A root cause analysis (RCA) is a method that focuses on finding the root cause of issues and errors to stop them from recurring. While typically found in formal PM methodologies such as ITIL that focus on continuous improvement. RCA can help identify flaws in compliance, risk management, and faults in business processes and serve as the backbone of CAPAS.
When organizations identify and remove a problem, it is considered a root cause if and only if it prevents the problem from reverting. Another issue to consider is if the problem is removed and impacts the outcome, but not in a usual manner. Then it’s a causal factor.
RCA can be used to find the root cause of a Laserfiche Workflow issue and improve its quality and efficiency, saving money and person-hours. For example, Florida Marine Transport uses Laserfiche for the CAPA process. Every potential cause in a given function is identified and analyzed to ensure the organization treats the disease rather than just the symptoms.
Essentially, RCA takes a systematic, formal approach to identify problems and requires the effort of full teams (such as IT, Compliance, Legal, etc.) to properly perform the analysis. Those tasked with the analysis work backward to determine what happened, why it happened, and how to reduce the chances of it happening again. They can trace triggered actions to find the root cause that started the concatenation of events in a process to correct it.
These steps help guide the process and give organizations a framework for how to successfully complete a root cause analysis. While this article isn’t intended to be a formal guide, the steps to conducting an RCA are somewhat programmatic. Here’s an overview:
Upon encountering an error creating, problem statements and detailed descriptions of the failure are helpful. Experts recommend using the Five Whys as an interrogative technique to explore cause and effect which is especially effective in ensuring the correct execution of RCA.
Document error workflow- This is often known as the chronology. The RCA should recreate a timeline that led to the error. The timeline will lead to understanding the relationships between the problem, contributory factors, and the root cause.
Compare and contrast- This step presents the opportunity to compare the error investigation with previously conducted investigations. Other ways to trace down root causes include hierarchical clustering paired with data mining.
Causal graphing- Subsequently, the compliance team should extract sequences of events a subsequence of key events that explain the problem. Finally, creating a causal graph
RCA is a part of several IT frameworks and project management methodologies as a step for change, problem, or risk management. It’s been established as a proven, effective way to support continuous process, and quality improvement and mitigate the potential cost of non-compliance.