Root Cause Analysis – A simple Analogy; Just what the Doctor Ordered!

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Root Cause Analysis – A simple Analogy; Just what the Doctor Ordered!

– You go to the Doctor with an outbreak of a bad face rash. You look like a spotty teenager and have the energy of a dead duck. The Doctor pockets your €60, examines you and prescribes an antibiotic and some face cream to use (this is treating the symptom) and in a Root Cause Analysis Approach, this is termed Containment Action. The objective is to contain the issue in the short-term until he establishes the underlying reason for the rash.

– The next step in the RCA (Root Cause Analysis) involves the Doctor probing to establish what caused the rash in the first place – was it a bug picked up on a foreign trip? Was it contact with a plant or shrub? Is it an allergic reaction to a type of food or drink? You scratch your head and think. Slowly it dawns on you that it might be an allergic reaction to beer and nuts of all things as the World Cup Soccer has just finished and the high stool in your local has formed a profile of your posterior and has been retired and dedicated in your honour!

– Your heart sinks as a subsequent Allergy test verifies the terrible news.

– However, the antibiotic and face cream or Containment Action has kicked in and you are feeling much better. Your thoughts drift to a vision of an ice cool beer and KP’s best. You jolt back to reality and realise, no pain no gain and the Corrective Action and Preventative Action is to keep strictly away from your favourite combo. This is going to be tough but will Prevent Recurrence of the rash from hell.

– However, being the kind compassionate individual that you are, you think of your identical twin, Hughie. God forbid that he gets a dose of what you got. So you ring him up and tell him the scéal! Hughie is in love with himself and baulks when you mention that it might be in his interest to avoid beer and peanuts. He states indignantly that he hasn’t touched such plebish food in years and lists his favourite white wine and caviar as being his pleasures in life. How do says you!! as you replace the phone handset. All I was trying to do was to spare you a nightmare (Prevent Occurrence). So much for my Good Samaritan act!

So in summary a Root Cause Analysis Approach involves

1. Implementing Containment Action (this is treating the symptom)

2. Establishing the Root Cause

3. Implementing Corrective Action to deal with the immediate issue

4. Implementing Preventative Action to Prevent Recurrence (avoiding a repetition)

5. Implementing Preventative Action to Prevent Occurrence (applying lessons learnt)

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