MRO Magazine

10 steps to rational troubleshooting

Problem: It takes a great deal of skill to be a good problem solver. You must know your machines, understand the process, have experience, be patient, etc. Even these factors may not be sufficient. To...


February 1, 2003
By MRO Magazine

Problem: It takes a great deal of skill to be a good problem solver. You must know your machines, understand the process, have experience, be patient, etc. Even these factors may not be sufficient. To be a good problem solver, you must have a method.

Solution: Although people may have their own method, problem solvers all use the same basic approach. Root Cause Failure Analysis (RCFA) is a method that embodies what you already know and is a logical and systematic approach to how most experienced people deal with problems.

In a nutshell, there are 10 steps for rational troubleshooting in the RCFA process. The steps of problem solving do not necessarily occur in the order shown below. Often you may have to wait until time permits to find the root cause and the consequences. Sometimes the root cause must be found before work can continue, while in other situations urgent measures must be taken to control the problem.

Step 1: Analyze the situation. How serious is the problem as seen?

Advertisement

Step 2: Take urgent measures as deemed necessary to control the situation.

Step 3: Diagnose probable causes of the problem.

Step 4: Verify the probable cause.

Step 5: Make a repair or take the action required.

Step 6: Check the results of the repair or corrective action.

Step 7: Look for the root cause of the problem.

Step 8: Find all the consequences of the problem.

Step 9: Check similar pieces of equipment, product or processes.

Step 10: Document your findings and solutions.

Mr. O’s thanks go to Peter Phillips of Trailmark Holdings Ltd. (www.trailmark.ca) for this tip. He has 25 years of experience in industry, much of it with Michelin Tire Canada’s maintenance operations. He now offers training programs in root cause failure analysis. As well, Phillips is the author of the CMMS Software Solutions column elsewhere in this issue.