Determine the underlying cause of an issue and find better solutions with examples of root cause analysis carried out in different industries.
Published 14 Aug 2023
Root cause analysis (RCA) is the process of identifying the underlying reason or various factors that contribute to a problem. This systematic approach aids in the development of better, more appropriate solutions to issues. What makes RCA effective is that it deals with issues at the root, instead of treating the numerous symptoms resulting from it.
RCA consists of five stages:
Root Cause Analysis Process
The five-step RCA process as described above looks straightforward. But when essential resources are involved and at stake, this is not as simple as it seems. Reviewing real-life scenarios of root cause analysis helps in numerous ways, even more than getting practical experience.
Let’s get straight into the different scenarios where root cause analysis was used to determine the underlying reason for a common problem that some industries face. These RCA examples follow the 5-step process described above and may be transcribed in RCA templates made available in the workplace.
The building renovation has a completion date of 18 months, but the third phase of the project seems to be lagging and may cause two months’ worth of delay.
Relevant data collected
The lack of a defined construction plan and a clear schedule for every phase of the construction plan is the primary cause of the issue.
Top management should go through the plan once more and do a full revision of the construction schedule. This should have a detailed blueprint to minimize unexpected changes, and realistic timelines that consider materials delivery, machine and workforce availability, and overall budget.
The vegetable trucking company noticed a consistent trend of going over budget on fuel costs in the past four months.
Although price fluctuations may seem like the top culprit, it’s futile to blame this. After a careful review of all the documents, the underlying cause of the issue is a deficiency in fleet maintenance. It was found that 50% of all the vehicles missed their last oil and fluid change, while 20% require parts replacements.
The managers should create a comprehensive asset listing that includes maintenance history, daily mileage, and fuel consumption. Daily checks and routine maintenance work should be scheduled to ensure vehicles’ optimal function. Using standardized checklists would also facilitate efficient inspections.
The ceramic ware factory is facing a major challenge in its operations due to a shortage of skilled personnel, particularly in the handmade section.
The lack of care given to handcrafters in the workplace, both in terms of pay and the valuable resources they require, is the top reason for the dwindling number of workers in the aforementioned department.
The managers should identify the specific list of skills required for the department so they can assess new hires efficiently. Implementing a training and development program is a must, whether the worker has a lot of experience in the past or not. Business leaders should also ensure that they invest in these programs and consider increasing the compensation for handcrafters because theirs is a specialized, highly skilled task.
Conducting root cause analysis is one of the most effective ways to get to the bottom of a recurring problem and to come up with a solution that has a far-reaching and long-lasting impact on the organization. SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) assists workers through every step of the RCA process, ensuring insightful results that help in better decision-making. With SafetyCulture, you can:
Eunice Arcilla Caburao
Eunice is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. A registered nurse, theater stage manager, Ultimate Frisbee athlete, and mother, Eunice has written a multitude of topics for over a decade now.
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