June 2, 2010 | Dave Janney

Root Cause Analysis Tips: Management Systems

Happy Wednesday and welcome to this week’s root cause analysis tips column.

I would like to talk this week about management systems. The first, and most important question, is DO YOU HAVE ONE? If not, you should!

When we talk about management systems, what we mean is a structured way to manage the business and assess (and improve) performance. There are many kinds of management systems:  quality management systems; environmental management systems; safety management systems; etc. While the components of these systems may be different, the approach is the same. And root cause analysis is an important part of making sure these systems run the way they are intended.

Maybe your organization is ISO certified. Maybe your safety department got you into VPP (OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program). Maybe your environmental group got you into the EPA’s Performance Track. You have a structured way to manage your business. As part of your auditing and corrective action processes, you can use TapRooT® to perform root cause analysis. But the even better part is that you have the TapRooT® root causes and information in the Root Cause Tree® Dictionary to use as best practices that should be part of your management systems. Use this expert guidance to make sure you have all the pieces in place, then audit them for effectiveness. The stronger your management system is, the less problems you will have.

Beyond the usual monitoring activities like auditing, you should also have continuous improvement processes. Maybe you use Six Sigma, Lean, or……Lean Six Sigma! Maybe TQM. These are all good approaches to continuous improvement, but the root cause analysis techniques typically used in these processes are weak at best. But the good news is that you do not have to “throw the baby out with the bath water,” you can use TapRooT® to perform RCA more effectively within the framework of these existing programs, and you have our corrective action tools to help as well.

By the way, before I go, I mentioned VPP. If you are in safety and are not familiar with VPP, it is a great management system. VPP is a cooperative program between OSHA and business and works very well. You might want to check it out on OSHA’s website. If you are already involved in VPP, please come and see us at the TapRooT® booth (#503) at the 2010 conference in Orlando in August. I will be giving two talks at the conference; one technical session on Safeguards (one of our optional techniques) and one non-technical session on “Making the Business Case for Safety.” I hope you will stop by. If you would like a copy of my VPP & TapRooT® tips, please e-mail me, dave@taproot.com

Enjoy your summer and see you soon.

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