Manufacturing ERP Software
How to Use a Causal Chain, Part 4

How to Use a Causal Chain, Part 4

By Bob Sproull

Review of How to Use a Causal Chain, Part 3

In Part 3 of this series, I introduced you to a second example of a multiple-chain causal chain and walked you through how the team could use this tool to solve a problem with an over-sized ball diameter.

In Part 4, I will complete this exploration of the multiple chain causal chain with one last example. As I have mentioned, much of what I will discuss in this series is taken from my soon to be published book, The Problem-Solving, Problem-Prevention, and Decision-Making Guide: Organized and Systematic Roadmaps for Managers.

One more demonstration of the efficacy of the multiple-chain causal chain

Figure 1 is another example of a multiple chain causal chain. Here, we start with a simple statement of the problem with the object (Bolt Head Thickness) on top of the line, and the state that it’s in directly beneath it (Too High). As in Part 3, this example is from an actual problem-solving event that I facilitated for a manufacturer of cold-formed components, fasteners, and other related products.

Causal Chain Analysis

The tool helps to pinpoint potential failure modes

Using this tool, the team concluded that the bolt head thickness was too high for two possible primary reasons:

  1. The bolt head angle location was too high
  2. The bolt head angle location was not correct

The team then asked why the bolt head angle location was too high, and believed that the header tooling was incorrect. Then they asked why this was happening and concluded that the bolt head length was controlled by the theoretical diameter. When they checked the print, they found that the print information was incorrect.

The team repeated this exercise for the bolt head angle being incorrect and decided that there were two possible reasons for this:

  1. The header tooling was manufactured incorrectly
  2. The tool design interpretation was incorrect

When the team verified the header tooling, they found that it was indeed incorrect. When they examined the tool design print, they found that to be incorrect as well. As Figure 1 shows, the team identified the root causes for each of the chains, developed corrective actions, and implemented them with much success.

As I have previously stated, the primary purpose of a causal chain is to develop a stepwise chain of events that explains why a particular performance shortfall exists. It is relatively easy to solve seemingly difficult problems by asking why something is happening, and the causal chain is the tool of choice to do just that.

Until next time.

Bob Sproull

The Problem-Solving, Problem-Prevention, and Decision-Making Guide: Organized and Systematic Roadmaps for Managers, Bob Sproull, Productivity Press, 2018

Bob Sproull

About the author

Bob Sproull has helped businesses across the manufacturing spectrum improve their operations for more than 40 years.

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