Problem-Solving Steps Used by Leading Companies

  • Identify the problem: Take note of recurring issues that arise during specific tasks, such as imaging plates, scanning images, clicking buttons, file handling, credit card transactions, printing on a specific paper, using inserters, or mailing envelopes.  Pinpoint the specific situations where the problem occurs.
  • Describe the situation using the Six Ws: Determine who is involved, what exactly happened, when and where it took place, why it occurred, and how it happened.  Gathering detailed information will provide a comprehensive understanding of the problem.
  • Implement a temporary workaround solution: Instead of immediately seeking a long-term fix, focus on resolving the issue at the
  • moment.  Find a solution that allows work to continue, even if it’s not perfect.  This approach helps address the immediate challenge and keep operations running smoothly.
  • Identify the root cause: Once the immediate problem is resolved, conduct research to determine the underlying cause.  Revisit the Six Ws framework, involving both the individuals who experienced the problem and those who were affected before and after the occurrence.
  • Propose and research solutions: Engage with everyone who encounters the problem, including those working before and after it happens.  Seek their insights on potential causes.  As you narrow down the options, lay the groundwork to encourage staff buy-in for the chosen solution(s).
  • Develop an action plan: Based on the identified solutions, create a comprehensive action plan.  This may involve addressing the issue through staff training, equipment modifications, procedural adjustments, or a combination of these four fundamental solution approaches.
  • Monitor and evaluate results: Avoid the common mistake of neglecting follow-up.  Assign someone to check the situation the next day, week, and month to ensure no new hurdles have emerged.  If new issues arise, repeat the problem-solving process to address them effectively.

By following these refined steps, you can foster a systematic approach to problem-solving in customer manufacturing, leading to improved efficiency and fewer recurring challenges

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