Learn 8D problem solving in five minutes

1. What is 8D problem solving?

The 8D problem solving method was first proposed by Ford Motor Company to solve various problems in a systematic manner. 8D is about identifying, correcting, and eliminating recurring problems by identifying root causes.
8D is a customer-oriented process that also applies to production and management issues within the enterprise, such as solving missing materials or recurring delivery problems.
The 8D method uses root cause analysis tools, the main tools include:
5 Why: This is a method of repeated questioning used to probe the cause and effect behind a particular question.
Fishbone chart: This is used to identify potential causes of problems and is used when a detailed analysis of a specific problem is required.
The main use cases of 8D include the following:

1) Identify safety or regulatory issues.

In manufacturing companies, safety is always a top priority and must be taken seriously. For example, workers are injured when operating the punching machine, which is a more serious production safety accident. The manufacturing process also needs to comply with local laws and regulations.

2) Solve customer complaints.

This is the most used 8D situation, whenever a customer complaint is received, the enterprise can use a standardized and systematic method to deal with. The client is very familiar with the 8D method, which will improve the efficiency of communication between the two parties.
For example, the customer complained about the surface rust of the parts received within the last 2 months, which seriously affected the assembly and sales of related products, which is a typical customer complaint.

3) The internal defective, waste, waste or unqualified rate exceeds the target.

Usually the factory will set a defective or waste ratio, once it exceeds this indicator, it indicates that there is an abnormal problem in the production of the enterprise.
4) Recurring problems.
The same material is continuously out of stock, which belongs to the problem of repetition, if not completely solved, the production plan can not be smoothly implemented.

2. 8D specific implementation steps

As the name suggests, 8D has eight main active steps.

D1: Set up a team

The first step in the process is to form a team. Solving problems depends on people, and dealing with complex problems requires the formation of cross-functional teams.
Team members need to have the relevant knowledge, skills and experience to solve the problem, so we select qualified members and identify the leaders of the process. First of all, fill in the basic information of the question on the form, including the date, the serial number of the question, and the assignment of the question number.
Organizations may have multiple versions of the 8D template, so make sure you are using the latest version of the form before you begin. Then take notes, register actions, and store files.

D2: Describes the proble

The purpose of D2 is to describe the problem correctly, that is, to clarify the problem before it is resolved. We need to specify the problem, list all the affected part numbers, and specify the problem in a specific quantity.
You can use the 5W2H (What, Why, When, Who, Where, How, How many) method to describe the who, what, where, when, why, how, and amount of the problem.
At this stage, do not explain the reasons, only provide facts related to the data. We can compare photos of good parts and bad parts, circle the parts that cause the bad parts, and make it clear to everyone that the problem has occurred.

D3: Control issues

The third D is called the control problem. Once we have identified the problem, we must control it in order to prevent it from getting worse. We need to inspect potentially affected parts, pick them up in the factory warehouse, and use traceability data to find all potentially affected parts.
The control problem is the implementation and validation of short-term control measures. In this step, we define and implement control measures to isolate the problematic product so that the customer is no longer harmed.
To achieve this, we define different states for the parts involved, such as controlled, affected, passed, failed, or inspected. We have to take into account all inventory, including parts in transit, work in progress, rework and repair parts, not a single one can be missed.
We need to list specific interim control measures, use measurement and control systems, and collect data. Then communicate with the customer, keeping track of when, where, with whom, and about what.

D4: Root cause analysis

The fourth D is to conduct a root cause analysis, which is the first step taken to permanently fix the problem. The most common tools are the fishbone chart and the 5 Why analysis, and other appropriate tools can be used.
The purpose of D4 is to use problem solving tools to identify, identify and verify root causes. The team must identify all possible causes that could explain why the problem occurred.
In order to understand the root cause more fully, we need to consider other perspectives, such as why the problem was not detected when it occurred, and whether there was a system failure.
The team can use brainstorming to brainstorm possible causes, then narrow them down, and finally conduct targeted testing. We need to use data to support root cause analysis, do not rely on feeling to find the cause, otherwise it is difficult to determine the root cause of the failure.

D5: Develop and verify corrective actions

The fifth D is to use the results of root cause analysis to develop and validate long-term corrective actions. The team comes up with a solution by brainstorming and then defining a plan and time to implement it.
In order to ensure the continuity of our work, we need to verify that the description of the problem, the root cause analysis, and the corrective action are consistent, and there can be no inconsistency.

D6: Implement and verify corrective actions

The sixth D is implementing and validating corrective actions. We need to follow the implementation plan to correct the problem and verify that the action has solved the problem, that is, to see if the solution is really effective. The first step is to develop an action plan for implementation and communicate it to all stakeholders.
For example, we want to solve the problem of low delivery rate. The action plan is to increase the factory capacity and arrange workers to work overtime. We need to inform the production department and personnel Department of the plan and ask them to implement the overtime human resources.
Next, we need to correct the problem and identify the solution according to the implementation plan. During this process, we will regularly communicate our progress and update our findings.
If possible, validate improvements with measurable data. The team needs to make the necessary document changes, such as drawings, PPaps, control plans, work instructions, and so on.

D7: Lessons learned, signature confirmation

The seventh D is to record lessons learned and sign confirmation. Making a mistake is not terrible, terrible is repeating the same mistake. The purpose of D7 is to maintain and share knowledge to prevent the same problems from occurring with similar products, processes or locations.
We observe similar operating sites, develop or update system prevention procedures and operational instructions, adopt updated standard operations, and ensure that failure mode and impact analysis (FMEA) or control plans have been updated for similar processes. This is called “a fall into the pit, a gain in wisdom”.

D8: Congratulations to the team

The final D is to congratulate the team, and the process leader should give appropriate recognition to the team members by celebrating their hard work in the following ways, including:
List measurable accomplishments and the value the team has created for the business.
Recognize individuals and teams in internal company newsletters or communication boards.
Reward team members with snacks, cash rewards, or other creative methods.

Finally, some Tips for implementing 8D

1) 8D form formats vary from client to client and change internally, so we want to use the appropriate form. Fill out the form completely without skipping any key steps or leaving anything blank.
2) Hold regular meetings to update the progress made by the team and keep stakeholders informed of the latest progress.
3) Organize the information and put all 8D forms in one folder.
4) Implement the 8D process for existing problems, and the number of cross-functional team should be 4-5 people.
5) Complete steps D1-D3 of the 8D process at the first meeting. Schedule regular meetings and complete the remaining D4-D8 steps.