Eight Disciplines Problem Solving Technique

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Eight Disciplines

A Brief Overview

No one likes having to deal with problems, and figuring out how to solve them can sometimes be problematic.  But problems occur in business every day, and it’s necessary to have a plan of action to solve them.

A method developed by Ford Motor Company called the Eight Disciplines (8Ds) was implemented as a problem analysis technique to help:

  • Identify the Problem
  • Find a Solution
  • Prevent a Recurrence of the Problem

Ford first recorded a written 8D manual in 1987, but during World War II, the American government implemented a similar process called Military Standard 1520, also referred to a Corrective Action Nonconforming and Deployment System.

Discipline 0: Preparation

This discipline was added after the 8Ds were created, which technically makes it the ninth step.

The problems address utilizing 8D are sometimes unpredictable.  You’ve got to prepare for the unexpected emergencies so you can act fast to solve them.  In this stage, the task is to get yourself prepared to start identifying problems, both current and potential ones, so that no one panics when they pop up.  Clear heads come up with clear solutions.

Discipline 1: Team Building

This stage is all about establishing a committed and knowledgeable team filled with the right people to help you identify and solve problems.

You’ll need people who have the best understanding of the product or system at hand, because if something goes wrong, they are the ones who will be best equipped to find the solution.

Discipline 2: Defining and Describing the Problem

The second stage of the 8D method is to define what the problem is and describe it.  To make sure there is not any confusion and further problems, your team needs to make it clear exactly what the issue is. You must identify things in quantifiable terms using a (5W2H) approach.

  • Who is affected by the issues?  Customers, employees?
  • What exactly is the problem? Pinpoint it to fine detail.
  • When was the problem first begin to occur?
  • Where did the problems first begin to occur?
  • Why did the issue begin to happen in the first place?
  • How did the problem happen?
  • How many / much? This will help in determining how effectively your team has solved the problem once you’ve implemented the solutions.

Discipline 3: Interim Containment Plan

D3 deals with deciding how you can contain the problem to keep things from going from bad to worse while you work to come up with a permanent solution.  This is all about damage control to ensure you’ve limited the negative effects of the problem.

Discipline 4: Identifying Root Causes

D4 has your team figuring out what caused the problem to occur.  It’s not always a simple task.  This stage could require you to follow a chain of events back to a trigger point.

Was it the equipment, the material, the people, the processes, or a combination?  You can use the 6Ms of Six Sigma to assist in identifying the problem’s source.

  • Manpower
  • Machine
  • Materials
  • Method
  • Mother Nature
  • Measurement

Discipline 5: Problem Resolution

This is stage is all solution, baby.  After your team has identified the problem and its causes, then they should make a list of possible fixes and determine which will work best.

The solution could range from a small correction to a multi-faceted plan of action. In addition, you’ll want to ensure the measures will continue to be implemented long-term.

Discipline 6: Implementation of Corrective Actions

Once the solution has been chosen, it’s important to communicate with employees that could be affected, making sure that everyone understands the new processes. Once implemented, have systems in place to monitor results.

Discipline 7: Prevent Recurrence and Entrench New Standards

Essentially what this means is your team will need to work out a way to keep this problem from happen from happening in the future.  That may mean making some modifications to the systems, practices, and procedures of your business to prevent recurrence of problems.

You must also make sure your new standards are upheld and being incorporated until they have become second-nature.

Discipline 8: Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

The 8D approach to problem-solving is dependent on your team’s efforts in order to succeed.  Once they have successfully gone through the steps and come out of the other side, solution in hand, they deserve your gratitude.  Make sure that everyone knows how appreciative you are of all they have done, both collectively and the individual rock-stars of the team, to encourage future efforts.

Contact Othniel Edwards today for your business’s consulting needs.

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