Peeling the Onion to Conquer Problems with the Five Ws
1. WHY did you have inconsistent color when producing the job?
I was having a problem with the water and ink balance on the press.
2. WHY were you having that problem?
The ink and water rollers need to be adjusted; many are worn and need to be changed.
3. WHY didn’t you stop the press, adjust the rollers and change out the ones that were too worn to be adjusted?
In the above example, the root cause SEEMS to be found in the second WHY. However, if you keep asking WHY, you may discover
- the operator wasn’t given sufficient time to adjust rollers, or
- the problem was due to pressure to get the work out, or
- there was no Preventative Maintenance System in place.
Once you have identified the root cause of an issue, it’s time to begin a corrective action that will prevent this non-conformance—which I call a “System-Busting (I-don’t-want-this-to-happen-ever-again-in-our-company) Event!”
The best method for permanently eliminating “System-Busting Events” is to implement good written systems.
Did I mention...Great systems work!
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.