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SUPERNOODLES PROBLEM SOLVING TECHNIQUE

A SLIGHT MODIFICATION ON THE CURRENT PROCESS


D R McLAREN

The following process for problem solving is much as is taught during most TPM sessions, however after implementing the
process during an actual problem solving exercise relating to block quality we have added a few changes to enhance the
process. Although not significant, hopefully they will allow the process to be applied with a certain degree of ease.

If data in the form of charts/graphs has been generated such as minor stoppage data, pareto, performance etc then it is
necessary to carry out data stratification so as to identify the area/equipment to focus the problems solving technique. To
help understand the process of data stratification, the following example will help explain the process:

DATA STRATIFICATION TECHNIQUE


The chart shown represents the % of breakdowns recorded from roadside assistance groups in the UK. In data
stratification, it is necessary to determine what influences the worst bar from the chart. Therefore what are the breakdowns
associated with the AA. (Stratify the data from the first chart) The next chart indicates the types of breakdowns associated
with the AA. From the chart it can be seen that Elec. Fault are the largest cause.
50
60
45
40 50
35 % B reakdowns
30 40
25
30
20
15 20
10
5 10
0
0
AA RAC G/F lag Others
Elec. Mech. Accident Others

Next we stratify this data (Elec.) to determine what are the causes of all electrical faults/breakdowns. From the chart it is
clear to see that the main influence for elec. faults is that due to battery faults. To determine the route cause of battery
faults, it is necessary to again stratify the data as shown. After stratifying the data for a fourth time we see that the majority
of breakdowns experienced by the AA are attributed to alternator problems

80 60

70 50
60
40
50
30
40
30 20
20 10
10
0 0
Earth
Battery Fuel Sys Immobil Others Alter Charge Others

From the data stratification, it has been possible from the example shown to identify the root cause of the main breakdown
causes. The following process can be used to identify a problem were no charted data has been collected, and to explore
further (in this case) what causes alternator faults.

Problem Solving Technique. 1


SUPERNOODLES PROBLEM SOLVING TECHNIQUE
A SLIGHT MODIFICATION ON THE CURRENT PROCESS
D R McLAREN

A STEP BY STEP APPROACH USING 5W & 1H


1. This involves approaching a problem by developing a problem statement developed using the following; What, When,
Where, Which, Who & How.
2. Each of the 5Ws & 1H above relate to the following questions to ask relating to the problems being investigated.

EXPLANATION OF 5W & 1H

 What product or thing was the machine on?


WHAT  What material was used?
 What size?
 When did the problem occur?
 Was it continuous running or intermittent?
WHEN  Was it on start up?
 Was it before or after changeover?
 What time or period, does it happen on days, afters, nights?
 Where did you see the problem (line/machine/location)?
WHERE  Which particular part did you see the problem?
 Where on the material did you see the problem?
 Is the problem skill related?
 Does any individual affect the problem such as:
 Does a particular operator encounter the problem, but not
WHO other operators.
 Does one shift encounter the problem, but the other shifts
don’t
 Do engineers encounter the problem, but operators don’t
 Which trend or pattern does the problem have?
WHICH  Does the problem happen randomly or is there a set pattern?
 Is there a problem in a particular direction?
 How is the state of the equipment changed from its optimal normal
running condition (crushed, twisted, torn etc.)?
HOW
 How many times does the problem occur (daily, weekly, monthly or
even hourly)?

3. Using the 5W & 1H questioning technique above, it is possible to develop a problem statement which will lead to a
better understanding of the problem and hence a solution.
4. Once a problem statement has been developed it is necessary to determine the potential causes of the problem.
5. To aid this process, write the problem statement on a flip chart then undertake to carry out a brainstorming exercise
and hence produce a list of possible causes.

BRAINSTORMING

RULES FOR BRAINSTORMING GUIDELINES FOR BRAINSTORMING


Go for Quantity Write up on a flipchart the topic and keep in full view.
Freewheel Clearly state and display objectives.
Full Participation Follow the rules.
No Criticism Choose a person to write all ideas on the flipchart.
No Evaluation until the end Keep the momentum going.
Record Everything Have Fun - laughter is a sign of creativity.
Cross Fertilise Evaluate, eliminate duplications and prioritise ideas

Problem Solving Technique. 2


SUPERNOODLES PROBLEM SOLVING TECHNIQUE
A SLIGHT MODIFICATION ON THE CURRENT PROCESS
D R McLAREN

6. Once a list of possible causes has been produced, it is necessary to cluster them into one of four main categories as
described under the “Fishbone Diagram or 4M Chart” as shown, where the major cause can be Manpower, Machines,
Methods, Materials.
MAJOR MAJOR
CAUSE CAUSE

MINOR
CAUSE EFFECT

PROBLEM

MINOR MINOR
CAUSE CAUSE

FISH BONE DIAGRAM


MAJOR MAJOR
CAUSE CAUSE

7. With each major cause identified, now as a group determine what factors influence the major causes.
8. Using the “Fishbone or 4M Chart as above, progress to transfer all the data onto it, with the problem statement in the
box at the mouth of the diagram.
9. At this stage, it would be necessary to evaluate all the causes so as to determine which are directly influencing the
problem statement. However, it is at this stage that we wish to introduce the “FOG Factor”
10. The “FOG Factor” is a method used to identify data and its influence on the problem statement, were FOG stands for:

These are causes which are undeniable and are


F = FACTS capable of being proven. They are the best form of
information, but are surprisingly rare
These are the most common form of information;
they are the considered thoughts of people. They
may also be facts that can’t be proven. Opinions
have the widest range of possible truth. They can be
O = OPINIONS based on practical experiences, uncertain or rumours.
The problem with opinions is that people tend to
think of them as facts, when they are not. Therefore
opinions should be regarded as opinions and treated
with caution.
These are uncertain ideas; they do however help
expand the area of interest. Most guesses turn out to
G = GUESSES
provide a breakthrough. Guesses can be the most
useless and most useful part of solving problems.

11. Once the FOG Factor has been applied, it is necessary to address all those causes identified as having significant
impact on the problems statement and therefore need to be analysed using 5Why Analysis.
12. 5Why analysis involves taking the causes and asking why five times so as to get to the root cause of the problem. To
help record the information, use the sheets provided.
13. Once the root cause for all the causes have been determined from 5Why Analysis, they are then transferred to a
recording sheet which indicates the action, person responsible and when action to be completed.
14. Applying this process will ensure that every success is achieved in resolving the problem identified.

Problem Solving Technique. 3


SUPERNOODLES PROBLEM SOLVING TECHNIQUE
A SLIGHT MODIFICATION ON THE CURRENT PROCESS
D R McLAREN

5 WHY ANALYSIS SHEET


IDENTIFIED CAUSE OF THE PROBLEM:

1ST WHY

2ND WHY

3RD WHY

4TH WHY

5TH WHY

ALL OUTCOMES IN THE 5TH WHY ARE RECORDED ON THE ACTION RECORD SHEET.

Problem Solving Technique. 4


SUPERNOODLES PROBLEM SOLVING TECHNIQUE
A SLIGHT MODIFICATION ON THE CURRENT PROCESS
D R McLAREN

ACTION RECORD SHEET


REF. # ACTION TO BE IMPLEMENTED BY WHO DATE

Problem Solving Technique. 5