June 20, 2006 | Mark Paradies

From ISO 9000/QS 9000 to ISO/TS 16949 – Why is Root Cause Analysis of Supplier Quality Issues Even More Important?

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The auto industry is aligning to a single, worldwide quality standard.

That “standard” is not technically a standard. Rather it is called a Technical Specification.

Its numerical title is TS 16949.

My goal isn’t to discuss the differences between standards and specifications or to outline all the ways that QS 9000, ISO 9000, AVSQ94, EAQF94, and VDA6.1 have been combined. Rather – because this blog is focussed on root cause analysis – I would like to highlight one item that I’ve heard… that is that third party auditors (registrars) are now putting more emphasis on the following requirements:

1) A continuous process for monitoring customer perception of whether their contractual requirements have been met exactly or not;

2) A continuous evaluation and analysis of technical, manufacturing, and testing data; and

3) Demonstration with evidence of compliance with customer requirements and efficiency of processes.

But the third party auditors are not just focusing on process auditing of these three requirements. They want suppliers to meet and exceed customer expectations and customer-specific requirements.

What happens when a supplier has less than 100% compliance?

The auditors expect a reaction plan (immediate actions in TapRooT(R) terminology) to be in place to contain OEM risk.

In addition, on the longer term side, the auditors expect root cause analysis with effective corrective action that prevent future problems (the same problem happening over and over again).

Strategies to prevent problems should include error proofing/defect prevention.

An example of this can be found in the DaimlerCrysler customer requirements. Section says:

“The organization shall show evidence of immediate corrective actions, containment (as required), and root cause analysis (as required).”

That section also states that:

“Communication Procedure is required to address reoccurring non-conformances. Specific areas of focus shall include the following:

– Resolution of non-conformamnces

– Escalation of issues for management review

– Lessons learned.”

The key, therefore, to avoid reoccurring non-conformances is effective corrective actions.

That is where TapRooT(R) can help automotive suppliers go beyond the simple but ineffective techniques of fishbone diagrams (Ishikawa Diagrams) and 5-Whys. (For an analysis of the problems with 5-Whys and fishbone diagrams, see: http://www.taproot.com/content/wp-content/uploads/legacy/2005/10/whats_wrong_with_5whys_complet.html )

Not only does TapRooT(R) lead investigators beyond their current knowledge by an advanced human performance troubleshooting tool and another advanced equipment performance troubleshooting tool, but TapRooT(R) also has the Corrective Action Helper(R) Module as part of the patented TapRooT(R) Software.

So if you would like to avoid quality issues, perform effective investigations, and get smiles from your third party auditors, take some TapRooT(R) Training and then implement TapRooT(R) at your facility as your problems solving / root cause analysis tool of choice.

For more course info see:


One more note…

TapRooT(R) makes an excellent addition to any Lean or Six Sigma implementation as the root cause analysis tool of choice in those processes. It can also be used as the root cause analysis tool to supplement your thinking for Failure Mode and Effect Analysis to help you go beyond what you currently know. And the Equifactor(R) Analysis tool can help you improve the equipment reliability in your manufacturing processes.

So if you are addressing quality, productivity, safety, equipment reliability, or even environmental issues, TapRooT(R) should be a tool — an important and frequently used tool — in both your reactive and proactive investigation/improvement toolbox.

Root Cause Analysis
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