Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New Book Part 7

My new book Part 7
In my last post, we looked a bit deeper into the last type of problems that exists, the hybrid problem.  I explained that when you have an expected level of performance, which has never been achieved and it suddenly worsens, you are in the midst of a hybrid problem.  I also presented something I refer to as the 4C’s of problem solving, Contain, Cause, Correct and Control.  In today’s post I will explain in more detail what these 4C’s are.
The 4 C’s of Problem Solving (con’t)
In my last post, I told you that no matter what type of problem you are faced with, there is usually always pressure and anxiety associated with it.  You have demands placed on you that can be overwhelming at times.  You must take action and implement counter measures, but that doesn’t preclude you from following some sort of logical process.  You must remain calm and composed, and sometimes that is difficult to do in the face of a crisis.  Most of the time the immediate actions you take, after the problem surfaces, are crucial.  It is important to realize that the basic actions we take, in the face of all problems, follow the same logical cycle or sequence of Contain, Cause, Correct and Control.  So let’s look at these 4C’s in more detail.

Contain the Problem – No matter whether the problem is located within your plant or facility, or has already reached your customer, the first action is to always contain or confine the problem.  That is, you must stop the bleeding immediately, and limit its scope.  If the problem is defective product, you must not permit it from entering the value stream of good product.  It is always good practice to physically isolate the problem, if there is product involved.  If the problem involves people, such as a labor unrest, you must defuse it quickly, so it doesn’t grow to unmanageable levels.

Find the Cause of the Problem – Once you have caged and confined the problem, it is imperative that you find the root cause or origin of the problem.  Systematically define and analyze it, and search for the cause or causes.  If it is a quality problem, for example, you must find the source of the problem or change that has occurred.  If it’s a people problem, you must understand what caused the unrest to surface.

Correct the Problem – As soon as the cause of the problem has been determined, you must take swift and pragmatic action to find an effective counter measure and implement it with expediency.  Make certain that you don’t just start making changes without justification or reason.  Often times you will have options with one solution being short term, and the other more long-term.  What you must decide is how urgent the solution must be implemented, and it could be that you find yourself implementing a temporary, short term solution just to get out of the crisis.  It is okay to do this as long as your intention is to implement the longer-term solution later.

Control the Problem – Once the problem has been resolved, always implement some kind of control that will prevent the problem from recurring.  When problems persist, and recur at customer locations, your credibility takes a hit, so avoid this by implementing a control.

Remaining calm in the face of problems is imperative, so if you will just stop and remember these four actions, you can transform a stressful and taxing situation, into one of relative calm and tranquility.  In the face of pressure, clear headed thinking and practical actions are crucial, so simply remember the 4 C’s, Contain, Cause, Correct and Control, and you will be in control of the situation.
In my next post, we will shift gears and talk about what I believe are the four best tools for solving problems. As you go through my postings, if you have any questions for me, send me an email to ras8202@live.com.
Bob Sproull