Quality Toolbox: Root Cause Analysis

Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is the methodology used to identify the what, where, when, who, how, and why of a problem that has occurred in a process. It is composed of several tools that collect data, chart causes, identify root causes, generate solutions, and implement solutions. Root cause analysis requires understanding how a system or process works, and the many complex contributors, both technical and human (Westcott, 2006). Root cause analysis is the first step in the process improvement pathway.

Laboratory RCA Tools:

  1. Problem / Error / Failure Occurs
  2. 5 Whys
  3. Process Map / SIPOC
  4. FMEA
  5. Fishbone Diagram
  6. Checksheet
  7. Pareto Chart
  8. A3
  9. PDCA / Design Thinking
Westcott, Russell T. (2006). The Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence, 3rd Edition. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: ASQ Quality Press.