Non-conformances are a part of every manufacturing facility. At United Equipment Accessories (UEA) we use the 8-Discipline (8D) corrective method to address any critical non-conformance issues that may arise. This is the most effective approach to address any nonconformity in the production process.
What is the 8D Methodology?
The 8D method is a specific problem-solving approach to finding the root cause of a problem and implementing a solution to avoid recurring issues. This method requires following 8 disciplines until reaching your desired goal. Below, we review this method and best practices for using it.
Discipline 0: Plan
Before beginning, create a basic plan. Clearly describe the problem, what must be solved, and the time frame that it needs to be solved in. This will help you identify the best team for the job and the resources it will require. This plan will also ensure the project reaches completion.
Discipline 1: Form a Team
Form a team that will implement the 8D’s. Educate members on the disciplines. Include individuals who have been involved with the problem, as well as those who have knowledge about the problem.
For example, if it is a problem with a part, one team member should be the engineer responsible for that part’s design and function. If it is a production area problem, the team should include the supervisor of that shop area.
Discipline 2: Define and Describe the Problem
To describe and completely identify the problem, the team needs to collect data about it. This means gathering as many details as possible and may include a Gemba walk – a walk where team members walk onto the factory floor to observe the problem while it occurs.
After the team has collected the pertinent data, they then analyze and organize the details. The result is a definitive description of the problem, including where, when, and why it is occurring, as well as who and what it is affecting.
Discipline 3: Take Interim Containment Actions
After the team has described the problem completely, it should be fixed or contained so that issues are mitigated as soon as possible while the team continues to look for long-term solutions. This is especially critical when it comes to situations in which safety is compromised, faulty equipment or procedures present a hazard, or if unacceptable products are being delivered to customers. Implementing interim safety fixes removes people from danger, while implementing interim fixes for products can avoid damaging customer relations.
If an interim fix isn’t immediately available, the problem should be “contained” and stopped altogether. New processes may need to be developed that route around the problem area until a long-term fix is established.
Discipline 4: Analyze the Root Cause
After the team has stopped the problem with containment actions, it can focus on identifying the root cause of the problem using methods such as:
Any new or untried tools or methods used in addition to or instead of the above should be data based.
Discipline 5: Create and Select Corrective Actions
After defining the root cause of the problem, the team then develops and chooses actions to correct it. The team can use brainstorming sessions and tools such as Affinity Diagrams to arrive at the definitive actions to take.
Discipline 6: Implement and Validate Corrective Actions
The team then validates whether the corrective actions are working. For this, the team can use tools such as simulations and Accelerated Life Testing. If there is more than one problem, or if the problem has some major dimensions, steps 4D through 6D should be performed until staff can confirm whether the corrective actions work for the issue as a whole.
Discipline 7: Identify and Implement Preventative Actions
Corrective actions are too specific—look deeper into the problem to prevent it, and other problems like it, from happening in the future. The real change occurs when the team identifies long-term solutions that include preventative actions. This may involve modifying entire systems or parts of systems, redesigning or replacing parts, or buying more equipment.
Discipline 8: Recognize the Team and Individuals
Everyone likes to see their efforts recognized. Though there’s a certain inherent satisfaction in implementing the 8D’s successfully, rewarding team members creates an additional moral boost and shows appreciation. Monetary, time, and special event rewards are certainly appropriate. Seeing management rewarding fellow workers can inspire others to embrace the 8D process.
By using the 8D corrective and preventive action method, UEA eliminated all reoccurrence of packaging and assembly-related issues over a two-year period.