Solve Problem Better with 8D Technique

Eight Disciplines (8D) is a problem-solving methodology that helps in finding solutions to complex problems. It’s a process of working through details of a problem to reach a solution. It may include mathematical or systematic operations and can be a gauge of an individual’s critical thinking skills.

It is a unique technique that helps:

  • To enhance creativity
  • Improve ownership of the problem
  • Develop structured thinking among employees
  • Improve teamwork
  • Enhance ‘flow of information’ among team members
  • Helpful in developing multi-tasked team members

The purpose of this methodology is to identify, correct, and eliminate recurring problems, and it is focused on product and process improvement. It establishes a permanent corrective action based on statistical analysis of the problem and on the origin of the problem by determining the root causes.

The steps of 8D problem solving methodology are as follows:

  1. Establish the team – Identify and make cross-functional teams for specific problems. Train the team on team-oriented problem-solving techniques. The objective of this step is to make teams more efficient since working as individuals is often less proficient. Working in groups maximizes the potential of the outcome. It will also help to get people with different product and process knowledge to work together.
  2. Define the problem – This is the stage where you need to most accurately describe the problem. An adequate problem description is equal to at least 50% of its solution. Problem description is the starting point to further step of analysis and proper understanding of the nature of the problem for the team as well as people from outside. Take time to clearly define the problem with facts. Good problem definition is critical to determining the root cause.
  3. Take short term action / Containment Action – Containment is the systematic search and quarantine of suspected nonconforming product throughout the supply/delivery chain.
  4. Determine root cause – When identifying root cause the team should focus on why the issue occurred first, and then secondly on how the defect was missed.  There are different techniques that are used to determine the root cause. Asking Why 5 times is the simplest technique.
  5. Develop corrective action – Once the Root Cause is found it’s usually clear what the Corrective Action needs to be. The Corrective Action must address the Root Cause!!! There may be multiple Corrective Actions and some actions may address Contributing Causes – this will make your solution more robust in case other factors change in the future. Corrective Action for the problem itself (Occurrence) plus the “Detection” issues need to be implemented to address the full dimension of the issue
  6. Implement / Validate corrective action – It’s necessary that we “maintain the gain” The Corrective Action has to address the Root Cause, so it’s important that a follow-up audit verifies that the Root Cause was eliminated! Someone with a vested interest who was not part of the Corrective Action team should be chosen to follow up. In some cases, verification should be done soon after implementation and again after several weeks to verify that the change really is permanent.
  7. Prevent recurrence – Addressing the Systemic issues is key to Preventing Recurrence. We need to share these best practice solutions, so others can learn from our work.
  8. Recognize the team efforts – Permanently eliminating problems is extremely satisfying in itself but team members provide an important service by working on the problem, so management should recognize the efforts of the people participating in Corrective Actions

The 8D Corrective Action process is necessary for continual improvement. It should be a part of any organization’s culture and needs to be ingrained into DNA of the organization.

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