Root Cause Analysis Samples

Q: I am looking for samples of a RCA.  I will be doing training on that topic and I would like to have some samples to use with the participants.

A: Thank you for contacting ASQ and the Quality Information Center.  I received your request for samples of root cause analysis.  Root cause analysis is defined as a “quality tool used to distinguish the source of defects or problems.  It is a structured approach that focuses on the decisive or original cause of a problem or condition” (from The Quality Improvement Glossary by Donald L. Siebels).

Root cause analysis figure

The image (right) is take from Root Cause Analysis: Simplified Tools and Techniques.

I found over 100 resources on RCA in the ASQ Knowledge Center (if you would like to browse through them all, here is the link to my original search results).  I thought you might be most interested in case studies which provide examples of how root cause analysis has been used.  I found almost 40 case studies which focus on root cause analyais and I’ve listed some case studies below which I thought would be helpful:

Abstract: Customer Complain investigations weren’t getting to root causes.  Logic trees proved more effective than fault trees in determining what actually went wrong.  After root cause analysis, complaint numbers dropped by half.  That and indirect benefits led to bottom-line results.

Abstract: The authors used Six Sigma to improve the process of manufacturing gear boxes for mechanical power transmission at a foundry in India. The goal was to improve product performance by reducing variation in the casting of components, thereby reducing defects. The analyze phase used root cause analysis and failure mode and effect analysis to identify several process variables, including pattern design and maintenance, worker training, and the proportions of scrap and coal inputted into the molds, that were increasing the frequency of the major defects.

Abstract: A root cause analysis project saved Clipper Windpower $1 million in lost revenue. By identifying the root causes of turbine failure during inclement weather, Clipper increased customer satisfaction through improved turbine availability. This project also supported a key supplier’s quality process, as Clipper’s team helped redesign and test an improved anemometer. Team members mastered quality tools and strategies, preparing them for future improvement projects.

Abstract: Cross-functional teams identified root causes of injuries and reduced accidents by 48 percent in one year while saving an estimated $714,000 in cost avoidance over a 24-month period. To compile data and identify root causes, team members used trend graphs, Pareto diagrams, bar charts, and fishbone diagrams. A key tool used in developing an action plan was the solution selection matrix, a systematic approach that allows for the best possible solutions to surface.

The following webcasts may also be helpful for those who are new to root cause analysis:

Root Cause Analysis for Beginners, Part 1” & “Root Cause Analysis for Beginners, Part 2

I hope that this information is helpful.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions or if you need additional assistance.

Best regards,

ASQ Research Librarian
Milwaukee, WI

Ask A Librarian

Force Field Analysis

Force field analysis

Q: I am trying to get information on Force Field Analysis.  Can you please provide me more details on the subject?

A: Thank you for contacting ASQ.  I received your request for more information regarding force field analysis.

The Quality Improvement Glossary by Donald L. Siebels defines force field analysis as a “technique for analyzing the forces that aid or hinder an organization in reaching an objective.  An arrow pointing to an objective is drawn down the middle of a piece of paper.  The factors that will aid the objective’s achievement, called the driving forces, are listed on the left hand side of the arrow.  The factors that will hinder its achievement, called the restraining forces, are listed on the right side of the arrow.”

I have listed some resources below that help to further define force field analysis:

Articles/Case Studies:

For more information on force field analysis, please consult the following Quality Press books:

I hope that this information is helpful.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Best regards,

ASQ Research Librarian
Milwaukee, WI

Six Sigma Case Studies

Suppliers, supplier management

Q: I would like to browse through detailed Six Sigma Case Studies. I do not mind making a payment for detailed case studies in the fields of manufacturing, services and software.
Kindly direct me to the requisite links please.

A: Thank you for contacting ASQ and the Quality Information Center.  I received your request for case studies on Six Sigma in the fields of manufacturing, services, and software.

“Six Sigma is an organization-wide approach used to achieve breakthrough improvements tied to significant bottom-line results. Unlike previous TQM approaches, Six Sigma specifies exactly how the organization’s managers s hould set up and lead the effort. Key features are the use of data and statistical analysis, highly trained project leaders known as Black Belts and Green Belts, project selection based on estimated bottom-line results, and the dramatic goal of reducing errors to about three per million opportunities” (taken from The Quality Toolbox, 2nd ed. by Nancy R. Tague)

ASQ has over 100 case studies on Six Sigma in our Knowledge Center.  I have listed some case studies below that fit with the fields you are interested in.  I have also made a note of which case studies are open access.

Software case studies:

Optimizing Software Inspections with Statistical Quality Techniques“, Software Quality Professional, Dec. 2003 (open access)

Integrating Improvement Initiatives: Connecting Six Sigma for Software, CMMI, Personal Software Process (PSP), and Team Software Process (TSP)“, Software Quality Professional, Sept. 2003 (open acess)

Identifying Code-Inspection Improvements Using Statistical Black Belt Techniques“, Software Quality Professional, Dec. 2003

Preempting Problems“, Six Sigma Forum Magazine, Feb. 2010 (open access)

Optimizing the Software Life Cycle“, Software Quality Professional, Sept. 2003 (open access)

Six Sigma for Internet Application Development“, Software Quality Professional, Dec. 2001 (open access)

Manufacturing case studies:

Six Sigma Green, Black Belts Help Manufacturer Save Nearly $1.5 Million“, ASQ Case Study, June 2008 (open access)

Pall Corporation: A Profile in “Process Excellence”“, ASQ Case Study, April 2008 (open access)

Siemens VDO Optimizes Processes Using Six Sigma“, ASQ Case Study, Feb. 2007 (open access)

Variability Reduction: A Statistical Engineering Approach to Engage Operations Teams in Process Improvement“, Quality Engineering, April 2012 (open access)

Spinning a Solution“, Six Sigma Forum Magazine, Feb. 2010

Service industry case studies:

Simplify and Unleash: One Bank’s Strategy for Growth Through Six Sigma“, ASQ Case Study, Sept. 2008 (open access)

Streamlined Enrollment Nets Big Results for Healthcare Leader“, ASQ Case Study, Jan. 2009 (open access)

Help Desk Improves Service and Saves Money with Six Sigma“, ASQ Case Study, August 2006 (open access)

Service Provider Improves Client’s Metrics with Six Sigma“, ASQ Case Study, April 2011(open access)

Lean Six Sigma Increases Efficiency for Financial Services Firm“, ASQ Case Study, April 2012 (open access)

I hope that these case studies are helpful.  Please let me know if you have any questions or if you need additional assistance.

Best regards,

ASQ Research Librarian
Milwaukee, WI

Related content:

To obtain more resources about Six Sigma, including information regarding training and certification, please see the ASQ Six Sigma hot topic page.

Design for Six Sigma

Control chart, data, analysis

Q: I am preparing a short training session for my company on the topic of Design for Six Sigma.  I am interested in looking at some examples of how other companies or organizations have used DFSS.  Is it possible to get case studies from ASQ on this topic?

A: Thank you for contacting ASQ and the Quality Information Center.  Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) can be defined as “robust design that is consistent with the applicable manufacturing processes to assure a fully capable process that will deliver quality products” (from The Quality Improvement Glossary by Donald L. Siebels).

The ASQ Knowledge Center has over 1500 case studies on various topics.  I have listed some case studies below that deal specifically with the topic of Design for Six Sigma at companies/organizations such as Ford, Delphi Electronics, and the University of Miami:

“DFSS Lights the Way”, Six Sigma Forum Magazine, May 2009
Abstract: Delphi Electronics, a global supplier of automotive electronics and safety systems, uses many problem-prevention and solving methods to achieve flawless product launches and reduce variation and waste. When assigned a particularly challenging project, Delphi’s development team quickly determined that the Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) method offered the best opportunity to develop a process that would meet internal and customer requirements. DFSS minimized development costs by guiding the team to use a very efficient experimental strategy. As a result, capital equipment requirements were reduced, customer performance requirements were exceeded, and the team achieved greater than 6 sigma process capability.

“Six Sigma Saves Nearly $1 Billion, Key Customers, and a Company”, Case Study, Sept. 2006
Abstract: Just months before severe business conditions threatened the company’s economic future, Cummins Inc. deployed an all-encompassing Six Sigma program. Using three versions of Six Sigma, (Technology Development for Six Sigma, DMAIC, and Design for Six Sigma) Cummins has saved nearly $1 billion through the completion of nearly 5,000 improvement projects. While Six Sigma is commonly used to improve internal production processes, Cummins extends this quality methodology to every facet of its business and beyond, to both customers and suppliers.

“Design for Six Sigma at Ford”, Six Sigma Forum Magazine, Nov. 2004
Abstract: Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) is a product development approach that complements Six Sigma problem solving methodology. Many companies developed their own DFSS processes before a standard template became available, but all versions share fundamental strategies and tools. Ford Motor Co. developed its program in 1999 with emphases on the training of black belts and the completion of DMAIC projects. Implementation began at Ford’s Powertrain Division, but soon other divisions were launching DFSS as well. Issues with training and execution of projects highlighted assumptions that required reevaluation, including DFSS rationale, project integration, process flexibility, and training. DFSS implementation at Ford showed the challenges to be more cultural and organizational than technical. DFSS at Ford has emerged as an enhancement to the present product development system that reinforces the company’s Six Sigma skill base.

“Designing New Housing at the University of Miami: A ‘‘Six Sigma” DMADV/DFSS Case Study”, Quality Engineering, July 2006
Abstract: The two methods employed in Six Sigma initiatives to attain a high standard of quality are the define-measure-analyze-improve-control (DMAIC) method and the define-measure-analyze-design-verify (DMADV) method. In this case study, the DMADV management model is used to design a new dormitory concept at the University of Miami. Its purpose it to provide a roadmap for conducting a Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) project.

“Design for Six Sigma and Product Portfolio Optimization”, Six Sigma Forum Magazine, Nov. 2007
Abstract: DuPont recently undertook a Six Sigma Project designed to optimize its customer service and keep supply ahead of demand. Run primarily in a design for Six Sigma (DFSS) framework, the project was as much about developing a product portfolio performance analysis process as it was about identifying areas for improvement in the portfolio. The project’s findings were used to help decide which poor performing products could be dropped from the portfolio and to help improve the performance of other products. Overall, the project identified initiatives that when implemented could deliver additional manufacturing capacity needed to improve customer service.

“Combine Quality and Speed to Market”, Six Sigma Forum Magazine, Aug. 2004
Abstract: Samsung Electronics Company recently adopted Six Sigma DMAIC methodology to prevent anticipated problems and gather feedback data for mass production. Market demands required the company to complete a chip redesign project within six months. The main challenge was to adapt the DFSS methodology to a semiconductor process development that typically takes one to two years. Samsung credits its success with the DFSS project to factors including allowing sufficient time, organizing cross functional teams as needed, not being bound by tools, and guaranteeing process robustness and process margin.

“Seizing an Opportunity”, Six Sigma Forum Magazine, Feb. 2009
Abstract: The U.S. Coast Guard applied design for Six Sigma (DFSS) to redesign an operational requirements process that provides the basis for acquisition programs to develop major assets. A cross-functional integrated process team was formed to initiate a Six Sigma project for developing a new requirements process, but they faced challenges when applying Six Sigma to a knowledge process in a headquarters situation. The team modified the DFSS method and tools to fit a long cycle-time knowledge process with few metrics. The Coast Guard’s modification can serve as a model for applying DFSS to similar processes in many organizations.

I hope that you find these case studies helpful.  Please contact the ASQ Quality Information Center if you need additional assistance.

Best regards,

ASQ Research Librarian
Milwaukee, WI

Resources about Quality Culture

ASQ Global State of Quality 2016

Q: I am a senior member of ASQ.  I plan on giving a two to three hour workshop on quality culture at my company.  Do you have any audiovisual materials and/or examples from other successful companies that I could use for my slide presentation?  I would really appreciate it if you could provide me with more informaton on creating a quality culture.

A: According to The Quality Improvement Glossary by Donald L. Siebels, quality culture “consists of employee opinions, beliefs, traditions, and practices concerning quality within an organization”.

ASQ has over 200 books and articles on the topic of quality culture.  I have included links to a number of different resources, including webcasts and case studies, that contain content that I believe pertains most to your question regarding quality culture.

Case Studies:

“Quality Culture in Small Business: Four Case Studies”: http://asq.org/data/subscriptions/qp/2001/0101/41watson_jan2001.html

“Building a Culture of Quality”: http://rube.asq.org/2010/08/certification/culture-of-quality.pdf

“Quality Engrained in Culture at Iowa Hospital”:
http://asq.org/2009/05/continuous-improvement/quality-engrained-in-culture-at-iowa-hospital.html

“R. L. Polk & Co.: Making Every Issue the Only Issue”: http://asq.org/2009/02/customer-satisfaction-and-value/polk-making-every-issue-the-only-issue.html

“Celsius Australia: BEST PRACTICES, Reach for the STARS”: http://asq.org/quality-progress/2007/05/leadership/reach-for-the-stars.html

Articles/Conference Papers:

“A Framework for Organizational Quality Culture”: http://asq.org/data/subscriptions/qmj_open/1999/october/qmjv6i4cameron.html

“A Nontraditional Approach to Creating a Quality Culture”:
http://asq.org/world-conference/2011/six-sigma/creating-quality-culture.html

“Creating a Quality Driven Culture…Breaking Through the Culture Wall”:
http://asq.org/data/subscriptions/jqp_open/1994/march/jqpv17i2sirota.html

“Creating a Culture of Success Is a Team Effort”: http://asq.org/members/news/aqc/54_2000/14107.html

“The Modern Noah’s Ark”: http://asq.org/world-conference/2011/quality-management/culture-of-quality-cruise-ship.html

Webcasts:

“Creating a Quality Culture Webcast”: http://asq.org/2011/10/creating-a-quality-culture-webcast.html

“Juran’s Quality Handbook: The Complete Guide to Performance Excellence Webcast”: http://asq.org/2011/09/basic-quality/jurans-quality-handbook-webcast.html

“Executive Insight Webcast Interview with Mark Laney of Heartland Health”: http://asq.org/2011/04/baldrige-national-quality-program/executive-insight-webcast-interview-with-mark-laney-of-heartland-health.html

(discusses how they built a culture of high performance in their organization)

These videos are from ASQ’s blog, “A View from the Q”.  The videos are located at the end of the blog posts:

“Coca-Cola’s Quality Culture”: http://asq.org/blog/2011/11/coca-colas-quality-culture/

“Four Questions: Creating a Culture of Quality with Dr. J.J. Irani”: http://asq.org/blog/2011/07/four-questions-creating-a-culture-of-quality-with-dr-j-j-irani/

“The Ps and Qs of the new General Motors”: http://asq.org/blog/2011/09/the-ps-and-qs-of-the-new-general-motors/

“Four Questions: Talking Quality with Ford Motor Company”: http://asq.org/blog/2011/06/four-questions-talking-quality-with-ford-motor-company/

2011 ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement On-Demand Recordings (Available for purchase): http://wcqi.asq.org/2011/virtual/index.html

Includes the topics “Building a Quality Culture” and “Organizational Excellence”

E-Books:

“Quality Makes Money: How to Involve Every Person on the Payroll in a Complete Quality Process (CQP)”:
http://asq.org/quality-press/display-item/index.html?item=E1241&xvl=76081302

“The Progressive Audit: A Toolkit for Improving Your Organizational Quality Culture”:
http://asq.org/quality-press/display-item/index.html?item=E1268&xvl=76081291

I hope that this information helps.  If you are interested in doing some more searching on your own, you can search for articles and books in the ASQ Knowledge Center: http://asq.org/knowledge-center/index.html.

If you are interested in using any of these resources in your presentation, please contact ASQ’s Quality Information Center for more information on using and reprinting ASQ resources or see the following link on ASQ’s copyright permission policies: http://asq.org/copyright/.

Best regards,

ASQ Research Librarian
Milwaukee, WI