The 8D Problem Solving Process

The Global 8D Problem Solving Process

The 8D (Eight Disciplines) Problem Solving Process is a team-oriented and structured problem-solving methodology that is mainly used to identify, correct and eliminate recurring problems.

The U.S. government first standardized the 8D Problem Solving Process during the Second World War, referring to it as Military Standard 1520. It was later improved and popularized by the Ford Motor Company in the early ‘90s.

Today, the 8D Problem Solving Process has become a standard in many industries as problem-solving, as internal Corrective Action Request (CAR) Process, and as Supplier Corrective Action Request (SCAR) Process.

The 8D Problem Solving Process focuses on the origin of the problem by determining root causes and establishes permanent corrective and preventive actions. It follows a systematic eight-step process with integrated basic problem-solving tools.

D1 Establish the Team: Establish a small group of people with the process and/or product knowledge, allocated time, authority, and skills in the required technical disciplines to solve the problem and implement corrective actions. Key Deliverables include:

  • Review the problem or improvement opportunity
  • Review priorities, scope, and complexity
  • Identify if a team is needed
  • Identify team members and establish the team
  • Nominate a team leader and project champion
  • Establish basic team guidelines
  • Consider team-building exercises

D2 Describe the Problem: Describe the internal or external problem by identifying “what is wrong with what” and detailing the problem in quantifiable terms. Develop a clear problem statement and problem description.

  • Develop a Problem Statement
  • Develop a Problem Description using the “IS – IS NOT Matrix”
  • Develop a flowchart of the process and identify critical process steps with respect to the Problem Description
  • Develop a Fishbone Diagram or Process Variables Map to identify possible causes?
  • Determine whether this problem describes a “something changed” or a “never been there” situation
  • Establish a high-level project plan, including milestones, project goals, and objectives

D3 Develop Interim Containment Actions: Define, verify and implement interim containment action to isolate the effects of the problem from any internal and/or external Customer until permanent corrective (preventive) actions are implemented.

  • Define potential Interim Containment Action
  • Verify the effectiveness of potential Interim Containment Action
  • Select and implement Interim Containment Action
  • Validate the effectiveness of implemented Interim Containment Action with the Customer

D4 Define and Verify Root Cause(s) and Escape Point(s): Isolate and verify the root cause by testing each root cause theory against the problem description and test data. Isolate and verify the place in the process where the effect of the root cause could have been detected and contained but was not (escape point).

  • Establish any additional data collection plans needed to learn more about the problem and/or possible causes
  • Utilize the Fishbone Diagram or Process Variables Map created earlier to identify the most likely cause(s)
  • Isolate and verify the most likely cause(s) by testing each Root Cause Theory against the Problem Description and the collected data
  • Isolate and verify the place in the process where the effect of the root cause could have been detected and contained but was not (escape point)

D5 Choose and Verify Permanent Corrective Actions: Select the best permanent corrective actions to remove the root cause and to address the escape point in the process. Verify that both decisions will be successful when implemented and not cause any undesirable effects.

  • Develop solution(s) to remove the root cause(s)
  • Develop solution(s) to address the escape point(s)
  • Select the best solution(s) to remove the root cause(s)
  • Select the best solution(s) to address the escape point(s)
  • Verify that effectiveness of the selected solutions
  • Verify that selected solutions do not cause undesirable effects

D6 Implement and Validate Permanent Corrective Actions: Plan and implement selected permanent corrective actions, remove the interim containment action. Monitor long-term results.

  • Implement the best solution(s) to remove the root cause(s)
  • Implement the best solution(s) to address the escape point(s)
  • Validate the effectiveness of the implemented solutions from the Customer perspective
  • Monitor the effectiveness of  the implemented solutions and assure that they do not cause any undesirable effects
  • Remove Interim Containment Action

D7 Prevent Recurrence: Modify the necessary systems, including policies, methods, and procedures, to prevent recurrence of the problem and similar ones.

  • Identify opportunities to improve and standardize systems, policies, methods, and procedures for the present problem
  • Identify opportunities to improve and standardize systems, policies, methods, and procedures for similar problems

D8 Recognize Team and Individual Contribution: Complete the team experience and sincerely recognize both team and individual contributions. Celebrate success and identify lessons learned.

  • Perform a final review of the problem-solving project
  • Finalize and archive project documentation
  • Recognize the team’s success and individual contributions
  • Capture lessons learned and integrate findings into the 8D Problem Solving Process
  • Reward and celebrate

While some basic problem-solving tools, such as the 5 Whys, Process Flow Charting, Is/Is Not Analysis, Fishbone Diagram, Process Variables Mapping, Comparative Analysis, Root Cause Verification, and Process Control Plans are an integral part of the overall 8D Problem Solving Process, others tools can be added to this process based on the organization’s needs.

Operational Excellence Consulting offers a one- and two-day The 8D Problem Solving Process Workshop. To learn more about our 8D (Eight Disciplines) Problem Solving Process Solution, please Contact Us and visit our OpEx Academy for downloadable Training Material, eLearning Modules, Online Courses, and Public Workshops offering.

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