5 Whys Root Cause Analysis


Stubborn or recurrent problems often causes deeper issues.

“Quick fixes” may seem convenient, but they do not provide permanent solutions.

5 Whys technique developed by Sakichi Toyoda, the Japanese industrialist, inventor and founder of Toyota Industries, in the 1930s.

5 Whys became popular in the 1970s, and Toyota still uses it to solve problems today.

Toyota has a “go and see” philosophy. This means that its decision making is based on an in-depth understanding of what is actually happening on the shop floor, rather than on what someone in a boardroom thinks might be happening.

The 5 Whys technique is most effective when the answers come from people who have hands-on experience of the process or problem in question.



Completing the 5 Whys Root-Cause Analysis
1) First step of 5 Whys analysis is to define;
* Product/Supplier
* Department
* Completed by, and
* Date
details that are subject to apply the analysis
2) Second step is to clearly define the Problem, which should be specific, clear and concise.
When defining the problem, gather together people who are familiar with the specifics of the problem, and with
the process that you’re trying to fix.
Include someone to act as a facilitator, who can keep the team focused on identifying effective counter-measures.
If you can, observe the problem in action. Discuss it with your team and write a brief, clear problem statement that
you all agree on.
3) Third part focuses on the cause of the problem with starting to ask: Why is this a problem?
The goal here to explore the impact of existence of relevant issue that appears to be problem.
Following this, it is required to ask:
Why is it happening?
*Primary Cause
*Contributing Problem
*Other Contributing Problem
Following this process, four more times & Why is that? &is required to ask from three different dimension as well,
where the last question will enable to explore the root-cause of the problem.
Ask your team why the problem is occurring. (For example, &Why isn’t Team A meeting its response time targets?)
Asking Why? sounds simple, but answering it requires serious thought. Search for answers that are grounded in
fact: they must be accounts of things that have actually happened, not guesses at what might have happened.
This prevents 5 Whys from becoming just a process of deductive reasoning, which can generate a large number of
possible causes and, sometimes,
create more confusion as you chase down hypothetical problems.

Corrective Action To Take
4) The final step of 5 Whys analysis is to set corrective actions based on root-causes of problems explored at third
step from three different dimensions, addressing
*Primary Cause
*Contributing Problem
*Other Contributing Problem
While corrective actions are taken, it is essential to describe actions that are specific, measurable, attainable,
realistic, and time-based (SMART).
For each corrective action, you should define;
*Responsible party, who will lead the corrective action?
*Date action to begin, when will the corrective action start?
*Date to complete, when will the corrective action end?

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