8D Problem Solving (Eight Disciplines)

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Contributed by: David Bruce Doane

8D Problem Solving (Eight Disciplines)What is the 8D Problem Solving Method? Description

The 8D Problem Solving (Eight Disciplines) approach can be used to identify, correct and eliminate the recurrence of quality problems. 8D is a problem-solving methodology for product and process improvement. It is structured into eight disciplines, emphasizing team synergy. The team as a whole is believed to be better and smarter than the quality sum of the individuals. 8D is also known as: Global 8D, Ford 8D, or TOPS 8D.

Origin of the Eight Disciplines concept. History

The U.S. Government first used an 8D-like process during the Second World War, referring to it as Military Standard 1520 (Corrective action and disposition system for nonconforming material). Ford Motor Company first documented the 8D method in 1987 in a course manual entitled "Team Oriented Problem Solving". This course was written at the request of senior management of the Power Train organization of the automaker, which was facing growing frustration at the same problems that were recurring year after year.

Usage of the Eight Disciplines Problem Solving approach. Applications

  • Major non-conformances
  • Customer complaints
  • Reoccurring issues
  • Team approach needed

Steps in 8D Problem Solving. Process

D0. Prepare and Create Awareness. First, you need to prepare for 8D. Not every problem warrants/requires an 8D. Also, 8D is a fact-based problem-solving process involving some specialized skills and a culture that favors continuous improvement. There may be some education and training required before 8D will work effectively in an organization.

  • D1. Establish the Team. Assemble a cross-functional team (with an effective team leader) that has the knowledge, time, authority and skill to solve the problem and implement corrective actions. And set the structure, goals, roles, procedures and relationships to establish an effective team.
  • D2. Describe the Problem. Define the problem in measurable terms. Specify the internal or external customer problem by describing it in specific, quantifiable terms: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How, How many (5W2H Analysis).
  • D3. Implement and Verify Interim Containment Actions. Temporary Fixes. Define and implement those intermediate actions that will protect any customer from the problem until permanent corrective action is implemented. Verify the effectiveness of the containment actions with data.
  • D4. Identify and Verify Root Causes. Identify all potential causes that could explain why the problem occurred. Cause and Effect Diagram. Test each potential cause against the problem description and data. Identify alternative corrective actions to eliminate root cause. Note that two parallel types of root causes exist: a Root Cause of Event (the system that allowed for the event to occur), and a Root Cause of Escape / Escape Point (the system that allowed for the event to escape without detection).
  • D5. Choose and Verify Corrective Actions. Confirm that the selected corrective actions will resolve the problem for the customer and will not cause undesirable side effects. Define contingency actions, if necessary, based on the potential severity of the side effects.
  • D6. Implement and Validate Permanent Corrective Actions. Choose ongoing controls to insure the root cause is eliminated. Once in production, monitor the long-term effects and implement additional controls and contingency actions as necessary.
  • D7. Prevent Recurrence. Identify and implement steps that need to be taken to prevent the same or a similar problem from occurring in the future: modify specifications, update training, review workflow, and improve management systems, operating systems, practices and procedures.
  • D8. Congratulate the Team. Recognize the collective efforts of your team. Publicize your achievement. Share your knowledge and learning throughout the organization.

Strengths of the 8D Problem Solving Method. Benefits

  • Effective approach at finding a root cause, developing proper actions to eliminate root causes, and implementing the permanent corrective action.
  • Helps to explore the Control System that allowed the problem to escape. The Escape Point is studied for the purpose of improving the ability of the Control System to detect the failure or cause when and if it should occur again.
  • The Prevention Loop explores the systems that permitted the condition that allowed the Failure and Cause Mechanism to exist in the first place.

Limitations of the 8D Problem Solving framework. Disadvantages

  • 8D training can be time consuming and difficult to develop.
  • Requires training in the 8D problem-solving process as well as data collection and analysis tools such as Pareto diagrams, Fishbone Diagrams, and flowcharts to name just a few.

Book: Rambaud, Laurie. (2006). 8D Structured Problem Solving: A Guide to Creating High Quality 8D Reports (Spiral-bound) -

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Forum about 8D Problem Solving (Eight Disciplines).

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Best Practices

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The Key to Intelligent Solving
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8D = Closed Loop Process
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Compare with 8D Problem Solving (Eight Disciplines): Root Cause Analysis  |  Total Quality Management  |  Kaizen  |  Six Sigma  |  Deming Cycle  |  Theory of Constraints  |  Cause and Effect Diagram  |  Delphi Method  |  Action Learning

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