Mistake-Proofing Resource Center

Integrating Mistake-Proofing and Problem Solving

Structured Problem-Solving Approach

  • Using a structured problem-solving approach like the 8D (or 8 Discipline) problem-solving process helps assure mistake-proofing efforts will be successful.
  • However, any structured problem-solving approach can be used when mistake-proofing.

Step 1: Use a Team Approach

  • Teams need to know their boundaries of freedom or what they are and are not empowered to tackle.
  • Boundaries of Freedom are defined by:
    • Scope of work
    • Budget
    • Deadline
    • Time constraints
    • Communication methods

Step 2: Describe the Problem

  • Create a clear, complete problem statement.

Step 3: Interim Containment

  • Stabilize the current situation. Use a short-term or “band-aid” approach if necessary.

Step 4: Define the Root Causes

  • Problem-solving is really about problem-finding or finding the root cause, which is the underlying reason the mistake occurs.
  • Techniques to help identify the root cause include:
    • The Five-Whys
    • What Is-What Isn’t Analysis
    • Data Collection & Analysis
    • Design of Experiments

Step 5: Develop (Mistake-Proofing) Solutions

  • Brainstorm for solutions.
  • Think outside of the box.
  • Then, check the potential solution for practicality, feasibility, and cost-effectiveness.

Step 6: Implement the (Mistake-Proofing) Solution

  • Use a simple action plan for straightforward solutions.
  • Use project management tools for complex action plans.

Step 7: Prevent Recurrence

  • Test the solution to make sure the actions worked as expected.
  • Assure the solution is robust.

Step 8: Congratulate the Team

  • As with any accomplishment, congratulations and recognition are in order.
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