The 8D Methodology, Solving Problems

8D is a Systematic methodology to identify, correct and eliminate problems. 8D means 8 Disciplines (8 steps + Discipline = 8D), which allows developing competitive advantages by quickly and effectively solving problems.

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8D is a Systematic methodology to identify, correct and eliminate problems. 8D means 8 Disciplines (8 steps + Discipline = 8D), which allows developing competitive advantages by quickly and effectively solving problems, maintaining customers for good service and quality in the products that are provided, reducing the number of problems within of the organization.

Some History

The Eight Disciplines Problem Solving is a method used to cope and solve problems. It is also known more abbreviated as 8D, Troubleshooting 8-D, G8D or Global 8D.

The US government first used a process similar to 8D during World War II, referring to it as military standard # 1520 (corrective action system and disposal of nonconforming material). Ford Motor Company first documented the 8D method in 1987 in a problem-oriented “manual-titled equipment” course. This course was written at the request of the top management of the self-management organization Power Train, which was frustrated by having recurring problems year after year.

What is a problem?

It is the difference between a desired situation (standard) and a current situation (real). A problem is usually a matter from which a quick and effective solution is expected, generally what we see of the problems are the symptoms, the methodological one allows to find the root cause to give it the proper treatment.

The 8 disciplines are:


D1: Establish a group to solve the problem

To begin the process of solving problems following the steps of 8D a multidisciplinary research team should be established, where all the members have the experience to understand the problem and authority to implement solutions, have the disposition and the time to belong to the group and have different competences that allow to see the different aspects that the problem may have.

The team must have a leader who must manage the information of the investigation, must keep the group and the people involved with the problem informed (stakeholders), and it is who must be responsible for meeting the objectives established by the group 8D.

D2: Create the description of the problem

In this step, you should create a description of the problem that contains clear, concise information that covers several aspects of the problem. This information must be obtained by asking the people who are directly involved, that is, those who work in the area or process that is the object of the problem.

The description of the problem must be based on real facts, that is, the group 8D must go to the real place (Genba) and see what is happening (Genchi Genbutsu).

To complete the description of the problem, you must answer questions such as what the problem is apparently? What is happening, what should be happening? What is happening? When is it happening? When is it not happening? Who is involved? And what is the scope of the problem in terms of costs, quality, safety, damage, etc.?

D3: Develop a temporary solution

In some cases it is necessary to implement a temporary solution to control the effects that a problem may have, this to give time to find the root cause of the problem and give a definitive solution to it.

It is important that the temporary solution be evaluated and tested before its implementation, and that it be documented very well so that it can be removed in its entirety when the final solution to the root cause of the problem is implemented. This temporary solution must be put in consideration of the people involved in the process and who may be affected by the effects that may have.

It should not be forgotten that this solution is to temporarily remedy the effects caused by the problem in question, but it is not the final solution, so the 8D group must continue working in the following disciplines until the case is closed.

D4: Root cause analysis (RCA)

In this discipline, the cause or causes of the symptoms that are being presented must be identified. It should be noted that the problem that is defined in D2 (Create the description of the problem) in principle is the consequence or symptom of one or more things that have caused it.

In most cases, the root cause is not so evident, so an analysis must be conducted to find it. For this first it is necessary to carefully observe the process that contains the problem, obtain information directly from the people who have the experience and from actual data obtained.

After having one or several causes, the methodology of the 5 why should be used until the initial causes are obtained. The root cause is identified by checking that eliminating the problem should not have recurrence.

D5: develop permanent solutions.

Once the root cause of the problem in question has been found, permanent solutions must be proposed that attack it directly. These solutions must be tested until the root cause has been detected and eliminated.

It is likely that when implementing the permanent solution (s), good results will be seen, but if the problem persists, more solutions should be sought until it is eliminated to a large extent.

D6: Implement and validate solutions

After having developed and tested the permanent solution (s), it is necessary to plan and implement the implementation, and then verify that it works correctly, that is, that no recurrence is present.

It is recommended to take measurements to know if the actions performed are effective and to know when to react when uncontrolled measures are taken.

D7: prevent recurrence

The information obtained from an 8D is perhaps the most important part of this whole process. Because it will allow the achievements obtained in the solution of a problem in a work area to be moved to another area where similar problems arise, and it is an efficient way for the work of a group to be of help so that other groups can get more quickly and effectively to permanent solutions to undesirable situations that are occurring. In the same way, take preventive actions to situations that may occur in different places of work.

To prevent recurrence you can do:

FMEA, Change of policies, procedures, standards, Poka Yoke.

1) Reviewing the problem history
2) Identify the policies and practices that allowed this problem to occur
3) Develop a plan of prevention actions

It is important at this point in 8D to perform audits to make sure that the solution implemented is working as expected.

D8: close the problem and recognize contributions

Once a problem has been audited and it has been determined that its solution is effective it must be officially closed. At this point, the temporary solution given in step D3 must be removed, unless it is considered part of the permanent solution.

To finish the process, the group should ask what was good and what was not, review the responsibilities of the members and the group leader, the expectations of the stakeholders, if the procedures could be applied elsewhere, if additional problems were found, what was learned and if the problem was finally solved.

It is important to recognize the contribution of each member of the team, since the entire organization benefits from the activities that contribute to continuous improvement.