Experiences using Root Cause Analysis for Improvement, Ben Linders, European SEPG 2002

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The presentation will show how Root Cause Analysis (RCA) can be applied in way that it supports reaching the business goals of an organisation. It is based on the results of an investigation done after applying RCA for several years. This has lead to effective RCA methods, applied at specific points in the processes, with significant results.

Also the role of RCA in Total Quality Management and Statistical Process Control is explained, and RCA as a pragmatic implementation of the CMMI Causal Analysis & Resolution process area is elaborated.

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Experiences using Root Cause Analysis for Improvement, Ben Linders, European SEPG 2002

  1. 1. Ben Linders, Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands 07 February 2003 1 Experiences using Root Cause Analysis for Product & Process Improvement ESEPG conference 2002, April 9-12, Amsterdam Ben Linders Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands, Rijen (N.B.) Ben.Linders@eln.ericsson.se, +31 161 24 9885
  2. 2. 2Ben Linders, Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands 07 February 2003 Overview • Need for Root Cause Analysis • Root Cause Analysis in Quality Systems • Investigation of business results • Conclusions, future direction ?
  3. 3. 3Ben Linders, Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands 07 February 2003 Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands • Worldwide Ericsson R&D company • Wide product range: – Base stations, UMTS – Internet Applications – Intelligent Networks and Services, Announcements – Bluetooth, Business Cordless • 950 employees, in the south (Rijen) and the east (Enschede, Emmen) Root Cause Analysis is done at: – Local design centre: Development Projects – Ericsson Corporate: Crash Commission for Outages
  4. 4. 4Ben Linders, Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands 07 February 2003 Need for Root Cause Analysis • Product Quality – In Service Performance – Customer Satisfaction • Process Performance – Cost and lead-time reduction – Efficiency Combination of Product and Process focus
  5. 5. 5Ben Linders, Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands 07 February 2003 Customer Focus: Product Quality Issues like – outages and downtime of telephone exchanges – loss or duplication of Billing Data are costly and highly undesired! First criteria for improvement: A problem!
  6. 6. 6Ben Linders, Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands 07 February 2003 Bottom Line Focus: Process Performance Budget overdrawn, insufficient quality, and missed deadlines, cannot be eliminated, but: An organisation should at least learn from its mistakes! (and don’t make the same mistakes again…)
  7. 7. 7Ben Linders, Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands 07 February 2003 There is a Need for RCA Product quality and process performance are both good reasons to prevent problems from happening again, at the customer and in projects. Best way to save money is to prevent problems! Root Cause Analysis identifies basic/most effective actions
  8. 8. 8Ben Linders, Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands 07 February 2003 Root Cause Analysis in Quality Systems Total Quality Management (TQM) Capability Maturity Model - Integration (CMM-I) International Telecommunication Union (ITU) ISO 9001 Can models help us?
  9. 9. 9Ben Linders, Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands 07 February 2003 TQM Overall philosophy to continually improve processes, activities, and operations to better meet customers expectations Focus on achieving Customer Satisfaction Key is management support, direction & commitment RCA is performed: • reactively on problems that have already occurred or • proactively to anticipate on potential problems in the future (risk analysis).
  10. 10. 10Ben Linders, Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands 07 February 2003 CMM-I Level 5 Process Area: Causal Analysis and Resolution (CAR) • Select problems to investigate, based on quantitative criteria • Analyse problem and determine the most basic causes • Define corrective actions, and implement in the organisation • Measure effect of improvements RCA is done based on quantitative data (outliers), using available capability of an organisation to improve.
  11. 11. 11Ben Linders, Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands 07 February 2003 ITU Recommendation E.436 Customer Affecting Incidents and Blocking Defects • RCA is mandatory if failure occurs more than N times • RCA is encouraged for failures that affect specific customers and are triggered by chronic customer complaints. • RCA is also encouraged if process failures occur less than N times: could mask an underlying problem that could potentially have had a much larger impact. Criteria when RCA is to be performed are to be specified in a company policy
  12. 12. 12Ben Linders, Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands 07 February 2003 ISO 9001 Root Cause Analysis is part of corrective action process, done to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the processes. Multiple sources of information are used, including: • Customer complaints • Process measurements • Audits and assessments RCA is used to define improvement actions based on actual/potential problems
  13. 13. 13Ben Linders, Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands 07 February 2003 Conclusions Quality Systems • Either pro-active or reactive • Best if based on quantitative data Root Cause Analysis is a quality management approach, and as a set of techniques for finding basic causes of problems and defining actions to prevent them from happening again.
  14. 14. 14Ben Linders, Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands 07 February 2003 Investigation of RCA Business Results By student of Industrial Engineering and Management of the University of Twente, Enschede Research approach: RCA according to literature Investigate how RCA has contributed to goals Look for potential future application of RCA Recommendations for further implementation of RCA
  15. 15. 15Ben Linders, Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands 07 February 2003 Actions & Cost/Benefit 12 RCA sessions done in a year within one unit Resulted:190 Root Causes and 135 Preventive Actions 60% of actions done, average cost/benefit of 1:2 Cost - Benefit 0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 6.0 Nr Root Causes/Actions per meeting hr 0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 6.0 Nr Root Cause per hr Nr Actions per hr
  16. 16. 16Ben Linders, Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands 07 February 2003 Future Potential of RCA Potential RCA applications 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Custom erEm ployeePrevention Test/Verification M aintenance ProcessIm pr.Innovation #applications Potential for improving customer satisfaction Preventing problems iso solving them, but with process improvement RCA as a means to come to product innovations
  17. 17. 17Ben Linders, Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands 07 February 2003 CMMI applied: Causal Analysis & Resolution Lessons Learned: • CAR is a support area: Guidance on application needed • Description of CAR in CMMI has been usable • Possible to implement CAR in a non level 5 organisation QPMCAR Defects Information Improvement proposals M&A Process Data Organization OID Outlier
  18. 18. 18Ben Linders, Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands 07 February 2003 Recommendations Investigation RCA processes are sufficiently defined at Ericsson Insufficient institutionalisation of RCA, a policy is needed RCA has significant positively contributed to business goals, there is a good Business Case to continue them
  19. 19. 19Ben Linders, Ericsson EuroLab Netherlands 07 February 2003 Where to Go From Here • Solid frameworks exist for RCA – CMMI Causal Analysis and Resolution – TQM, ISO & ITU • RCA contributes towards business goals – Cost and lead-time reduction – Potential for customer satisfaction & innovation Policy is essential! Commitment and support Budget for countermeasure actions Assure that RCA is applied effectively

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