PROCESS RISK – How vulnerable are your processes?

Do you ever experience…

• Repeating reasons for poor quality, especially escaping to your paying customers?
• High dependencies on manual inspection?
• Processes operating on more than one ‘standardised’ best practice way?
• Harm to critical equipment and/or personnel?

Then it’s quite possible that your methods of evaluating process risk may not be doing their job effectively. Continue reading

Are you a Lion or a Gazelle?

Successful business improvement initiatives do not just look after themselves, they need serious management commitment… Continue reading

Root Cause Analysis – how do you get it to work effectively? Part 4: Bringing it all together


In this four part series of articles, I’ve explained some of the more well-known brands of root cause analysis and how these differ not just in approach but also in complexity.

Some of the techniques do need more expertise in administering them, and so lend themselves to being co-ordinated by more specialised job functions. Some are simpler techniques which are easy to learn and use – yet in my experience I’ve found all too often that these simpler techniques still don’t get used effectively, if at all by the ‘people in the process’. Continue reading

How do you get Root Cause Analysis to work effectively? – Part 3: C & E Analysis

I discussed in part 2 of this series of Root Cause Analysis articles that 5-why analysis is a ‘deep and narrow’ approach to fixing immediate problems. In part 3 of this series of discussions I’d like to talk about a technique that’s better placed to resolve more complex issues, and especially where it’s necessary to explore multiple causes of failure, both real as well as potential. Continue reading

How do you get Root Cause Analysis to work effectively? – Part 2: 5-why analysis


The 5-Why technique was developed by Sakichi Toyoda within the Toyota Motor Corporation and it quickly became a hugely effective root cause analysis tool throughout Toyota and beyond. Taiichi Ohno, who developed the Toyota Production System described 5-Why as “the basis of Toyota’s scientific approach”. Continue reading

How do you get Root Cause Analysis to work effectively? – Part 1: A bit of background

There are numerous logical techniques that have been developed over the years to help us identify the relationships between process and system failure and their root causes. These range from basic techniques to more complex analytical approaches. Continue reading

The cost of the ‘Big ego’

Last night was one of those rare occasions when I managed to switch off and try anaesthetise myself in front of the TV. In actual fact I was a reluctant audience as the programme I was subjected to was something my wife likes watching. You know, one of those ‘fly on the wall’ programmes about people who are having some sort of problems and some ‘expert’ who descends to help fix them (mercifully  it wasn’t yet another of those endless string of cooking programmes). On this occasion it was Alex Polizzi in the guise of “The Fixer”. I was quietly impressed with her approach on her venture to help a business owner put fresh life into a business that had all but consumed his own ‘raison d’être’. Continue reading

Don’t WASTE your 5S effort!

Set aside the administrative organisation, the management buy-in, the reporting and such like – how do we get people to see the practical effects of deploying 5S as a support mechanism for Lean activity? In this article I want to share with you what I believe is a key enabler that can assure 5S implementation becomes a successful long term practice in your organisation, working in harmony with the doctrines of the Lean organisation. Continue reading

5S – Why bother?

computers and tangled cables

The 5S methodology is nothing new in industry these days, but it’s surprising how often such a simple, yet potentially extremely effective methodology fails to deliver its expected results. Considering how long 5S has been with us you’d think that generally speaking we should have managed to get it right by now. I’d like to share some of my own experiences of 5S implementation with you – Why it fails to deliver, and what are the major factors that we must avoid so that we don’t fall into this trap. Continue reading