Where the method comes from

In 1987, Henry Ford realized that quality problems were a recurring theme at his Ford Motor Company. In order to solve these problems at their source, he developed the "Team Oriented Problem Solving", which is now known as the "8D Method".

This is central

The 8D method is intended to ensure that a systematic approach is followed. The continuous documentation of the associated solution steps and the high orientation towards facts ensure that errors in the product or system are thoroughly investigated and thus permanently eliminated, instead of only solving the customer's problem in the short term.

This is the procedure

Procedure in 8 steps:

  1. Build the team to solve the problem
  2. Describe the problem
  3. Immediate measures: limit the damage until a permanent solution is found
  4. Identifying and validating the causes
  5. Selection and review of permanent corrective actions
  6. Implementation of corrective measures
  7. Take preventive measures
  8. Share the lessons learned

Step 1: Build the team to solve the problem
Put together a team of people with the process and/or product/service knowledge and skills in the technical disciplines required to solve the problem and implement measures. Ensure that time is allocated for team members to participate in this analysis.

Step 2: Describe the problem
Describe the problem as precisely as possible, if possible with measurable facts. Avoid moving on to the solution at this stage by refraining from using the expressions "because of", "due to", "lack of", "need of" etc.
Identify who is affected by the problem or is dealing with it. Consider the external perspective (customers, suppliers, external partners).
Locate the problem: In which step of the process did the problem occur? Define the limits of the problem to be solved. Consider the containment measures already taken. Visualize on the process map where the problem has occurred and which immediate measures have been taken.
Determine the frequency with which the problem occurs.
Collect facts and records: Which controls are carried out in which phases? When did the problem first occur? Scope of the problem (money, time, duration)?

Step 3: Immediate measures
Sometimes it is necessary to take immediate interim measures to limit the damage or to solve the problem temporarily.
Also assess whether it is necessary to take interim measures for other similar products or services (e.g. add a temporary check, block deliveries, notify the customer or supplier).
The effects of the problem should not reach the customer.

Step 4: Identify and validate causes
Perform a root cause analysis by identifying all possible causes.
Different methods can be used depending on the problem:

  • 5W
  • Cause-effect diagram (Fishbone/Ishikawa)
  • Pareto diagram
  • Brainstorming

Once the potential causes are identified, you as a team evaluate the probability of each hypothesis occurring. The result of the discussion may be a consensus, a vote or a collection of facts and figures on the main potential causes. It is important to have experts in the team from different disciplines who are affected by the problem.
In case the analyses to be carried out are destructive, it may be useful to develop an analysis plan (e.g. a decision tree) so as not to inadvertently destroy something that could help identify the cause of the problem.

Step 5: Selection and review of permanent measures
Develop solutions to reduce or eliminate the causes of the problem. If necessary, collect ideas from employees who did not participate in the analysis.
Ensure the commitment of all team members, process owners and other stakeholders.
For each validated measure, plan how its effectiveness can be verified, including an implementation plan.
Consider cost, time, quality, safety and environmental criteria.
Possible methods: Poka Yoke, Priority Matrix, visual management

Step 6: Implementation of corrective actions
Implement selected solutions and review their effectiveness to verify improvement.
Don't forget to update the documentation to train employees on the new requirements if necessary.

Step 7: Take preventive measures
Identify and implement preventive measures that could be taken to eliminate the risk of a similar problem occurring in other processes.

Step 8: Share the lessons learned
Analyze and communicate the insights gained from the problem analysis.

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