Root Cause Versus Solution
If you’ve followed any of my prior materials, you’ve certainly heard me say, “Be a root cause hunter, not a solution hunter!” But you may be thinking to yourself – don’t those terms mean the same thing? Let me explain to you how different they are, and why this difference is so important!
Root Cause VS Solution, Don't Make This Common Mistake!
What I like to call “Bandage Solutions” are typically easy to find by any run-of-the mill mechanic or handyman. The problem with utilizing these bandage solutions is that while they sometimes appear to “fix” the problem at the time, they can end up causing additional problems in the long run! Why is this? Because nobody is considering the Root of what Causes the problem in the first place. Therefore they pursue a solution that is not going to fix the problem correctly.
For example, if there is a recurring broken part, a Solution Hunter might propose simply making the part stronger. Thus they change the design and, voila – problem supposedly solved. For the sake of clarity, let’s imagine this is a plastic part. The part has been made so strong that it is now unbreakable. However, looking at the failure percentage, perhaps you discover only 1% of the original design was faulty to begin with. Well, now you’ve changed the design on ALL of the parts, making 100% of them invincible. But 99% of them worked perfectly before, never having failed. You’ve just created a huge needless expense.Instead of hearing a problem and immediately looking for a Bandage Solution, a Lightning Problem Solver will always look for the Root Cause first. Click To Tweet
Why this Bandage Solution is a Bad “Solution”
In this hypothetical case, we discover the root cause to be a simple event. We’ll say it was a robot on the line hitting the pieces, damaging them. Making the cheaply manufactured plastic part incredibly strong only opens the door for more expensive parts to be compromised in their stead.
Also, now it is going to take forever to uncover the actual offender since the remodeled parts last longer in the field. By the time the stronger parts do fail, there will probably be no link to the design change. And by this time a different engineer might carry ownership of the part, making it incredibly difficult to trace back the error to the actual root cause.
Instead of finding “bandage solutions” that will result in greater expenditures and the necessity to solution hunt again in the near future, search for the root cause, or the event causing mechanical failure. Then you’ll know how to successfully stop the event for good!
When you have parts that are breaking, know that there is usually motion and contact involved. A true solution will either stop the motion or stop the contact.
Real Life Example
Another example of implementing Root Cause resolutions has to do with a gap on a vehicular hood. The v-shaped gap was unseemly and I had been invited to come up with a true solution since their bandage solution was creating problems.
Their engineers had decided that bending the hood, causing it to crack perceptibly was going to “fix” the gap issue! By careful research and investigation, I discovered the root cause was housed in the bracket assembly. Once I arrived at this conclusion, there were actually several great true solutions that presented themselves. For example, adding a fixture for optimal bracket/hood contact or changing the hood design itself would negate the gap problem.
Instead of using a Bandage Solution, causing the hood to crack and warp over time, resulting in a myriad of warranty and safety issues; finding the Root Cause enabled us to swiftly address the actual problem, save money, and solve their warranty woes before they grew out of control.
To Leak or Not to Leak?
My final example for you today showcases a water leak scenario. A bandage solution would be to continue letting the water leak, but construct a new path for the water to follow. Instead, a root cause hunter would trace that path back to the cause of the leak, identifying the good parts that have no leaks, and eliminating the leak path on the inferior parts.If you are stuck with a breaking part or warranty issue and need to get it under control quickly, PLEASE don’t use a bandage solution! Click To Tweet
Don’t Waste Time and Resources, Fix Things Right the First Time!
Don’t waste your valuable time taking chances on temporary “fixes” that end up creating bigger, more costly problems later. Detect the Root Cause first and it will reveal the true Solutions!
Are you still needing help finding your root cause or hemorrhaging cash and needing assistance ASAP? Give me a call or send an e-mail and I would be glad to assist you! I’ve been called in countless times to work projects losing over a million dollars a day! These companies had completely shut down their lines due to “unsolvable” production issues. I helped them get it under control quickly so they could start turning a profit again. If you’re in an emergency situation like this, I would love to help you get back in business too!
I love to hear stories from my readers too. If you have an extra minute, let me know in the comments below what’s the craziest “Bandage Solution” you’ve ever seen!
As always, happy problem solving!