, quality improvement, equipment reliability, and problem solving publication there is. What I’m usually surprised about is how much BAD ADVICE I get in many of the publications.

Where does the bad advice come from? People who teach 5 Whys as a root cause analysis tool.

If you’ve read this blog for very long, you have read the theoretical and practical discussions that we’ve had that explain why the “5 Why” method does not promote good root cause analysis. If you haven’t been reading for very long, check out these articles…

http://www.taproot.com/content/2007/03/14/teruyuki-minoura-toyota-exec-talks-about-problems-with-5-whys/

http://www.taproot.com/content/2007/03/05/whats-wrong-with-cause-and-effect-5-whys-fault-trees/

http://www.taproot.com/content/2005/10/30/whats-wrong-with-5-whys-complete-article/

http://www.taproot.com/content/2008/11/07/defending-categorization-why-the-taproot-root-cause-tree-works-better-than-unguided-root-cause-analysis/

http://www.taproot.com/content/2006/11/15/another-example-of-why-5-whys-fishbone-diagrams-are-bad-root-cause-analysis-systems/

http://www.taproot.com/content/2007/12/04/comparing-taproot-to-other-root-cause-tools/

http://www.taproot.com/content/2008/05/04/spring-2008-asq-automotive-excellence-magazine/

http://www.taproot.com/content/2009/08/07/root-cause-analysis-tips-are-simple-techniques-sometimes-the-best/

Now for the most recent BAD advice … An article claimed that all operators should be trained in “5 Whys.”

Why? Because they need “5 Why” skills to effectively troubleshoot and find the root causes of potential equipment problems and improve asset reliability.

Since the articles above already show that “5 Whys” is only effective if you already know the cause of the problem, I think it is highly unlikely that “5 Whys” will help operators find answers that they don’t already know.

Therefore, you are wasting your time teaching them “5 Whys” when they are only going to find answers that they already know OR they will misdiagnose problems by using “5 Whys” to troubleshoot a problem and make the analysis fit the answers that they are familiar with.

Most operators can already tell you familiar causes for problems without going through the “5 Why” process. What they can’t do is find the answers to problems that are outside their experience and knowledge.

So what technique should operators use to find the causes of problems that are beyond their current understanding?

TapRooT® and Equifactor®.

Equifactor® will help them find the reasons why equipment failed through an expert system based on Heinz Bloch’s proven troubleshooting tables.

TapRooT® has embedded experts systems that will help operators find causes and solutions that are outside their experience and current knowledge.

That’s good root cause analysis advice that’s based on two decades of research and development.

If you want to train your staff in problem solving tools that will help them go beyond their current knowledge, give us a call at 865-539-2139 or CLICK HERE to contact us by e-mail.