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Understanding 8D Principle of Problem Solving

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8D Problem Solving :
8D Stands for the Eight Disciplines of team-oriented problem-solving. It is a step-by-step process of identifying the root cause of a problem, providing corrective solutions, and preventive solutions to eliminate the recurring problems permanently. 8D follows the logic of PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Adjust). And the 8D was developed and implemented in the Second World War by the US government. Later it was popularized by the Ford Motor Company’s Team Oriented Problem Solving manual.  

In addition to the eight disciplines, one more step is appended initially. That step is known as Step zero – D0.  

Let’s have a look at the Eight Disciplines of problem-solving in detail.  

D0 – Preparation :
Begin with the end in mind. This discipline emphasizes the following saying:  

“Preparation for tomorrow is hard work today”.

In order to be prepared to solve a problem using 8D, one needs to follow the steps given below.  

  1. Do the hard work (Such as clearly understanding the problem, gathering required resources, and identifying people who have the expertise to solve the problem).
  2. Do the smart work (Before rushing into solving the problem with the information gathered, make a plan and execute it systematically).

D1 – Build a Problem Solving Team :
Building a team to solve the problem using 8D is one of the most important steps of 8D. Yet, one should be mindful about choosing the team members. The team doesn’t need the best people from the company. It needs the people who have the expertise, and are concerned with the problem. Solving the problem is much easier when we know exactly what the problem is and have the right team of people working systematically to solve the problem.  

D2 – Describe the Problem :
In this step, information regarding the problem is collected to describe the problem in detail. And describing the exact problem is a challenging task that can be completed by carefully gathering relevant data and profound analysis.  

By answering the following with the gathered information, a perfect problem description is found.  

What, who, where, why, when, how often and how (5W2H) of the problem.  

D3 – Temporarily Confine the Problem :
Identifying the ideal solution to solve the problem and stop the problem from occurring again is not a piece of cake. That’s why it is wise to isolate the problem to minimize its impact on the product quality or the customers before finding the permanent solution.  

D4 – Root Cause Analysis and Escape Point Detection :
After isolating the problem, the root cause of the problem needs to be identified. So, detect all relative causes that help the team understand why the problem has occurred and identify the escape point – the time in which the problem could have been noticed as it occurred.

Then the causes can be verified using the following methods to ensure that the cause found is the actual root cause of the problem.  

  • Brainstorming
  • Five why processes
  • Affinity diagram
  • Pareto charts

D5 – Research and Develop Permanent Corrective Action :
Once the root cause of the problem is identified and verified, necessary actions must be taken through profound research and brainstorming to solve the problem completely and permanently.  

After identifying necessary actions (permanent corrective actions), the team has to perform a risk assessment of the actions.  

D6 – Implement  Permanent Corrective Actions :
After successfully developing the permanent corrective actions and implementing the solution, the team needs to make an action plan.  

Then the plan has to be communicated with stakeholders, validated with empirical information for improvements and executed sequentially.  

D7 – Implement Preventive Actions :
By this stage, the team has gained profound awareness of the problem, its impact and the one-stop solution to resolve the problem once and for all. This awareness also helps the team to prevent problems with relevant products and processes.  

So the practices of management and standard systems can be modified as required with the acquired intelligence to prevent the problems that might arise in the future.  

D8 – Appreciate Team Members :
This final discipline incorporates documentation of intelligence gained through the awareness of conducting the 8D steps for future reference and to improve the approaches of solving problems.  

Last but not least – appreciating the team for its diligence. This motivates the team and other employees to be more confident, productive, and passionate. So appreciation matters, it shan’t be underrated.  

Last Updated : 02 Nov, 2021
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