Mistakes are made, mishaps happen and issues are overlooked: most companies would agree. Gaps and nonconformities can be found in any management system, and eliminating these gaps and nonconformities often pose a significant challenge for businesses. Without systematic analysis, we often charge on with ill-considered solutions that do little to resolve the actual problem at hand, but rather create temporary solutions that can cause more serious problems later on.
In order to sustain the effectiveness of a management system, organisations require a system for identifying, reporting and investigating actual and potential incidents/nonconformities and other losses. Root cause analysis is one of the methods that can be used to effectively target and remove non-compliance issues and performance gaps.
What is non-compliance?
Non-compliance/ a nonconformity occurs when something does not meet the specifications of a process, customer requirements, internal policies and procedures or the requirements of a regulatory body.
Root cause analysis explained
Root cause analysis (RCA) is a process which enables companies and individuals to identify the causes of nonconformity and -through risk-based thinking, implement the necessary controls to address these risks.
Root Cause Analysis Techniques (RCAT) is a set of analysing and problem-solving techniques aimed at identifying the actual root cause or the reason for nonconformity.
The need for RCA is built on the fact that the elimination of the symptoms of the problems is insufficient to address the problem, as the problem has to be addressed at the source. All ISO Management systems require an organisation to develop, implement and maintain processes to manage nonconformity and take the appropriate steps to -prevent potentially damaging events. As a business process improvement tool, RCA seeks out unnecessary constraints and inadequate controls.
RCA can be employed in any situation where there is a gap between actual and desired performance and is commonly used in all industries, including manufacturing, mining, construction, transportation, healthcare, chemical, petroleum and power generation. RCA provides critical info on what to change within systems or business processes and how to change it. . RCA. The system can be applied in all fields of operation and for business process improvement in general, including project management, quality control, , health and safety, food safety and more.
The most common tools and techniques used in root cause analysis are:
- 5 Whys: The 5 whys are used to determine the root cause by repeating the question “Why?”. Each answer forms the basis of the next question.
- Fishbone Diagram: Also known as the “Cause and effect diagram” or “herringbone diagram”, this tool is used as a method to organise a team to brainstorm possible causes of a problem.
- Pareto chart: This chart is used to classify the problems according to the Pareto principle (for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes).
Why employ root cause analysis?
RCA can be used to address non-compliances reported or findings raised during an internal or external audit, where there are incidences of product defects or to resolve customer complaints. Root cause analysis manages problems in a way that prevents them from recurring and that provides the most benefit for the company involved.
To understand how to implement root cause analysis, or to get started on a root cause analysis, contact DQS South Africa today.
DQS is committed to sharing up to date, relevant news. For more information about risk-based thinking, incident investigation, root cause analysis, risk assessments or the certification process, please contact DQS. DQS South Africa is your local business solutions partner, offering solutions that work for your sector. We form part of an international network dedicated to ensuring compliance and business conformity. For any questions about our services or to contact us, please visit dqs.co.za.