As January comes to a close and we attempt to follow through with our New Year’s resolutions, you might realize some resolutions are easier than others to implement. If you aren’t spending the first part of the year creating a workout regimen for yourself, why not take the time to reconsider the ways in which you can reduce inefficiencies in your shop?

Asking why is an important first step to any decision in life, but it becomes especially important in business practices. Sometimes we get caught up in the price or our organization’s tradition and we forget to ask ourselves why we do what we do.

You may have heard the tale of the family who cooked their Thanksgiving turkey in two separate pans. When asked about it, the father of the household answered, “I have no idea, ask Grandma, she’s the one who showed me how to do it.” When Grandma was asked the same question,  she replied, “We’ve always done it this way. It’s family tradition!” Turns out, it was the great-grandmother who had started this so-called “tradition”. When asked why, she said, “The pan I had when I started cooking Thanksgiving dinner was too small, so I had to cut the turkey in half for it to fit!” So, come to find out, this tradition was really nothing more than an earlier generation’s compensation for a problem that no longer existed.

Does this story ring a bell when considering your shop flow? Maybe it’s time to ask yourself if there are any processes you have always “just done” without any real acknowledgement of why. Often times our small habits end up causing larger problems that routinely disrupt your work day. Overtime you grow accustom to these interruptions, accepting them as apart of your work flow. Addressing just one of these issues could save you minutes or hours each week.

But how do you go about reviewing your work flow in a efficient manner? We suggest the RCA method! The Root Cause Analysis mothod (RCA) is extremely helpful to gain a different perspective of your work flow.

RCA is centered around 5 basic steps:

1. Define The Problem

  • Observable issues arising on a regular basis
  • Make a list of daily frustrations

2. Collect Data – the Numbers

  • Monetary loss
  • Time loss
  • Repeated procedures

3. Identify Causal Factors

  • What is directly causing you to get your data?
  • What is causing the previous causes to happen?
  • Make a chart of everything that affects your data

4. Identify Root Causes

  • Underlying reason(s) for each causal factor
  • Multiple causal factors will relate back to one root cause

5. Create and Implement Solutions

  • Determine the changes you must make to prevent the problems from happening again
  • Assign implementation tasks to ensure completion
  • Evaluate the process and risks of implementing these solutions

With this method in mind, you can face problems head-on, with a “let’s fix it” mindset and avoid frivolous frustration. RCA empowers you to put systems in place that will improve your processes in the long run.

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