Step 9 – Advanced Problem-Solving

What is the definition of a Problem?

One definition of a problem is: “The recognition of a difference between what is actually happening and what should be happening.” In other words, something is happening that is out of conformance to a known standard or expected results.

What is the definition of a Problem-Solving?

Problem-solving is the act of defining a problem; determining the cause of the problem; identifying, prioritizing, and selecting alternatives for a solution; and implementing a solution.

What are the steps in Problem-Solving?

The American Society for Quality (ASQ) defines a four-step procedure for problem-solving:

1. Define the problem.
2. Generate alternative solutions.
3. Evaluate and select an alternative.
4. Implement and follow up on the solution.

Why is Problem-Solving Important?

Many organizations spend their time fire-fighting their way through re-occurring problems. They spend very little time on problem-solving to improve their business processes and find solutions to eliminate their problems. A business that is not improving their business processes on a regular basis is stagnating. What is even worse, is they are going backwards, while their competitors are moving ahead of them.

The best problem-solving resource in any business to generate great ideas for solutions to eliminate their problems are their employees. They are the people that do the work every day and given the right environment they enjoy participating in focused activities to improve their workplace. Every lean organization has enjoyed the bottom line improvements by tapping into the best source for process knowledge and improvement ideas, their employees!

Why is Advanced Problem-Solving Tools?

When an organization is working though the 10-Step Training and Implementation Model, they are improving their business processes following a step-by-step procedure. As the improvement teams start to mature and understand how the lean principles and tools align and complement each other, they require a deeper and more advanced level of problem-solving capabilities. The main problem-solving tools are those taken from those listed in 7 Quality Tools defined by Kaoru Ishikawa, the father of Quality Circles.

Advanced Problem-Solving Video

In this short video, Chris Turner – Lean Mfg Coach will give a brief explanation about the need to introduce more advanced problem-solving tools.

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