The organization's Failure Reporting Analysis and Corrective Action System (FRACAS) is a valuable tool for capturing the details related to incidents for a product or process (i.e., failures, events, suggestions, etc.) and following up with the appropriate corrective actions. When there are many incident reports that all result from the same underlying problem, the organization may choose to assemble a team that has the responsibility to take whatever actions may be necessary to effectively resolve the problem.
There are many different approaches to team-based problem solving, each with its own acronyms and buzzwords. Some methodologies can be described with four steps, such as PDCA (plan, do, check and act) or DCOV (define, characterize, optimize and verify). Some methodologies use five steps, such as DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve and control) or DMEDI (define, measure, explore, develop and implement). Other methodologies, such as the 8D (TOPS) approach, use eight steps.
This article provides a brief overview of three commonly used problem solving methodologies -- 8 Disciplines (8D), Six Sigma DMAIC and the PDCA cycle (Deming Cycle) -- and describes how ReliaSoft's XFRACAS system can be configured to fit these and other problem solving approaches (from 4 to 8 steps).
8 Disciplines (8D) - TOPS The 8 Disciplines (8D) approach, sometimes also referred to as "Team-Oriented Problem Solving” (TOPS), was developed within Ford Motor Company in the 1980s. As the names imply, the approach involves a cross-functional team following eight guidelines (or steps) that have been designed to enable the team to understand a problem, resolve it and take steps to prevent the same or similar problems from recurring in the future. The approach consists of the following 8 Disciplines (8Ds).
Six Sigma DMAIC The DMAIC process (often pronounced duh-MAY-ick) which is a key component of the Six Sigma methodologies, provides another structured approach to understanding and addressing an identified problem. This approach consists of the following five steps.
Plan - Do - Check - Act Cycle The Plan - Do - Check - Act cycle (also called the PDCA cycle, the Deming Wheel or the Shewhart cycle) is another commonly employed problem solving approach. In use since the 1940s and 50s, this four-step process was designed to be repeated until an effective solution has been employed. This approach consists of the following steps.
The cycle begins again when the organization identifies the next problem or further opportunities for improvement.
Configuring XFRACAS to Support Your Process ReliaSoft’s XFRACAS system is a web-based, closed-loop, incident (failure) reporting, analysis and corrective action software system (FRACA / FRACAS) designed for the acquisition, management and analysis of product reliability, quality and safety data from multiple sources, along with the management of problem resolution activities.
Although XFRACAS provides the tools necessary to address and "close the loop" on each reported incident independently, a team-based problem resolution approach can be more efficient and effective when individual incident reports signal an underlying problem that needs to be resolved. XFRACAS provides a flexible framework for this via the Problem Resolution Report (PRR) interface. With the PRR approach, you can assign multiple incident reports to a single PRR. Resolving the underlying problem addresses all related incidents and improves the design and/or the process to prevent similar problems from occurring in the future. The system administrator can configure the PRR interface to support any problem resolution methodology, from 4 to 8 steps. For example, Figure 1 shows the XFRACAS system configured for the DMAIC approach while Figure 2 shows an 8D configuration.
Figure 1: XFRACAS configured for DMAIC
Figure 2: XFRACAS configured for 8D
The PRR utility provides a configurable array of tools to enable you to coordinate and manage problem solving activities. In addition to the system’s powerful closed-loop action management capabilities (with automated e-mail notifications, easily generated status reports, etc.), XFRACAS also allows you to create checklists, link or attach related documents, query the “knowledge base” of past issues/solutions, identify stages (gates) that require formal review/approval, and much more. For more information on the XFRACAS system, please visit the product website at http://www.ReliaSoft.com/xfracas or contact ReliaSoft.