Root cause analysis quality improvement sounds like it’s own term. They are in a sense, alike, because you get one from the other. Root cause analysis helps identify what, how and why something happened, thus preventing recurrence. This leads to quality improvement.
Each and every day, we are inundated with media through television, news and internet. Much of the content within the media is history or the end result of an event that has already taken place. For the most part, if there is an incident that occurs in the news, nobody reading the article or seeing the news clip really knows why the incident really took place. We can hypothesize and come up with some outlandish stories as to why, but the root cause is rarely ever addressed. Mission critical business where lives are dependent upon the safety of a product or service are usually the only ones ever truly scrutinized by the general public until the root cause is best known by those conducting the investigation. Examples of mission critical product and services include medical equipment and services as well as transportation equipment and services.
The answer as to why it is that these mission critical products and services often best address and thoroughly examine the root cause is easy - RISK. The result of these failed products and services puts us all at the largest amount of risk for a potential catastrophic injury. If a catastrophic event takes place, pressure is put on the companies by the government, media, and those in the commercial marketplace to make sure the root cause is understood and addressed.
For all business owners, the same holds true with product and service offerings. When a customer has a valid complaint, they want to know what caused the problem, and depending upon the risk to their customers (assuming their customer isn't an end user), will likely request a corrective action which will require you as the product or service provider to complete a root cause analysis.
When completing root cause analysis it's imperative for persons to know and understand what root cause is. Root cause is a systematic breakdown of a process or a product that when the process or product is corrected, the problem does not return. I've seen many cases where root cause analysis ends with an employee or a worker. It's very rare that the root cause of a product problem is from an incompetent person. It is more likely that the root cause of the problem were the work instructions and information that were provided to that person or persons which allowed them to make the mistake. Product and service errors are not necessarily the result of a bad employee but a poorly developed process.
For those of you that find yourselves completing a root cause corrective action, it should not be viewed as unnecessary work or a "thorn in the side". It is equally important to not complete root cause corrective action in a silo. Involve management teams and operators that are completing the work. The operators that complete the work are the ones that give life to the product or service and they may hold the key in resolving these problems more quickly. Additionally, the operators will likely appreciate the fact that you reached out to them for their opinion and thoughts on the situation. Each problem that results in conducting a corrective action and root cause should be seen as an opportunity. These problems are opportunities to improve product and services, improve internal and external customer relationships, and in the long term can reduce costs and risk posed to other customers.
"iCONN Systems, LLC's quality policy is to provide customers with high quality interconnect solutions that are delivered on-time with a commitment to continuous improvement." The implementation of root cause analysis by our quality team and management ensures that our customers are receiving the best quality product possible. iCONN Systems was listed in Quality Magazine's Leadership 100 in 2015 and also Quality Magazine's 2013 100 companies that demonstrate continuous improvement and commitment to quality.