Root Cause Analysis

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Definition: Root Cause Analysis

RCA is a method of solving a problem but identifying and targeting the root cause instead of addressing its symptoms. The root cause is the bottom most evil that is the underlying cause of any problem which results in cause and effect chain reaction leading to a visible problem on the surface. Root cause analysis in itself encompasses wide range of approaches with varying degree of identifying the true root cause to eliminate the problem on hand.

RCA is one of the primary tools used in Six Sigma DMAIC. A thumb rule in this process is repeatedly asking “why” which will subsequently reveal the underlying root cause beneath the symptoms.

Eg: A person is on his way to office and the car stops in the middle of the road. RCA would be: 1. why did the car stop? Because petrol got over. 2. Why did the petrol get over? Because he did not fill his petrol tank. 3. Why did he not fill his petrol tank? Because he did not have money. 4. Why did he not have money? Because he spent the money on buying groceries. And so it goes. From a firm’s point of view, it will identify the primary/root cause which is the reason for the problem in hand. Usually it is associated with fish bone diagram.

Hence, this concludes the definition of Root Cause Analysis along with its overview.


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