Published November 24th, 2020
What is Root Cause Analysis?
Root cause analysis (RCA) is a methodical approach in analyzing a problem and eliminating its root cause to solve counterproductive issues or events. Root cause analyses can help ensure the prevention of recurring problems, validating that RCA-recommended actions can improve business processes and boost productivity.
This article features:
- What is a root cause analysis template?
- What are the different types of root cause analysis tools?
- What are examples of root cause analysis questions?
- How to efficiently perform RCA with a digital root cause analysis tool
- Free root cause analysis templates you can download, customize and use
A root cause analysis template is used by cross-functional teams of subject matter experts to construct a good problem statement, collect relevant data, effectively identify the root cause, and implement lasting solutions. Utilizing mobile-ready root cause analysis templates can help teams take immediate action to resolve issues and cultivate a culture of collaboration and accountability.
Various tools are used to facilitate root cause analysis better, so it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the organization and its context to be able to pick the right one. Moreover, different business problems entail a specific approach to reach the accurate conclusion of the root cause, formulate correct solutions, and achieve optimum results. Here are 4 of the best RCA tools to help you determine the right approach for your problem.
Root Cause Analysis Tool #1: 5 Whys Analysis (The Five Whys)
One of the most widely used problem-solving techniques is the 5 whys analysis. It is applied to universal problems across various industries due to its simple but practical nature, especially when implementing kaizen in your organization.
As a rule of thumb, the root cause is discovered by asking, “Why did this problem occur?” five times. Use a 5 whys analysis template for initial root cause analysis and easily build a culture of collaboration and accountability among employees.
Root Cause Analysis Tool #2: Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
An FMEA aims to anticipate potential problems before they happen so that their adverse effects on customers can be mitigated. Product design and process improvement professionals perform failure modes and effects analysis to prevent costly manufacturing failures and increase customer satisfaction. A highly functional FMEA template is crucial for success in implementing FMEAs.
Root Cause Analysis Tool #3: 8 Disciplines of Problem-Solving (8D)
Quality engineers in the automotive industry first developed 8D for comprehensive RCAs of critical problems in the production process. Applying the 8D approach in healthcare, retail, and manufacturing has also been proven to drive effective system changes.
Conduct an 8D root cause analysis when safety or regulatory issues have been discovered in your business and repetitive customer complaints about your product/service are received. Permanent corrective actions based on data and information related to the problem can be established using an 8D template.
Root Cause Analysis Tool #4: Six Sigma Methodology (DMAIC)
For any project that needs improvement, follow the DMAIC process (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) and focus efforts on the analyze phase. As the most recognized Six Sigma methodology, its strength lies in the structure and rigor from quantifying the problem to implementing long-term solutions.
Use a digital DMAIC template to breakdown the root cause analysis by defining performance objectives, identifying value/non-value added process steps and specifying the sources of variation.
Following one of the framework of one of the most comprehensive root cause analysis techniques, listed below are sample questions team leaders can ask when performing root cause analysis:
- Root Cause Analysis Question #1:
Is my problem-solving team trained enough and aware of their respective functions?
- Root Cause Analysis Question #2:
Does our problem statement answer the 5 Ws and 2 Hs for greater clarity and accuracy?
- Root Cause Analysis Question #3:
Can these actions temporarily isolate the problem from our customers in the future?
- Root Cause Analysis Question #4:
Does the root cause reveal non conformance or hidden flaws in the system?
- Root Cause Analysis Question #5:
Can these possible solutions change the product and/or process conditions to permanently solve the problem?
- Root Cause Analysis Question #6:
Were the corrective actions communicated to all stakeholders and measured for improvements?
- Root Cause Analysis Question #7:
Were similar products and/or processes reviewed and work procedures updated for problem prevention?
- Root Cause Analysis Question #8:
Have I provided relevant feedback and recognized both team and individual efforts?
Root cause analysis with your team can achieve optimum results when integrated with digital root cause analysis tools such as iAuditor by SafetyCulture. Empower your RCA team with iAuditor and take advantage of:
Streamlined data collection
- Perform RCAs anytime, anywhere from any iOS, Android, or Windows smartphone or tablet!
- Capture and store unlimited photos as proof of verified root causes.
- Validate data and information using digital signatures.
- All data is automatically saved and secured in the cloud!
Instant root cause analysis reports
- As your team completes a root-cause analysis, an RCA report is automatically produced!
- Share RCA templates to all stakeholders with just the tap of a finger!
- You can also export your RCA report in various formats such as PDF, DOC, CSV, etc. View sample report of a Root Cause Analysis PDF here.
- Customize your RCA template to generate reports that fulfill your business needs.
- Enhanced team administration
Enhanced team administration
- Manage teams easily with structured groups.
- Assign and track corrective actions to team members.
- Update actions from your mobile device and receive notifications in real-time!
- Your RCA team is also backed up by world-class 24/5 customer support!
Featured Root Cause Analysis Templates
Root Cause Analysis Template
A root cause analysis template is used to analyze a recurring problem and help eliminate the root causes. RCA teams should drill down to the root of the problem to implement solutions with a lasting impact. Improve business processes and boost productivity by incorporating this template into your problem-solving techniques. Our featured RCA template has been built for you to efficiently:
- Describe the issue and its impact;
- List potential reasons why the issue happened;
- Identify the root cause and take/attach photo evidence for verification;
- Provide a prevention strategy and recommend solutions; and
- Complete the RCA report with digital signatures.
5 Whys Template
A 5 whys template can help ensure that business teams resolve the root cause of problems to avoid them from recurring. This 5 whys template has been designed to make it easier for you to ask and answer the question, “Why?”. Conduct follow-throughs on the effectiveness of your solutions and improve accountability with your employees. Our featured 5 whys template enables you to easily perform the following:
- Clearly define the problem;
- Answer why the problem occurred;
- Check if the root cause is discovered;
- Provide a solution to the root cause of a problem; and
- Create and assign action.
An FMEA template aims to identify potential problems in a process, product or design and prevent their adverse effects on customers. You can also customize this digital FMEA template based on your company requirements. Monitor the implementation and effectiveness of corrective actions with the use of this template. Our featured FMEA template empowers product design and process improvement teams to:
- Describe the process function;
- Identify the mechanism of failure;
- Determine the RPN;
- Create and complete corrective actions
- Validate the FMEA with digital signatures
8D Report Template
An 8D report template is used to document a comprehensive root cause analysis based on the 8 Disciplines of Problem-Solving, previously known as the Team-Oriented Problem-Solving. 8D teams can easily generate a detailed report with the use of this template. Effective system changes that improve the quality and reliability of your product/service can be derived from an 8D report.
A DMAIC template can help ensure that Six Sigma practitioners apply the DMAIC methodology (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) as a root cause analysis for process improvements. Start by defining the project goals and listing customer deliverables. Next, measure the current performance of the process to quantify the problem. Analyze until the root cause has been identified and improve the design, system, and/or process with assessed and re-evaluated solutions. Finally, specify the monitoring and control system in place and complete the DMAIC with your digital signature.