The 8D Problem Solving Process

Roberto Scaramuzza - Linkedin profile

Roberto Scaramuzza – Linkedin profile

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The 8 Disciplines (8D) process is a business problem management tool. It is the generic problem solving process used across many different industries, particularly automotive and aerospace. It incorporates all of the key aspects of problem management:

When the 8D process has been applied, the result is a report showing how and why the solution was arrived at. It is common for organisations to demand 8D reports from their suppliers if an issue has been found in a supplied product or service.

Discipline 0 (D0): Summary

It is important to correctly name the problem to be tackled, this allows teams to easily communicate about the problem solving task. A short problem statement to summarise the issue should be defined, this statement will be used to name the 8D report.

Discipline 1 (D1): Form the team

This is the first step of the 8D process. This step defines the the 8D team. The team should be cross-functional and should include the process owner and other key stakeholders. The names of the members along with their role and skills are recorded.

Discipline 2 (D2): Describe the problem

This step involves a detailed assessment of the problem. Record all relevant information, be clear and objective. Consider including the following details:

  • Identity of the customer
  • Description of the customer application
  • Device information (device, package, batch number, date code, etc.)
  • When, where the problem was encountered
  • Description of the failure mode and failure rate

Discipline 3 (D3): Contain the problem

Define the immediate actions required to prevent the issue from getting worse. Containment actions are short term and may be costly. Sometimes no containment is required. Examples include:

  • Quarantine batches of stock
  • Temporary inspection stages
  • Temporary training
  • Confessions
  • Product recalls

Discipline 4 (D4): Identify the root cause

Perform failure analysis and investigation, determine the root cause of the problem. Detail the root cause analysis that has been conducted.

A detailed description of the actual failure mechanism should be given to show that the failure has been fully understood. Use standard analysis tools like Pareto, Ishikawa diagrams and ‘It is / it is not’ lists.

Tools should be selected in accordance with the particular problem requirements. Every problem is different.

Discipline 5 (D5): Define permanent corrective actions

Identify all possible corrective actions to address the root cause of the problem. Use brainstorming techniques like Six hats and Random word if required. Provide a rationale for each proposed corrective action.

Grade proposed solutions for cost and suitability. Perform FMEAs (Failure mode and effects analysis) as required to help identify pitfalls and risks.

Discipline 6 (D6): Solution deployment

Define and record the implementation plan. Propose completion dates and allocate owners of tasks.

Data showing that the corrective actions have been effective should be captured and referenced here.

Discipline 7 (D7): Preventative measures

Actions necessary to prevent the same problem from arising again are defined here. Consider the following:

  • Updating the control plan
  • Updating the company standards and procedures
  • Updating the audit plan
  • Adjusting KPIs to identify the problem

Consider applying the problem solution on other products, processes and service delivery.

Discipline 8 (D8): Congratulate the team

The last step of the 8D problem solving process is to congratulate the team and publicise success.

This generates support for improvement work throughout the entire organisation.

Things to consider

  • Consider using an automated off-the-shelf 8D process like Adaptive Task Manager
  • Record all 8D reports as these are a measure of improvement for the organisation
  • Consider training all staff in the 8D process
  • The 8D process can be released into the organisations QMS as the defined method of corrective action reporting
  • Think team. The 8D process is intended to be a team event, but can be used individually