We often see a problem and the solution clearly but hesitate on how to actually make a change and move forward. At Imprint Plus, we use the “8 Step Lean Problem Solving Model” to attack issues. It helps us improve and constantly stay on top of things. Here are the 8 Lean problem-solving steps we use to get results.
The Lean 8 Step Problem Solving System
1. Agree on the problem
Ensure the problem is clearly defined and understood by each team member involved. If you can’t agree on the problem, fixing it becomes impossible
2. Agree on the impact of the problem
Define why we care about the way things are now. How does the problem affect us as a team and as a company? Quantify the impact if possible.
3. Agree on the root causes and determine what we can work on now
The root cause of a problem can be determined in a number of ways but the tool we use is “The Five Whys”. This is a simple but powerful tool that requires asking why five times until the root cause of the problem is determined.
4. Identify “countermeasures” and agree on which ones to implement:
Countermeasures are actions we could take that would make the current situation better.
Get a consensus on the countermeasure implementation. Get a clear directive so everyone works towards the same goal.
6. Prioritize countermeasures
Use impact as the criteria and begin implementation, highlighting the best options.
Make sure that the implementation is proceeding as planned and adhere to deadlines where applicable.
8. Do a post mortem
Evaluate the implementation and collect the lessons learned.
The 8 problem-solving steps might seem complicated, but by applying them consistently, problem-solving becomes just another Lean Management process to be learned and fine-tuned. A trick to remember is to focus on finding the root cause of the problem before you try to solve it. You might be solving a symptom of a problem if you don’t dig deep to find out the root cause of the problem. Once you understand the root cause, you then can provide effective countermeasures to correct the problem. Only then can a problem truly be solved and never repeated again.
Click here to read “How to Be Lean – Part 1” by Bonnie Wall.
Click here to read “How to Be Lean – Part 2” by Bonnie Wall.
What are your thoughts on the Lean management system? Has it helped your organization? Follow our Imprint Plus Facebook page and let us know. If you’re interested in reading more on LEAN management, check out our other blogs.
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