What’s a “Root Cause?”

from IDCON
Posted 1/3/2008

IDCON is convinced that the process of analyzing the root cause of failures and acting to eliminate these causes is one of the most powerful tools in improving plant reliability and performance. But what is a “root cause”? One definition is “The cause of a problem which, if adequately addressed, will prevent a recurrence of that problem.” Lets look at an example.

Imagine that a bearing has failed, and that an investigation shows that it had not been lubricated. Asking the question “why had it not been lubricated?” may lead to the discovery that the grease point for the bearing had been missed during a lubrication survey and it was not on the lubrication mechanic’s route sheet. Using the above definition of “root cause”, this problem can be prevented from happening again by simply adding this grease point to the lubrication route sheet. Continue reading →