The importance of solving problems at their source
Glenn Gooding, managing consultant at Renault-Nissan Consulting discuses the importance of solving problems at source.
In order for your business to operate at its best, it’s important to continually question the processes you have in place and identify areas where improvements could be made. And a significant skill you or your team members should master as part of any business improvement programme is solving problems at their source.
Sometimes referred to as Root Cause Analysis, this emphasis on problem solving helps to ensure effective business process management, and can have a direct impact on the success of your company. The following information shows why solving a problem at its source can bring a wealth of benefits to your business.
Prevention, rather than cure
In our experience, many leaders attempt to tackle problems once they arise time and again, without considering how they could prevent them from happening in the first place. Solving problems at their source means a problem rarely occurs on a continuous basis; it provides a preventative measure rather than simply a cure.
Using the example of a clothing manufacturer we can see how Root Cause Analysis can help to solve a problem, for good. Imagine customers regularly complained that the button on their jeans fell off due to improper stitching. One option would be to return each pair of jeans to the factory and re-sew the button before shipping them again or worse, discarding them altogether. With Root Cause Analysis, the business could investigate the reason there were numerous faulty buttons. This could involve an assessment of the machinery used, the speed at which a particular employee was required to assemble the jeans or the quality of the fabric. By identifying which stage of the process was at fault, the business would be able to eradicate the ‘root cause’ of the problem, potentially saving them money and increasing profit, while also improving customer satisfaction.
Whether your organisation is going through a business process management programme or you are about to embark on a continuous improvement drive, solving problems at their root will be a major part of achieving excellence. This plays an essential role in reducing costs and helping to increase profit by removing issues within the organisation that could be a barrier to bringing in revenue.
The sooner a problem is resolved within your organisation, the less it will cost in wasted resources or lost earnings. This is another reason why solving problems at their root is important for any business.
Optimise your processes, reduce your costs
The principles of Kaizen, often referred to as continuous improvement, tell us that if you create better efficiency within your business, you can reduce costs. To get to this stage, project managers taking part in your operational excellence initiative must review where processes fail and find suitable solutions.
By identifying areas for improvement and problems that can be fixed within your organisation, you can streamline processes, making them smoother, faster and easier for everyone involved. This is where Root Cause Analysis can add tangible benefits to your business, as there is less reliance on fixing problems as they arise and more emphasis on saving time by getting to the root of the problem and finding a solution.
Solving problems at their source can be essential for improving the quality of the goods or services you provide. In manufacturing for example, a defect could be resolved by going as far back as the design phase, but will ultimately ensure that the overall quality of product is improved.
Many organisations will review quality control as part of an effective business process management programme, aiming to identify where failings occur. By solving problems at their source, significant time and cost savings can be made.
By dealing with problems at their source, you reduce the chances of mistakes making it to your customers. With Root Cause Analysis you can easily spot shortcomings in the way goods are manufactured. In addition, by instilling a problem solving culture, you ensure that defects are constantly reviewed and removed from the business. The end result is a better product or service, fewer complaints and greater customer satisfaction.