Root Cause

Root Cause

RPM Method + RCM = Reliability

Picture this: It’s Monday morning and you’re the maintenance manager of an industrial plant. On your desk is a printout of 432 open work orders and the operations manager is screaming because air compressor #2 just tripped for the third time this month. To make matters worse, you just remembered two of your technicians went fishing for the week. The question is: “What can this maintenance manager do to improve this situation?” The obvious answer is to go fishing with the two technicians. Maybe a better question to ask is: “What can be done to improve plant performance?”

See More
Root Cause

Three Simple RCA (Root Cause Analysis) Facilitation Tips

I have heard one manager in a plant that has stipulated a maximum of two hours for an Root Cause Analysis to be conducted in his organisation. Another expects at least “brainstormed” solutions before the conclusion of day one – within 6 or 7 hours.  It is not uncommon for a draft report to be required within 48 hours of the RCA. The following three tips may assist to meet tight deadlines and when time expectations are short. One advantage of the Apollo RCA process is that it is a fast process but the “driver” has to be on the ball to achieve the desired outcomes – effective solutions.

See More
Root Cause

Why Some Root Cause Investigations Don’t Prevent Recurrence

To successfully carry out this mission, a root-cause investigation needs to be evidence-driven in accordance with a rigorous application of the bedrock of all root-cause methodologies: the Scientific Method. Consistent with the Scientific Method, underlying assumptions have to be questioned and conclusions have to be consistent with the available evidence, as well as with proven scientific facts and principles. Sometimes root-cause investigations fail to fulfill their primary mission and the failure recurs. In that regard, diagnosing the root cause of root-cause investigation failures is, in itself, an interesting topic. Here are three common reasons why some root-cause investigations fail their mission.

See More
Root Cause

The Top 10 Reasons Why Root Cause Analysis Sucks in the United States

Lately, I’ve been asked to provide root-cause analysis training more than ever before in my 14 years as an independent quality/lean consultant. This is interesting in the age of Six Sigma, especially because “analyze” is the heart of DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control). I find this interesting in this age of lean, in which the lean tools that are taught to so many people are only possible solutions to good root-cause analysis. I began to wonder, “Why does root-cause analysis suck?,” and I came up with the following possible root causes. You decide which apply to your company by asking “Why?” somewhere around five times until you find the systemic reason(s) that it sucks at your company. Drum roll, please . . .

See More
Root Cause

The Latent Causes of Industrial Failure

Hidden but powerful forces within our organizations are causing people to make serious mistakes. Until someone deals with these forces, they will continuously but unpredictably snare people into doing things they should not do. These forces are like a “trap,” waiting to catch the next person. The most proactive of all industrial action might be to identify and remove these latent traps. But all our attempts to identify and remove these latent causes of failure start at the human. Humans do things “inappropriately,” for “latent” reasons.

See More
Root Cause

7 Points to Successful Root Cause Analysis (RCA)

Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a useful tool for trouble shooting breakdowns and efficiently coming to a solution. I propose the following seven points for successful implementation of RCA that will naturally result in increased profits.

See More
Root Cause

Case Study: Root Cause on Seal Failure in Refinery

Many different factors contribute towards the failure of a pump. Some factors that did not seem to have contributed to earlier failures were not examined or considered and may become the cause of failure under other situations. Failures do not occur suddenly. Usually there are many symptoms, which signal a failure situation and are generally termed as potential failure modes. The ignorance of such symptoms almost always leads to failure. Below are two case studies pertaining to mechanical seal systems, a vital component of pumps operating in running process plant.

See More
Root Cause

Root Cause Analysis: Will It Find the Weak Link?

As a teacher and a practitioner of root cause analysis, I see not only the physical motions of going through such an effort, but also the psychology behind what makes or breaks it. When you consider the effort that goes into determining root causes and developing recommendations, why should it be such a hard sell to get something done?

See More

Join the discussion

Click here to join the Maintenance and Reliability Information Exchange, where readers and authors share articles, opinions, and more.

"*" indicates required fields

Get Weekly Maintenance Tips

delivered straight to your inbox

"*" indicates required fields