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Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving (8D)

– Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving –

⇓   Introduction to 8D

⇓   What is 8D

⇓   Why Apply 8D

⇓   When to Apply 8D

⇓   How to Apply 8D

Quality and Reliability Support | Quality-One

Introduction to Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving (8D)

The Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving (8D) is a problem solving methodology designed to find the root cause of a problem, devise a short-term fix and implement a long-term solution to prevent recurring problems. When it’s clear that your product is defective or isn’t satisfying your customers, an 8D is an excellent first step to improving Quality and Reliability.

Ford Motor Company developed this problem solving methodology, then known as Team Oriented Problem Solving (TOPS), in the 1980s. The early usage of 8D proved so effective that it was adopted by Ford as the primary method of documenting problem solving efforts, and the company continues to use 8D today.

8D has become very popular among manufacturers because it is effective and reasonably easy to teach. Below you’ll find the benefits of an 8D, when it is appropriate to perform and how it is performed.

What is Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving (8D)

The 8D problem solving process is a detailed, team oriented approach to solving critical problems in the production process. The goals of this method are to find the root cause of a problem, develop containment actions to protect customers and take corrective action to prevent similar problems in the future.

The strength of the 8D process lies in its structure, discipline and methodology. 8D uses a composite methodology, utilizing best practices from various existing approaches. It is a problem solving method that drives systemic change, improving an entire process in order to avoid not only the problem at hand but also other issues that may stem from a systemic failure.

8D has grown to be one of the most popular problem solving methodologies used for Manufacturing, Assembly and Services around the globe. Read on to learn about the reasons why the Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving may be a good fit for your company.

8D - Problem Solving Format

Why Apply Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving (8D)

The 8D methodology is so popular in part because it offers your engineering team a consistent, easy-to-learn and thorough approach to solving whatever problems might arise at various stages in your production process. When properly applied, you can expect the following benefits:

  • Improved team oriented problem solving skills rather than reliance on the individual
  • Increased familiarity with a structure for problem solving
  • Creation and expansion of a database of past failures and lessons learned to prevent problems in the future
  • Better understanding of how to use basic statistical tools required for problem solving
  • Improved effectiveness and efficiency at problem solving
  • A practical understanding of Root Cause Analysis (RCA)
  • Problem solving effort may be adopted into the processes and methods of the organization
  • Improved skills for implementing corrective action
  • Better ability to identify necessary systemic changes and subsequent inputs for change
  • More candid and open communication in problem solving discussion, increasing effectiveness
  • An improvement in management’s understanding of problems and problem resolution

8D was created to represent the best practices in problem solving. When performed correctly, this methodology not only improves the Quality and Reliability of your products but also prepares your engineering team for future problems.

When to Apply Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving (8D)

The 8D problem solving process is typically required when:

  • Safety or Regulatory issues has been discovered
  • Customer complaints are received
  • Warranty Concerns have indicated greater-than-expected failure rates
  • Internal rejects, waste, scrap, poor performance or test failures are present at unacceptable levels

How to Apply Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving (8D)

The 8D process alternates inductive and deductive problem solving tools to relentlessly move forward toward a solution. The Quality-One approach uses a core team of three individuals for inductive activities with data driven tools and then a larger Subject Matter Expert (SME) group for the deductive activities through brainstorming, data-gathering and experimentation.

D0: Prepare and Plan for the 8D

Proper planning will always translate to a better start. Thus, before 8D analysis begins, it is always a good idea to ask an expert first for their impressions. After receiving feedback, the following criterion should be applied prior to forming a team:

Collect information on the symptoms

Use a Symptoms Checklist to ask the correct questions

Identify the need for an Emergency Response Action (ERA), which protects the customer from further exposure to the undesired symptoms

D1: Form a Team

A Cross Functional Team (CFT) is made up of members from many disciplines. Quality-One takes this principle one step further by having two levels of CFT:

  • The Core Team Structure should involve three people on the respective subjects: product, process and data
  • Additional Subject Matter Experts are brought in at various times to assist with brainstorming, data collection and analysis

Teams require proper preparation. Setting the ground rules is paramount. Implementation of disciplines like checklists, forms and techniques will ensure steady progress.  8D must always have two key members: a Leader and a Champion / Sponsor:

  • The Leader is the person who knows the 8D process and can lead the team through it (although not always the most knowledgeable about the problem being studied)
  • The Champion or Sponsor is the one person who can affect change by agreeing with the findings and can provide final approval on such changes

D2: Describe the Problem

The 8D method’s initial focus is to properly describe the problem utilizing the known data and placing it into specific categories for future comparisons. The “Is” data supports the facts whereas the “Is Not” data does not. As the “Is Not” data is collected, many possible reasons for failure are able to be eliminated. This approach utilizes the following tools:

  • Problem Statement
  • Affinity Diagram (Deductive tool)
  • Fishbone/Ishikawa Diagram (Deductive tool)
  • Problem Description

D3: Interim Containment Action

In the interim, before the permanent corrective action has been determined, an action to protect the customer can be taken. The Interim Containment Action (ICA) is temporary and is typically removed after the Permanent Correct Action (PCA) is taken.

  • Verification of effectiveness of the ICA is always recommended to prevent any additional customer dissatisfaction calls

D4: Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and Escape Point

The root cause must be identified to take permanent action to eliminate it. The root cause definition requires that it can be turned on or off, at will. Activities in D4 include:

  • Comparative Analysis listing differences and changes between “Is” and “Is Not”
  • Development of Root Cause Theories based on remaining items
  • Verification of the Root Cause through data collection
  • Review Process Flow Diagram for location of the root cause
  • Determine Escape Point, which is the closest point in the process where the root cause could have been found but was not

D5: Permanent Corrective Action (PCA)

The PCA is directed toward the root cause and removes / changes the conditions of the product or process that was responsible for the problem. Activities in D5 include:

  • Establish the Acceptance Criteria which include Mandatory Requirements and Wants
  • Perform a Risk Assessment /  Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) on the PCA choices
  • Based on risk assessment, make a balanced choice for PCA
  • Select control-point improvement for the Escape Point
  • Verification of Effectiveness for both the PCA and the Escape Point are required

D6: Implement and Validate the Permanent Corrective Action

To successfully implement a permanent change, proper planning is essential. A project plan should encompass: communication, steps to complete, measurement of success and lessons learned. Activities in D6 include:

  • Develop Project Plan for Implementation
  • Communicate the plan to all stakeholders
  • Validation of improvements using measurement

D7: Prevent Recurrence

D7 affords the opportunity to preserve and share the knowledge, preventing problems on similar products, processes, locations or families. Updating documents and procedures / work instructions are expected at this step to improve future use. Activities in D7 include:

  • Review Similar Products and Processes for problem prevention
  • Develop / Update Procedures and Work Instructions for Systems Prevention
  • Capture Standard Work / Practice and reuse
  • Assure FMEA updates have been completed
  • Assure Control Plans have been updated

D8: Closure and Team Celebration

Teams require feedback to allow for satisfactory closure. Recognizing both team and individual efforts and allowing the team to see the previous and new state solidifies the value of the 8D process. Activities in D8 include:

  • Archive the 8D Documents for future reference
  • Document Lessons Learned on how to make problem solving better
  • Before and After Comparison of issue
  • Celebrate Successful Completion

8D - D0 Reference Card

8D and Root Cause Analysis (RCA)

The 8D process has Root Cause Analysis (RCA) imbedded within it. All problem solving techniques include RCA within their structure. The steps and techniques within 8D which correspond to Root Cause Analysis are as follows:

  • Problem Symptom is quantified and converted to “Object and Defect”
  • Problem Symptom is converted to Problem Statement using Repeated Whys
  • Possible and Potential Causes are collected using deductive tools (i.e. Fishbone or Affinity Diagram)
  • Problem Statement is converted into Problem Description using Is / Is Not
  • Problem Description reduces the number of items on the deductive tool (from step 3)
  • Comparative Analysis between the Is and Is Not items (note changes and time)
  • Root Cause theories are developed from remaining possible causes on deductive tool and coupled with changes from Is / Is Not
  • Compare theories with current data and develop experiments for Root Cause Verification
  • Test and confirm the Root Causes

Is Is Not Example

Example: Multiple Why Technique

The Multiple / Repeated Why (Similar to 5 Why) is an inductive tool, which means facts are required to proceed to a more detailed level. The steps required to determine problem statement are:

  • Problem Symptom is defined as an Object and Defect i.e. “Passenger Injury”
  • Why? In every case “SUV’s Roll Over”
  • Why? In every case, it was preceded by a “Blown Tire”
  • Why? Many explanations may be applied, therefore the team cannot continue with another repeated why past “Blown Tire”
  • Therefore, the Problem Statement is “Blown Tire”
  • Why? Low (Air) Pressure, Tire Defect (Degradation of an Interface) and High (Ambient) Temperature
  • Counter measures assigned to low pressure and tire defect

This example uses only 4 of the 5 Whys to determine the root causes without going further into the systemic reasons that supported the failure. The Repeated Why is one way to depict this failure chain. Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) could also be used.

3 Legged 5 Why

Learn More About Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving (8D)

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Article • 8 min read

8D Problem Solving Process

Solving major problems in a disciplined way.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

(Also known as Global 8D Problem Solving)

8 d problem solving process

When your company runs into a major problem, you need to address it quickly. However, you also need to deal with it thoroughly and ensure that it doesn't recur – and this can take a lot of effort and elapsed time.

The 8D Problem Solving Process helps you do both of these seemingly-contradictory things, in a professional and controlled way. In this article, we'll look at the 8D Problem Solving Process, and we'll discuss how you can use it to help your team solve major problems.

Origins of the Tool

The Ford Motor Company® developed the 8D (8 Disciplines) Problem Solving Process, and published it in their 1987 manual, "Team Oriented Problem Solving (TOPS)." In the mid-90s, Ford added an additional discipline, D0: Plan. The process is now Ford's global standard, and is called Global 8D.

Ford created the 8D Process to help teams deal with quality control and safety issues; develop customized, permanent solutions to problems; and prevent problems from recurring. Although the 8D Process was initially applied in the manufacturing, engineering, and aerospace industries, it's useful and relevant in any industry.

The eight disciplines are shown in figure 1, below:

Figure 1: The 8D Problem Solving Process

8 d problem solving process

The 8D Process works best in teams tasked with solving a complex problem with identifiable symptoms. However, you can also use this process on an individual level, as well.

Applying the Tool

To use the 8D Process, address each of the disciplines listed below, in order. Take care not to skip steps, even when time is limited; the process is only effective when you follow every step.

Discipline 0: Plan

Before you begin to assemble a team to address the problem, you need to plan your approach. This means thinking about who will be on the team, what your time frame is, and what resources you'll need to address the problem at hand.

Discipline 1: Build the Team

You should aim to put together a team that has the skills needed to solve the problem, and that has the time and energy to commit to the problem solving process.

Keep in mind that a diverse team is more likely to find a creative solution than a team of people with the same outlook (although if outlooks are too diverse, people can spend so much time disagreeing that nothing gets done).

Create a team charter that outlines the team's goal and identifies each person's role. Then, do what you can to build trust and get everyone involved in the process that's about to happen.

If your team is made up of professionals who haven't worked together before, consider beginning with team-building activities to ensure that everyone is comfortable working with one another.

Discipline 2: Describe the Problem

Once your team has settled in, describe the problem in detail. Specify the who, what, when, where, why, how, and how many; and use techniques like CATWOE and the Problem-Definition Process to ensure that you're focusing on the right problem.

Start by doing a Risk Analysis – if the problem is causing serious risks, for example, to people's health or life, then you need to take appropriate action. (This may include stopping people using a product or process until the problem is resolved.)

If the problem is with a process, use a Flow Chart , Swim Lane Diagram , or Storyboard to map each step out; these tools will help your team members understand how the process works, and, later on, think about how they can best fix it.

Discovering the root cause of the problem comes later in the process, so don't spend time on this here. Right now, your goal is to look at what's going wrong and to make sure that your team understands the full extent of the problem.

Discipline 3: Implement a Temporary Fix

Once your team understands the problem, come up with a temporary fix. This is particularly important if the problem is affecting customers, reducing product quality, or slowing down work processes.

Harness the knowledge of everyone on the team. To ensure that each person's ideas are heard, consider using brainstorming techniques such as Round Robin Brainstorming or Crawford's Slip Writing Method , alongside more traditional team problem solving discussions.

Once the group has identified possible temporary fixes, address issues such as cost, implementation time, and relevancy. The short-term solution should be quick, easy to implement, and worth the effort.

Discipline 4: Identify and Eliminate the Root Cause

Once your temporary fix is in place, it's time to discover the root cause of the problem.

Conduct a Cause and Effect Analysis to identify the likely causes of the problem. This tool is useful because it helps you uncover many possible causes, and it can highlight other problems that you might not have been aware of. Next, apply Root Cause Analysis to find the root causes of the problems you've identified.

Once you identify the source of the problem, develop several permanent solutions to it.

If your team members are having trouble coming up with viable permanent solutions, use the Straw Man Concept to generate prototype solutions that you can then discuss, tear apart, and rebuild into stronger solutions.

Discipline 5: Verify the Solution

Once your team agrees on a permanent solution, make sure that you test it thoroughly before you fully implement it, in the next step.

  • Conducting a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) to spot any potential problems.
  • Using Impact Analysis to make sure that there will be no unexpected future consequences.
  • Using Six Thinking Hats to examine the fix from several different emotional perspectives.

Last, conduct a Blind Spot Analysis to confirm that you and your team haven't overlooked a key factor, or made an incorrect assumption about this solution.

Discipline 6: Implement a Permanent Solution

Once your team reaches a consensus on the solution, roll your fix out. Monitor this new solution closely for an appropriate period of time to make sure that it's working correctly, and ensure that there are no unexpected side effects.

Discipline 7: Prevent the Problem From Recurring

When you're sure that the permanent solution has solved the problem, gather your team together again to identify how you'll prevent the problem from recurring in the future.

You might need to update your organization's standards, policies, procedures, or training manual to reflect the new fix. You'll likely also need to train others on the new process or standard. Finally, you'll need to consider whether to change your management practices or procedures to prevent a recurrence.

Discipline 8: Celebrate Team Success

The last step in the process is to celebrate and reward your team's success . Say "thank you" to everyone involved, and be specific about how each person's hard work has made a difference. If appropriate, plan a party or celebration to communicate your appreciation.

Before the team disbands, conduct a Post-Implementation Review to analyze whether your solution is working as you thought, and to improve the way that you solve problems in the future.

In the late 1980s, Ford Motor Company developed the 8D (8 Disciplines) Problem Solving Process to help manufacturing and engineering teams diagnose, treat, and eliminate quality problems. However, teams in any industry can use this problem solving process.

The eight disciplines are:

  • Build the Team.
  • Describe the Problem.
  • Implement a Temporary Fix.
  • Identify and Eliminate the Root Cause.
  • Verify the Solution.
  • Implement a Permanent Solution.
  • Prevent the Problem From Recurring.
  • Celebrate Team Success.

The 8D Problem Solving Process is best used with a team solving complex problems; however, individuals can also use it to solve problems on their own.

Ford is a registered trademark of the Ford Motor Company: https://www.ford.com/

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What is the 8D Problem Solving? And How to use the 8D Report?

The 8D problem-solving process (also known as the 8 Disciplines) is very different from previous processes we explored previously, such as the Double Diamond process or the IBM Design Thinking. The 8D process works in a rigid standardised nature to address the crisis caused by problems. The 8D process aims to walk with the team to highlight the problem, its root causes and propose a long-term solution. The process is documented in an 8D report which includes details of each of the eight stages. At the end of this article, we will explore an example report, and you can find a free 8D report template to download.

In times of crisis, companies face the challenge of analysing and solving problems efficiently in a short time to save developed projects. Problem-solving techniques such as the  TRIZ method  and  Hurson’s Production Thinking Model  allow companies to overcome crises and solve problems using less effort and time.

  • Stage Gate Process: The Complete Practice Guide
  • The Double Diamond Design Thinking Process and How to Use it
  • A Guide to the SCAMPER Technique for Creative Thinking
  • Design Thinking Tools: Reverse Brainstorming

Brief History of the 8D Problem Solving

The 8D method was first implemented by the US government during WW II as a military standard and was referred to as the Army Directive 1520, “Remedies and disposal of nonconforming materials.” In 1987, the demand for a team-oriented problem-solving method increased among the management organisation in the automotive industry to find a way to eliminate recurring issues.

Don't miss any free design thinking templates, tools, and articles. Join my newsletter!

Ford Motor Company published their manual,  Team Oriented Problem Solving (TOPS),  which includes their 8 Disciplines of the problem-solving process. The process was initially used to deal with quality control and safety issues inside the company but later expanded its role to a team approach problem-solving method. The 8D process is employed by engineers and designers to identify, analyse, and correct problems by eliminating the primary source that caused the problem.

So, what are the eight steps in the 8D methodology? The 8D problem solving process includes 8 Disciplines. In the mid-90s, a D0 step for planning was added to the process. The 8D steps include the following:

  • D1: Team formation
  • D2: Describe the problem
  • D3: Develop a temporary containment plan
  • D4: Determine and verify root causes
  • D5: Verify the permanent solution
  • D6: Implement the permanent solution
  • D7: Prevent recurrence
  • D8: Congratulate your team

The 8 Disciplines aim to achieve the following targets while solving the specified problem:

  • Think as a team while solving the problem
  • Isolate the situation and understand its causes
  • Identify the factors that contribute to the problem
  • Provide a temporary solution to halt the impact of the problem
  • Eliminate the causes of the problem and the factors contributing to it
  • Prevent the problem from recurring

When Should the 8D Problem Solving be Used?

Based on the above targets, the 8D problem solving process is designed for complex problems whose solution exceeds the ability of one expert. Also, it aims to establish communication for problem resolution through different levels inside the company. In some situations, the consumer or the management team requests the application of the 8D process through several forms or documentation.

While 8D problem solving is suitable for recurring problems that may repeatedly occur within a project or company, it is not ideal for simple issues that can be solved quickly by individual efforts. The process is unsuitable for a problem that can be solved with a straightforward solution. The 8D process is designed for complex issues, which require several weeks to solve and the involvement of at least four people.

8D problem solving provides a systematic process to find and solve problems. Therefore, if the situation requires choosing between alternative solutions, 8D acknowledges that other tools may help solve the problem better than the 8D process.

8D problem solving

How to Apply the 8D Problem Solving Process?

The steps below form the 8 Discipline process to achieve targeted problem solving through the eight steps.

This discipline is also known as the Pre 8D because it aims to understand the problem and determine if the 8D process is the correct method to use. At this stage, the team aims to answer general questions such as:

  • Is this a new problem, or has it happened before?
  • Is this a recurring problem?
  • What is the history of this issue?
  • What was the method used to solve the problem before?

At this stage, the target is to learn about the problem’s history and decide if the 8D process is the best tool to solve the problem.

D1: Team Formation

Thinking as a team can produce more efficient solutions than trying to solve a problem alone. The team includes all the stakeholders involved in the situation. The team communicates with each other and performs brainstorming to solve the problem (check  Design Thinking Tools: Reverse Brainstorming ). If the team does not know each other, the brainstorming time can be used to learn how to teach members to explore ideas together. Methods can be used in brainstorming sessions such as mind mapping , Six Thinking Hats , and  Lego Serious Play.

D2: Describe the Problem

After team formation, the second step is to understand the problem and its risks. This stage starts with a risk analysis to identify the situation and how it can affect the project flow. Several methods can be used to analyse the problem from different perspectives, including  SWOT analysis ,  SCAMPER technique , and similar tools. This stage is essential to building a clear vision of the problem and ensuring all stakeholders have the same understanding of the situation.

D3: Develop a Temporary Containment Plan

While solving the problem, there should be a temporary containment plan to prevent the problem from affecting the rest of the project or the final product. This temporary containment solution is a short-term operation such as adding more labour, increasing the quality measurements, applying a risk plan, etc.

It is essential to understand that the containment action is not the real solution and can only be used for the short term. Therefore, this action can be applied internally and not affect the process of reaching a permanent solution.

D4: Determine and Verify Root Causes

This stage aims to investigate the root causes of the problem; it can be considered the core of the 8D problem solving process. In many problems, what we see as causes are symptoms of other root causes. This misunderstanding can lead to inaccurate attempts at solutions that can have negative consequences in the future and leave the underlying problem unsolved.

An intensive investigation should be implemented because, in many cases, the root cause is hidden inside the process and covered by many symptoms, which is confusing. Some tools can be used to define the root causes of the problem, such as  brainstorming , statistical analysis, flow charts, audits, etc.

D5: Verify the Permanent Solution

Once the root cause is defined, the solution becomes apparent, and the team better understands how to solve the problem. However, the symptoms and other related factors may create difficulties deciding how best to apply the solution. So, these other factors should be considered when determining the permanent solution to the dilemma.

When choosing the permanent solution to the problem, it should meet the following criteria to ensure it is the ideal solution for the problem:

  • The solution should be practical
  • The solution should be feasible
  • The solution should be cost-effective
  • The solution should not fail during production
  • The solution should be implemented in all affected facilities in the company

D6: Implement the Permanent Solution

Once the solution is approved, this step tends to work as an action plan. This plan aims to outline the steps to implement the solution. It is common to ask questions in this stage: What should be done? Who should be involved in the correction plan?

More documentation and detailed plans should be created if the solution is complex and needs further procedures. The method may include training the team and checking the plan’s progress for further development and improvement.

D7: Prevent Recurrence

Once the action plan is set and ready to be implemented, the team should establish a plan to prevent the problem from occurring in the future. The action plan should be tested and documented as part of the process to avoid the recurrence of the problem. Some of the tools that can achieve this goal are Control Charts, Capabilities Analysis, and Control Plans.

D8: Congratulate the Team

After completing the task and implementing the solution, the team deserves an acknowledgement of their work and a celebration. This event will positively impact the stakeholders and reflect recognition of employees’ efforts from the management inside the company.

How do you Write an 8D Report?

The primary documentation used in the problem solving process is the 8D report. Korenko et al. (2013) presented an example of the 8D problem-solving application, Application 8D Method For Problems Solving . After this example, you can find a free 8D Report template that you can download and use for both commercial and noncommercial applications. The first part of the report, D0, includes information about the problem and the project details related to the project. D1 section contains details of the team involved in the project, roles, titles and contact information. D2 part of the report includes a detailed description of the problem and possible visual images to show the problem clearly. The report can consist of the type of damage of the failure and the function where the problem occurs (Figure 2).  

8D Report example

D3 includes details of the temporary solution for the problem required to stop the damage rapidly. In this part, the temporary remedy is described, particularly the symptoms affect, the responsibility, and the validation of the action. In D4, the team uses a root-cause method such as the 5WHYs or the Cause-Effect analysis (Fish Bone method). These methods help the team to identify the root causes of the problem. In Figure 3, the 5WHYs method is used several times to identify the root cause of the problem. 

8D Report example

D5 of the report provides details about the permanent solution to fix the problem. Unlike the temporary solution, this aims to element the root causes of the problem. This section includes the procedure’s name, the reason to use it, the responsibility, the management approval to apply it and the expected date of completing the utilisation of the solution, as seen in Figure 4. In the following stage, D6, the team provides details on the implementation and validation of the permanent action.

8D Report example

D7 provides details about preventing the recurrent problem, such as the name of the action after the validation process in the previous stage. Also, this stage provides details of the cause behind this action and elements about its responsibility and implementing details. Finally, in D8, the report includes a summary of the procedure and the proper approvals related to the procedure implementation (Figure 5). 

8D Report example

Free 8D Report Template Download

Free 8D Report Template

You can download the below 8D report, which you can use for commercial and noncommercial projects. Don’t forget to mention Designorate as the source of this free 8D report.

The 8D Problem Solving process provides a reliable and systematic method that ensures that the problems inside a company or project are solved by eliminating their root causes and preventing recurrence. However, it is most suitable for complex problems that can take weeks or even months to solve. Therefore, the first stage aims to determine if the 8D process is ideal for the problem or if more straightforward tools should be implemented. If the 8D problem solving method is appropriate for your business problem, you have a step-by-step template to guide you through your attempts to find a suitable solution to the obstacle you need to overcome.

Dr Rafiq Elmansy

I'm an academic, author and design thinker, currently teaching design at the University of Leeds with a research focus on design thinking, design for health, interaction design and design for behaviour change. I developed and taught design programmes at Wrexham Glyndwr University, Northumbria University and The American University in Cairo. Additionally, I'm a published book author and founder of Designorate.com. I am a fellow for the Higher Education Academy (HEA), the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), and an Adobe Education Leader. I write Adobe certification exams with Pearson Certiport. My design experience involves 20 years working with clients such as the UN, World Bank, Adobe, and Schneider. I worked with the Adobe team in developing many Adobe applications for more than 12 years.

8 d problem solving process

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What is 8D? A template for efficient problem-solving

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How you respond when problems arise is one of the most defining qualities of a manager. Luckily, there are tools you can use to master problem-solving. The 8D method of problem-solving combines teamwork and basic statistics to help you reach a logical solution and prevent new issues from arising.

You’ve spent months overseeing the development of your company's newest project. From initiation, planning, and execution, you’re confident this may be your best work yet.

Until the feedback starts rolling in.

There’s no sugar-coating it—things don’t always go as planned. But production or process issues are hardly a signal to throw in the towel. Instead, focus on honing your problem-solving skills to find a solution that keeps it from happening again. 

The 8D method of problem solving emphasizes the importance of teamwork to not only solve your process woes but prevent new ones from occurring. In this guide, we’ll break down what 8D is, how to use this methodology, and the benefits it can give to you and your team. Plus, get an 8D template to make solving your issue easier. 

What is 8D?

The eight disciplines (8D) method is a problem-solving approach that identifies, corrects, and eliminates recurring problems. By determining the root causes of a problem, managers can use this method to establish a permanent corrective action and prevent recurring issues. 

How do you use the 8D method?

The 8D method is a proven strategy for avoiding long-term damage from recurring problems. If you’re noticing issues in your workflow or processes, then it’s a good time to give this problem-solving method a try. 

To complete an 8D analysis, follow “the eight disciplines” to construct a statistical analysis of the problem and determine the best solution.

The eight disciplines of problem-solving

8D stands for the eight disciplines you will use to establish an 8D report. As you may notice, this outline starts with zero, which makes nine total disciplines. The “zero stage” was developed later as an initial planning stage. 

To illustrate these steps, imagine your organization experienced a decline in team innovation and productivity this past year. Your stakeholders have noticed and want to see changes implemented within the next six months. Below, we’ll use the 8D process to uncover a morale-boosting solution.

[inline illustration] D8 problem solving approach (infographic)

D0: Prepare and plan

Before starting the problem-solving process, evaluate the problem you want to solve. Understanding the background of the problem will help you identify the root cause in later steps. 

Collect information about how the problem has affected a process or product and what the most severe consequences may be. Planning can include:

Gathering data

Determining the prerequisites for solving the problem

Collecting feedback from others involved

[inline illustration] D0 Planning (example)

If we look back at our example, you may want to figure out whether this decline in morale is organization-wide or only applies to a few departments. Consider interviewing a few employees from different departments and levels of management to gain some perspective. Next, determine what knowledge and skills you will need to solve this lapse in productivity. 

D1: Form your team

Create a cross-functional team made up of people who have knowledge of the various products and workflows involved. These team members should have the skills needed to solve the problem and put corrective actions in place. 

Steps in this discipline may include:

Appointing a team leader

Developing and implementing team guidelines

Determining team goals and priorities

Assigning individual roles

Arranging team-building activities

[inline illustration] D1 Team members (example)

From our example, a solid team would consist of people with first-hand experience with the issues—like representatives from all departments and key people close to workshop-level work. You may also want to pull someone in from your HR department to help design and implement a solution. Most importantly, make sure the people you choose want to be involved and contribute to the solution.

D2: Identify the problem

You may have a good understanding of your problem by now, but this phase aims to break it down into clear and quantifiable terms by identifying the five W’s a and two H’s (5W2H):

Who first reported the problem?

What is the problem about?

When did it occur and how often?

Where did it occur (relating to the sector, supplier, machine, or production line involved)?

Why is solving the problem important?

How was the problem first detected?

How many parts/units/customers are affected?

[inline illustration] D2 Problem statement & description (example)

Use your team’s insights to answer these questions. From our example, your team may conclude that: 

Employees feel overwhelmed with their current workload. 

There is no real structure or opportunity to share new ideas.

Managers have had no training for meetings or innovation settings.

Disgruntled employees know they can achieve more—and want to achieve more—even if they seem disengaged.

Once you answer these questions, record an official problem statement to describe the issue. If possible, include photos, videos, and diagrams to ensure all parties have a clear understanding of the problem. It may also help to create a flowchart of the process that includes various steps related to the problem description.

D3: Develop an interim containment plan

Much like we can expect speedy first aid after an accident, your team should take immediate actions to ensure you contain the problem—especially if the problem is related to customer safety. 

An interim containment plan will provide a temporary solution to isolate the problem from customers and clients while your team works to develop a permanent corrective action. This band-aid will help keep your customers informed and safe—and your reputation intact.

[inline illustration] D3 Interim containment action (example)

Because your findings revealed workers were overworked and managers lacked training, your team suggests scheduling a few mandatory training sessions for leaders of each department covering time and stress management and combating burnout . You may also want to have a presentation outlining the topics of this training to get key managers and stakeholders interested and primed for positive upcoming changes. 

D4: Verify root causes and escape points

Refer back to your findings and consult with your team about how the problem may have occurred. The root cause analysis involves mapping each potential root cause against the problem statement and its related test data. Make sure to test all potential causes—fuzzy brainstorming and sloppy analyses may cause you to overlook vital information. 

[inline illustration] D4 Root cause & escape points (example)

In our example, focus on the “why” portion of the 5W2H. You and your team identify six root causes:

Managers have never had any training

There is a lack of trust and psychological safety

Employees don’t understand the objectives and goals

Communication is poor

Time management is poor

Employees lack confidence

In addition to identifying the root causes, try to pinpoint where you first detected the problem in the process, and why it went unnoticed. This is called the escape point, and there may be more than one. 

D5: Choose permanent corrective actions

Work with your team to determine the most likely solution to remove the root cause of the problem and address the issues with the escape points. Quantitatively confirm that the selected permanent corrective action(s) (PCA) will resolve the problem for the customer. 

Steps to choosing a PCA may include:

Determining if you require further expertise

Ensuring the 5W2Hs are defined correctly

Carrying out a decision analysis and risk assessment

Considering alternative measures

Collecting evidence to prove the PCA will be effective

[inline illustration] D5 Permanent corrective action (example)

Your team decides to roll out the training used in the interim plan to all employees, with monthly company-wide workshops on improving well-being. You also plan to implement meetings, innovation sessions, and team-coaching training for managers. Lastly, you suggest adopting software to improve communication and collaboration. 

D6: Implement your corrective actions

Once all parties have agreed on a solution, the next step is to create an action plan to remove the root causes and escape points. Once the solution is in effect, you can remove your interim containment actions.

After seeing success with the training in the interim phase, your stakeholders approve all of your team’s proposed PCAs. Your representative from HR also plans to implement periodic employee wellness checks to track employee morale .

[inline illustration] D6 PCA implementation plan (example)

To ensure your corrective action was a success, monitor the results, customer, or employee feedback over a long period of time and take note of any negative effects. Setting up “controls” like employee wellness checks will help you validate whether your solution is working or more needs to be done. 

D7: Take preventive measures

One of the main benefits of using the 8D method is the improved ability to identify necessary systematic changes to prevent future issues from occurring. Look for ways to improve your management systems, operating methods, and procedures to not only eliminate your current problem, but stop similar problems from developing later on.

[inline illustration] D7 Preventive measure (example)

Based on our example, the training your team suggested is now adopted in the new manager onboarding curriculum. Every manager now has a “meeting system” that all meetings must be guided by, and workloads and projects are managed as a team within your new collaboration software . Innovation is improving, and morale is at an all-time high!

D8: Celebrate with your team

The 8D method of problem-solving is impossible to accomplish without dedicated team members and first-class collaboration. Once notes, lessons, research, and test data are documented and saved, congratulate your teammates on a job well done! Make an effort to recognize each individual for their contribution to uncovering a successful solution.

[inline illustration] 8D Team congratulations & reward (example)

8D report template and example

Check out our 8D report template below to help you record your findings as you navigate through the eight disciplines of problem solving. This is a formal report that can be used as a means of communication within companies, which makes for transparent problem-solving that you can apply to the entire production or process chain.

Benefits of using the 8D method

The 8D method is one of the most popular problem-solving strategies for good reason. Its strength lies in teamwork and fact-based analyses to create a culture of continuous improvement —making it one of the most effective tools for quality managers. The benefits of using the 8D method include: 

Improved team-oriented problem-solving skills rather than relying on an individual to provide a solution

Increased familiarity with a problem-solving structure

A better understanding of how to use basic statistical tools for problem-solving

Open and honest communication in problem-solving discussions

Prevent future problems from occurring by identifying system weaknesses and solutions

Improved effectiveness and efficiency at problem-solving

Better collaboration = better problem solving

No matter how good a manager you are, production and process issues are inevitable. It’s how you solve them that separates the good from the great. The 8D method of problem solving allows you to not only solve the problem at hand but improve team collaboration, improve processes, and prevent future issues from arising. 

Try Asana’s project management tool to break communication barriers and keep your team on track.

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8 d problem solving process

Published: November 7, 2018 by Ken Feldman

8 d problem solving process

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of different approaches to problem solving. Some of the most common ones are PDCA , DMAIC , A3, 6S , Agile , 5 Whys , fishbone diagrams , and others. In this article, we’ll look at the 8D process for problem-solving and process improvement. We will present the benefits of 8D along with some best practices and an example of how to use it. This will provide you with some practical applications for use in your own organization.

Overview: What is the 8D process? 

The history of 8D is somewhat controversial. While everyone seems to agree that the popularity of the approach can be credited to Ford Motor company, the basis of the process is a little less clear. Senior leadership at Ford saw the need for the Powertrain division to have a methodology where teams could work on recurring problems. 

In 1986, work began to develop a manual and training course that would create a new approach to solving engineering design and manufacturing problems. The title of this manual was Team Oriented Problem Solving (TOPS), and it was first published in 1987. But where did the original idea come from?

Many give credit to the U.S. War Production Board, which developed a simple, four-step approach in 1945 for improving job methods. Here’s what they looked like.

1945 Job Methods improvement document from the U.S. War Production Board

Image source: allaboutlean.com .

In reality, the 8D process is officially known as the Eight Disciplines of Problem-Solving. To make things a little more confusing, it’s really nine steps. While originally developed as 8 steps or disciplines, it was subsequently revised to include a step zero, which was to plan and prepare for solving the problem.

A list of the 8 disciplines in the 8D process

Image source: ASQ.org .

Let’s provide a little more detail for each step.

  • D0 — Plan: Collect information and data on the problem symptoms. Decide what preparations will be needed to complete the 8D process. Decide whether you will need an Emergency Response Plan to minimize or mitigate the immediate impact of your problem on the customer.
  • D1 — Create a team: Put together a cross-functional team consisting of a core group plus a selection of subject matter experts ( SMEs ). Be sure to provide everything the team will need to be successful, including any training needed to properly execute the process.
  • D2 — Define and describe the problem: Using relevant data, describe the problem in as detail as possible. Be sure to focus on your problem at this point, not your solution.
  • D3 — Contain the problem: Protect your customer by creating containment actions to prevent any further negative impact to them.
  • D4 — Identify, describe, and verify root causes: You can use a multitude of tools such as the 5 Whys, fishbone diagrams, brainstorming , and others to identify potential root causes. Use data to validate your root causes.
  • D5 — Choose corrective actions: Select the most appropriate actions to resolve and eliminate the root causes of your problem. 
  • D6 — Implement and validate your corrective actions: Implement your recommended solutions and corrective actions, and continue to monitor to assure yourself that they actually solved your problem.
  • D7 — Take preventative measures: Revise your systems to proactively try to prevent these and similar problems from arising in the future.
  • D8 — Congratulate your team: Communicate the work of the team and celebrate their efforts.

3 benefits of the 8D process 

It goes without saying that removing problems, improving your process, and preventing future problems will provide many benefits to your organization. Here are a few.

1. Simple and effective 

The 8D process has been compared to the PDCA model. Like PDCA, 8D is structured, organized, and simple in concept. 

2. Drives you to the root cause 

By following the sequential steps, this process should lead you to the elimination of your problem and prevent it from arising again. 

3. Team approach 

The use of a cross-functional team composed of a core group of people working in the problem area as well as subject matter experts contributing on an as needed basis will give you the synergy of combined knowledge and experience that should lead you to a solution. 

Why is the 8D process important to understand? 

While simple in concept, there are a number of things you should understand that will make this process both effective and efficient.

Elimination of the root cause

If you understand and follow the 8D steps, you will be able to eliminate — or at least mitigate — the negative impact of your problem.

Discipline 

The 8D steps are sequential and build on each other. If you have the discipline to stay on track, you will optimize the use of the 8D process. 

Problem-solving tools 

8D is a process and methodology. You will need to understand the purpose of each step so you can apply the proper problem-solving tools in each step.  

An industry example of 8D

A consumer product company located in Mexico City was experiencing an increase in its delivery trucks returning without having made product deliveries to its customers. There did not seem to be an obvious reason or solution, so the president of the company chartered a team to look into the problem. He assigned the company’s Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt to put together and facilitate a team and chose to use the 8D problem-solving methodology.

He followed the process by first having a planning and preparation meeting to lay out the plan for analyzing the problem. He suggested that some of the delivery supervisors go out into the field to see if they can observe any unusual conditions. They also collected some data and recorded their observations.

A vigorous brainstorming session ensued in which the team listed all the possible reasons the problem was occuring. These potential root causes were validated by the data that was collected and the observations of the supervisors. They discovered the trucks were coming back without delivering all of the product because the customers didn’t have enough money to pay for the product. These were very small customers who had to pay cash on delivery.

The question then became: Why didn’t they have enough money? The next root cause was that the trucks were arriving later in the day, after the customer had already paid for most of their other deliveries and thus had no money left. Why were the trucks arriving so late? Because they got stuck in traffic because they left the yard too late. Why were they leaving so late? Because they were loading the trucks and doing the paperwork in the morning.

Eventually, the team arrived at a solution that had the trucks loaded, prepped, and ready to go when the drivers arrived early in the morning. The result was a dramatic reduction in returned goods and a significant increase in cash flow. The president was confident that the use of the 8D process got them to the right solution quickly and efficiently.

3 best practices when thinking about the 8D process

Like most of the other problem-solving approaches, there are some recommended practices that will help you and your team be successful. Here are a few that will help you stay on track. 

1. Pick the best team that you can 

Don’t seek volunteers, but hand-select the best team members that are available. It will be their knowledge and expertise that will make the team successful. Likewise for the team facilitator or leader.

2. Take your time 

Don’t rush to solutions or what you think is the root cause of your problem. Thoroughly explore your problem so that the solutions that you eventually come up with will resolve the problem and prevent future occurrences. Think creatively.

3. Be specific about what your problem is

Use data to help you understand your problem. Don’t just rely on anecdotal stories or assumptions to decide the root cause of your problem.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about 8D

1. when should i use the 8d process.

Use this process when you’re trying to solve for safety or regulatory issues, increasing customer complaints, warranty costs (which indicate greater-than-expected failure rates), internal rejects, waste, scrap, and poor performance or test results.

2. Can the 8D process be used in non-manufacturing processes?

Yes. While the 8D process was developed in the manufacturing function of Ford Motor Company, it can just as easily be applied in any type of process or function where you are experiencing problems.

3. What is the difference between the 8D and 5D process? 

For a less complex problem, you may decide to use a 5D process. This simplified process will have you form a team, identify your problem, implement containment actions, identify the root cause, and implement corrective actions to eliminate the problem.

So, what is the 8D process? 

The 8D process, also known as the Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving, is a method developed at Ford Motor Company used to resolve problems. It is focused on product and process improvement. 

The purpose of 8D is to identify, correct, and eliminate recurring problems. It establishes a permanent corrective action based on a problem analysis and determination of the root causes. Although it was originally comprised of eight stages, or “disciplines,” it was later revised to nine to include a planning and preparation stage.

About the Author

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Ken Feldman

8 d problem solving process

8D Chess: How to Use The 8 Disciplines for Problem Solving

8 d problem solving process

Hospitals have developed something of a reputation for being rife with bad processes . When processes aren’t adequate, the result is an abundance of “workarounds”.

For example, when equipment or supplies are missing, a nurse might waste time running around searching for what is needed, and once the item is found, return to their previous duties.

One study indicates that nurses spend 33 minutes of a 7.5-hour shift completing workarounds that are not part of their job description.

This may well “put out the fire” so-to-speak, but really it is just a hastily applied band-aid that does nothing to treat the root cause of the problem.

More time is wasted and more problems will arise in the future because nothing has been done to prevent the initial problem from happening again.

Individual nurses are not at fault here; workplace culture often values expertise in the form of those who “get the job done”, which tends to pull against the notion of spending time building good processes (time in which the job is perhaps not “getting done”).

So how to approach the problem of problem solving ?

In a lean context, problem solving can be distilled into two simple questions:

  • What is the problem and how did it happen?
  • How can we make sure that it doesn’t happen again?

The 8D, or eight disciplines methodology, is a problem solving process – most likely one of the most widely used problem solving processes out there. It is used by many different countries, in many different industries, and many different organizations.

8D is designed to help you put out those fires, and make sure they don’t happen again.

In this article, I’ll introduce you to the 8D problem solving methodology and provide you with an outline of the basic process that you can hopefully apply in your own business, plus how you can enhance 8D with other tools and methodologies like Six Sigma , FMEA , and Process Street .

Here’s what I hope you’ll take away after reading:

  • An understanding of the basics of 8D
  • Advantages of using 8D
  • The purpose and objectives of each phase of the 8D process
  • An understanding of how to use 8D for problem solving
  • How 8D works with other problem solving tools
  • How you can use Process Street to maximize the potential of the 8D framework

Let’s begin with the origins of 8D – what is it, and where did it come from?

What is 8D?

8D (sometimes Global 8D or G8D) stands for eight disciplines, and is a problem solving methodology. It’s basically a process for understanding and preventing problems.

Much like how risk management seeks to take a proactive, preventative stance, 8D aims to gain insight into the root causes of why the problems happen, so they won’t happen again.

The 8D process involves eight (sometimes nine) steps to solve difficult, recurring problems. It’s a transparent, team-based approach that will help you solve more problems in your business.

8D origins: Where did it come from?

8 d problem solving process

Despite the popular story that 8D originated at Ford, it was in fact developed in 1974 by the US Department of Defence, ultimately taking the form of the military standard 1520 Corrective Action and Disposition System for Nonconforming Material .

Ford took this military standard, which was essentially a process for quality management , and expanded on it to include more robust problem solving methods.

In 1987, Ford Motor Company published their manual, Team Oriented Problem Solving (TOPS) , which included their first iteration of the 8D methodology.

Initially termed Global 8D (or G8D) standard, it is currently used by Ford and many other companies in the automotive supply chain.

8D, PDSA, & other problem solving processes

problem solving processes

The disciplines of 8D follow the same logic as the Deming Cycle (also known as PDSA, and sometimes PDCA).

PDSA stands for Plan, Do, Study, Act (or Check, in the case of PDCA).

The similarity lies in the fact that both PDSA and 8D are designed to be used to improve processes. They’re both examples of cycles of continuous improvement.

Whereas 8D may be painted as a more generic problem-solving framework, structurally speaking both 8D and PDSA share a lot in common.

The simple idea of beginning with a clear objective, or desired output, and then testing, analyzing , and iteratively tweaking in a continuous cycle is the basis for both methodologies.

There are, of course, differences. We’ll cover the different applications of both 8D and PDSA in this article.

8D advantages

8 d problem solving process

One of the main strengths of 8D is its focus on teamwork. 8D philosophy encourages the idea that teams, as a whole, are more powerful than the sum of the individual qualities of each team member.

It’s also an empirical methodology; that is to say that it is a fact-based problem solving process.

A branch of continuous improvement, proper use of 8D will help you coordinate your entire team for effective problem solving and improved implementation of just about all of the processes used in your business.

The 8 disciplines for problem solving

As you may have noticed, we’re starting with zero, which makes nine total disciplines. This “zero” stage was developed as an initial planning step.

D0: Plan adequately

Make comprehensive plans for solving the problem including any prerequisites you might determine.

Be sure to include emergency response actions.

D1: Establish your team

Establish your core team with relevant product or process knowledge. This team will provide you with the perspective and ideas needed for the problem solving process.

The team should consist of about five people, from various cross-functional departments. All individuals should have relevant process knowledge.

A varied group will offer you a variety of different perspectives from which to observe the problem.

It is advisable to establish team structure, roles, and objectives as far ahead in advance as possible so that corrective action can begin as quickly and effectively as possible.

D2: Describe the problem

Have your team gather information and data related to the problem or symptom. Using clear, quantifiable terms, unpack the problem by asking:

D3: Contain the problem (temporary damage control)

Depending on the circumstances, you may need to mobilize some kind of temporary fix, or “firefighting”.

The focus of this stage should be on preventing the problem from getting worse, until a more permanent solution can be identified and implemented.

D4: Identify, describe, and verify root causes

In preparation for permanent corrective action, you must identify, describe, and verify all possible causes that could contribute to the problem happening.

You can use various techniques for this, including a Failure Modes and Effects Analysis , or Ishikawa (fishbone) diagram .

It’s important that the root causes are systematically identified, described in detail, and promptly verified (or proved). How each cause is verified will depend on the data type and the nature of the problem.

Take a look at the section towards the end of this article for some more problem solving tools to help you decide the right approach.

D5: Identify corrective actions

You must verify that the corrective action you identified will in fact solve the problem and prevent it from happening again in the future (or whatever is your desired threshold of recurrence).

The best way to do this is to collect as much data as possible and by performing smaller-scale “pilot” tests to get an idea of the corrective action’s impact.

You can’t begin to identify the optimal corrective action until you have identified the root cause(s) of the problem.

D6: Implement and validate corrective actions

Carry out the corrective actions, and monitor short and long term effects. During this stage, you should assess and validate the corrective actions with empirical evidence.

Discuss and review results with your team.

D7: Take preventative measures (to avoid the problem happening again)

Here is where you make any necessary changes to your processes, standard operating procedures , policies , and anything else to make sure the problem does not happen again.

It may not be possible to completely eliminate any chance of the problem recurring; in that case, efforts should focus on minimizing possibility of recurrence as much as possible.

D8: Congratulate your team

It’s important to recognize the joint contribution of each and every one of the individuals that were involved in the process.

Team members should feel valued and rewarded for their efforts; this is crucial and perhaps the most important step – after all, without the team, the problem would not have been fixed.

Providing positive feedback and expressing appreciation helps to keep motivation high, which in turn improves the sense of process ownership and simply increases the likelihood your team will actually want to improve internal processes in the future.

How to use 8D for problem solving

The 8D method above outlines a proven strategy for identifying and dealing with problems. It’s an effective problem solving and problem prevention process.

In addition to avoiding long-term damage from recurring problems, 8D also helps to mitigate customer impact as much as possible.

More than just a problem-solving methodology, 8D sits alongside Six Sigma and other lean frameworks and can easily be integrated with them to minimize training and maximize efficacy.

8D is definitely a powerful framework on its own, but it really shines when combined with other synergistic concepts of lean and continuous improvement.

More problem solving tools that synergize well with 8D

8D has become a leading framework for process improvement, and in many ways it is more prescriptive and robust than other more simplistic Six Sigma approaches.

However, there are many Six Sigma methodologies, and even more frameworks for problem solving and process improvement .

The following improvement tools are often used within or alongside the 8D methodology.

DMAIC: Lean Six Sigma

dmaic process

DMAIC stands for:

The DMAIC process is a data-driven cycle of process improvement designed for businesses to help identify flaws or inefficiencies in processes.

Simply put, the goal with DMAIC is to improve and optimize existing processes.

Interestingly, the development of the DMAIC framework is credited to Motorola , whose work built upon the systems initially developed by Toyota .

In terms of working alongside 8D, you could use DMAIC to identify root causes as in D4; you could also implement the same techniques to better understand prospects for corrective actions as in D5, and D6.

We have a whole article on the DMAIC process, if you’re interested.

SWOT analysis

swot analysis

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. You can use a SWOT analysis to gain insight into your organization as a whole, or on individual processes.

The main synergy with 8D is in the identification of opportunities, threats, and weaknesses.

These can represent opportunities for process improvements, weaknesses in your process that could produce problems further down the line, and threats, both internal and external, that may be out of your direct control but that could cause problems for you.

Here’s a SWOT analysis checklist you can use to structure your own analysis:

FMEA: Failure Mode and Effects Analysis

fmea process

FMEA (Failure Mode and Effects Analysis) is a way of understanding the potential for problems and making preemptive preparations in order to avoid them. It is a method of risk management .

It is a type of preventative risk management process, and so works well in the context of identifying causes of problems so you can better deal with them.

FMEA and 8D work well together because:

  • 8D can make use of information gathered during an FMEA process, like brainstorming sessions, to identify potential problems and their root causes.
  • You can reuse possible cause information gathered during an FMEA process to feed into different representational diagrams like the Ishikawa (fishbone) diagram, which will help in the 8D process.
  • 8D brainstorming data is useful for new process design. This allows the FMEA to take actual process failures into account, which produces more effective results.
  • FMEA completed in the past can be used as databases of potential root causes of problems to inform 8D process development.

Here’s a free FMEA template for you to get started ASAP:

The Pareto Chart

The Pareto Chart helps us understand the impact of different variations of input on our output.

In relation to 8D, Pareto Charts can help us prioritize which root cause to target, based on which will have the greatest impact on improvement (where improvement is the desired output of the 8D process).

Here’s the Six Sigma Institute’s example Pareto Chart :

8 d problem solving process

Here we have a simple deductive reasoning technique that asks “why?” five times to dig into the root cause of a problem.

The logic here is that by asking the same question five times, you work progressively “deeper” into the complexity of the problem from a single point of focus.

Ideally, by the fifth question you should have something that has a high likelihood of being a root cause.

This example from Wikipedia does a great job of conveying how the process works:

  • The vehicle will not start. (the problem)
  • Why? – The battery is dead. (First why)
  • Why? – The alternator is not functioning. (Second why)
  • Why? – The alternator belt has broken. (Third why)
  • Why? – The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced. (Fourth why)
  • Why? – The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule. (Fifth why, a root cause)

Ishikawa diagrams (fishbone diagrams)

Sometimes called “cause-and-effect diagrams”, they are as such used to visualize the cause and effect of problems.

The approach takes six different categories and places information about the problem into different categories to help you understand what factors could be contributing to the problem.

One advantage over the 5 Whys approach is the way this method forces a more holistic perspective, as opposed to the potentially narrow vantage point offered by zooming in on a single aspect or question.

According to the Six Sigma Institute, the 6 key variables pertaining to root causes of problems are:

  • Machine: Root causes related to tools used to execute the process.
  • Material: Root causes related to information and forms needed to execute the process.
  • Nature: Root causes related to our work environment, market conditions, and regulatory issues.
  • Measure: Root causes related to the process measurement.
  • Method: Root causes related to procedures, hand-offs, input-output issues.
  • People: Root causes related people and organizations.

There’s also this useful illustration of a company using a fishbone diagram to better understand what factors contribute to a company’s high turn around time.

8 d problem solving process

Gap analysis

gap analysis graph

A gap analysis is concerned with three key elements:

  • The current situation, or “performance”
  • The ideal situation, or “potential”
  • What needs to be done in order to get from performance to potential, or “bridging the gap”

The “gap” is what separates your current situation from your ideal situation.

Businesses that perform a gap analysis can improve their efficiency and better understand how to improve processes and products.

They can help to better optimize how time, money, and human resources are spent in business.

There’s a lot that goes into a gap analysis, and quite a few different ways to approach it. Check out our article for a deeper dive into the gap analysis process.

Superpowered checklists

Checklists can be a great way to simplify a complex process into a series of smaller, easy-to-manage tasks. They’re one of the best ways to start using processes in your business.

By using checklists, you can reduce the amount of error in your workflow , while saving time and money by eliminating confusion and uncertainty.

What’s more, if you’re using Process Street, you have access to advanced features like conditional logic , rich form fields and streamlined template editing .

How to use Process Street for 8D problem solving

Good problem solving relies on good process. If you’re trying to solve problems effectively, the last thing you want is your tools getting in your way.

What you want is a seamless experience from start to finish of the 8D methodology.

The best kinds of processes are actionable. That’s why you should consider using a BPM software like Process Street to streamline recurring tasks and eliminate manual work with automation .

Process Street’s mission statement is to make recurring work fun, fast, and faultless. By breaking down a process into bite-sized tasks , you can get more done and stay on top of your workload.

Sign up today for a free Process Street trial!

Problem solving is an invaluable skill. What’s your go-to process for problem solving? We’d love to know how it compares with the 8D method. Let us know in the comments!

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Oliver Peterson

Oliver Peterson is a content writer for Process Street with an interest in systems and processes, attempting to use them as tools for taking apart problems and gaining insight into building robust, lasting solutions.

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8D Problem Solving: Comprehensive Breakdown and Practical Applications

Explore the 8D Problem Solving method in-depth. Master practical applications to tackle challenges effectively! Enhance your problem-solving skills now.

The 8D problem-solving process stands as a beacon of structured analysis and corrective action within the complexities of operational pitfalls and quality control discrepancies across industries. Originating from the automotive industry and since adopted widely, the methodology offers a meticulous step-by-step approach that fosters team cohesion, addresses problems at their roots, and implements sustainable solutions.

This article seeks to delve into the nuances of the 8D problem-solving framework, presenting a lucid exposition of its origins, a detailed foray into each step enriched by practical examples, and concluding with the unequivocal benefit bouquet it presents to the organization adopting it.

The Origins of the 8D Problem Solving Methodology

The 8D, or "Eight Disciplines," problem-solving approach germinated from the fertile grounds of collaborative efforts to ensure superior quality and reliability in manufacturing. Initially developed by the Ford Motor Company in the 1980s, this systematic method was a response to a confluence of quality and operational issues that were pervasive in the automotive industry. It drew broader appeal as its efficacy became apparent - functioning as an amalgam of logic, analytics, and teamwork to tackle problems methodically.

The wide reach of the 8D methodology is evident in industries ranging from manufacturing to healthcare, aerospace to IT, and beyond. Its universal applicability stems from a foundational adherence to principle over process, transcending the intricacies of industry-specific challenges. By combining reactive and proactive measures, the 8D method helps in not just extinguishing the fire, but also preventing its outbreak, making it an enduring asset in the organizational toolkit.

The 8 Steps of Problem Solving

An incursion into the 8D methodology reveals a framework that is both systematic and flexible. Each step is sequenced to ensure that issues are not merely patched but genuinely resolved, implementing robust preventive measures to curtail recurrences. This section expounds on each disciplinary step and serves as a substrate for practical implementation examples, supplementing theoretical insights with real-world applicability.

Step 1: Establish a Team

The cornerstone of any formidable 8D approach begins with assembling a competent team. The wisdom embedded in this initial phase is the recognition that effective problem-solving is not a solitary venture but a collaborative pursuit. A multidisciplinary team brings diverse perspectives that are critical in diagnosing issues accurately and devising solutions effectively.

When determining team composition, the emphasis should be on a mix of skills and expertise relevant to the problem at hand. Roles within the team should be clearly defined to streamline activities and foster accountability. Each member should be well-versed in their responsibilities, from those leading the problem-solving charge to those executing and tracking actions.

Step 2: Describe the Problem

Clarity is vital in the second step, which necessitates delineating the problem with precision. A meticulous description sets the foundation for targeted analysis and actionable solutions. It involves accruing information that is factual, quantifiable, and devoid of assumptions – the cornerstone of an accurate problem portrayal.

Techniques like '5W2H' (who, what, when, where, why, how, how much) can galvanize teams into crafting detailed problem descriptions. An exemplar of a well-articulated problem statement might state, "Machine X has experienced a 15% decline in output quality, resulting in a monthly loss of 200 units of product Y since January due to recurrent mechanical inaccuracies."

Step 3: Develop Interim Containment Actions

Addressing a problem's immediate impact is pivotal to prevent exacerbation as a root cause analysis is conducted. Interim containment actions can be likened to first aid – essential, though not the definitive cure. These measures should be rigorously designed to quell the problem's spread or intensification without creating new issues.

An interim action for the aforementioned issue with Machine X could involve adjusting the production schedule to mitigate output loss while the machine is under examination. This demonstrates a temperate solution, buying time for a comprehensive fix without severely disrupting the production chain.

Step 4: Define and Verify the Root Cause(s)

Singular in its focus yet pluralistic in its approach, this phase is committed to uncovering the underlying reasons for the problem. Root cause identification is a task of surgical precision, necessitating a deep dive into the problem without the constraints of predetermined notions.

Techniques such as the "5 Whys" and "Fishbone Diagram" guide problem solvers through a structured investigation of potential causes. Verification is as crucial as identification, ensuring that purported root causes stand up to scrutiny and testing.

Step 5: Verify Permanent Corrective Action(s)

Once root causes have been established, attention shifts to devising and validating long-term corrective actions. This step traverses the path from theory to practice. It requires a judicious appraisal of potential solutions with a clear-eyed view of their feasibility, effectiveness, and sustainability.

Best practices in this step incorporate piloting solutions on a smaller scale, enabling refinement before full-scale implementation. A well-considered corrective action for Machine X might involve upgrading mechanical components identified as failure points, subject to cost-benefit analysis and potential disruption to the production line.

Step 6: Implementing and Validating Permanent Corrective Actions

This step transitions the plan into reality, pushing the corrective actions beyond the threshold into the operational environment. Careful implementation is the linchpin, with detailed plans and schedules ensuring that actions are well-executed and efficacious.

The validation process is a keystone in affirming that corrective actions deliver the intended improvements. For Machine X, this could entail monitoring post-repair performance metrics over a defined period against pre-issue levels to authenticate the efficacy of the improvements.

Step 7: Preventive Measures

Armed with insights gleaned, the 7th step propels the methodology into preventative mode. Here, the onus is on forestalling a problem’s resurgence by ingraining the lessons learned into the organizational fabric. The aim is to encapsulate these insights in policies, procedures, or system changes.

This could mean revising maintenance schedules or worker training programs for Machine X to include the specific nuances that led to the mechanical inaccuracies, thereby shielding against repeat episodes.

Step 8: Congratulate Your Team

The final step encompasses a human-centered focus on recognition and commendation. Acknowledgment of the team’s efforts reinforces motivation, fosters a positive culture, and encourages engagement in future problem-solving initiatives.

Celebrating the success could manifest in a ceremonious recognition of the team’s achievements, an internal announcement of their contributions, or a tangible expression of appreciation. This not only cements the accomplishment but also propels a sense of camaraderie and collective purpose.

The Importance of the 8D Problem Solving Process

A mature consideration of the 8D problem-solving process corroborates its contributory significance in unraveling complex issues and instituting consequential improvements. The benefits it confers are manifest in enhanced product quality, heightened customer satisfaction, and the stimulation of a proactive problem-solving culture. Challenges do persist, mainly in the form of resistance to change or insufficient training; nevertheless, with a conscientious implementation, these can be navigated.

Moreover, the 8D approach aligns seamlessly with the pursuit of continuous improvement – a cornerstone of many business philosophies such as Lean and Six Sigma. It thus serves not only as a solution framework but also as a catalyst for organizational growth and learning.

In summary, the 8D problem-solving methodology stands out for its disciplined, team-driven, and methodical approach to tackling complex problems. From its historical roots in the automotive industry to its implementation in modern enterprises, its efficacy in achieving sustainable solutions is undoubted. Online certificate programs and problem-solving courses often feature 8D due to its relevance and value across industries.

As this article delineates each step, with practical applications and advice, the message is clear: mastery of 8D is not just for immediate problem resolution – it is a pathway to building a resilient and adaptive organization capable of facing the challenges of an ever-changing business landscape.

What are the key steps involved in the 8D Problem Solving process and how do they interact with each other?

Introduction to the 8d process.

The 8D Problem Solving process stands tall. It is a structured approach. Businesses use it widely. 8D tackles complex problems effectively. It drives teams towards lasting solutions. It also fosters quality and reliability. The "D" denotes eight disciplined steps. These steps guide teams. They identify, correct, and prevent issues.

8D Steps Explained

D1: establish the team.

Form a skilled team first. Diversity matters here. Each member brings insights. Their combined expertise is crucial. Team formation kicks off the process.

D2: Describe the Problem

Articulate the issue clearly. Use quantifiable data here. Understanding the scope matters. Have accurate problem statements ready. They pave the way forward.

D3: Develop Interim Containment Action

Ensure a temporary fix. It limits the problem's impact. Speed is of the essence. However, ensure the action is effective. The goal is to stabilize the situation.

D4: Determine Root Cause

Dig deep into causes. Use data-driven analysis. Techniques include fishbone diagrams. Five Whys is also popular. Root cause analysis is pivotal. It prepares the team for corrective actions.

D5: Design and Verify Permanent Corrective Actions

Choose the best corrective action. Rigorous selection criteria apply. Effectiveness and efficiency matter. Verify through testing. Make certain the solution fits.

D6: Implement and Validate Permanent Corrective Actions

Roll out the solution. Watch closely for results. Validation takes place here. Use performance indicators for this. They must indicate that the solution works.

D7: Prevent Recurrence

Embed the improvement. Update systems and policies. Training may be necessary. Maintain the gains. This step safeguards the future. Documentation is important here.

D8: Congratulate the Team

Never overlook recognition. Acknowledge everyone's efforts. Celebrate the success achieved. It boosts team morale. It also promotes a culture of quality.

Interplay Between Steps

The interdependence is strong. Each step builds on the previous one. For example, a strong team in D1 enhances problem understanding in D2. Similarly, effective interim actions in D3 set the stage for a thorough root cause analysis in D4.

The verification in D5 ensures the solution from D4 is sound. Implementation in D6 then relies on the verified action. To prevent recurrence (D7), one must understand the root cause. The entire process relies on clear communication. Team recognition (D8) closes the loop neatly. It paves the way for future problem-solving success.

In essence, the 8D steps are interlinked. Each step informs the next. Teams achieve the best results by following the sequence. They also adapt as needed. 8D enforces a discipline that leads to high-quality results. The interaction between steps ensures problems do not just disappear. They stay solved. This is the power of an integrated problem-solving approach.

Can you provide some practical examples of the effective application of 8D Problem Solving strategies in real-life settings?

Understanding 8d problem solving.

8D problem solving stands for Eight Disciplines. It involves steps that teams must follow. Starting from identifying problems , it goes until preventing reoccurrences . Companies use 8D to tackle complex issues. Its main goal remains quality improvement.

Here are practical examples where 8D shines.

Example 1: Automotive Industry

D0: Plan - An auto manufacturer formed a team. Their goal was clear: resolve brake failures.

D1: Team Formation - They gathered experts from diverse fields. Collaboration was key here.

D2: Describe the Problem - They identified specific issues. Customers reported brakes failing at high speeds.

D3: Develop Interim Containment - They distributed quick-fix kits to dealerships. This ensured immediate customer safety.

D4: Determine Root Causes - A deep dive ensued. The team discovered a faulty brake fluid line.

D5: Choose and Verify Permanent Corrective Actions (PCAs) - They redesigned the brake line. Then they tested it under rigorous conditions.

D6: Implement and Validate PCAs - The new design went into production. Ongoing assessments confirmed its effectiveness.

D7: Take Preventive Measures - They updated their design guidelines. Thus, they eliminated the possibility of similar failures.

D8: Congratulate Your Team - Management recognized the team's effort. This promoted a culture of problem-solving.

Example 2: Electronics Manufacturer

D0: Plan - A sudden surge in returned gadgets prompted action.

D1: Team Formation - A cross-functional team took charge. They had one aim: find the flaw.

D2: Describe the Problem - Devices were overheating during usage. Anxiety among customers grew.

D3: Develop Interim Containment - They halted the production line. Assessing risks was necessary.

D4: Determine Root Causes - Detailed analysis revealed a substandard battery component.

D5: Choose and Verify PCAs - They sourced a higher quality component. Subsequent tests showed promising results.

D6: Implement and Validate PCAs - They integrated the new component into production. Monitoring phases ensured it was a fix.

D7: Take Preventive Measures - They revamped their quality control protocols. Now they could avoid similar issues.

D8: Congratulate Your Team - The team's innovative approach earned praise. They set new standards in their processes.

Example 3: Food Packaging Company

D0: Plan - Reports of packaging leaks triggered an 8D.

D1: Team Formation - Experts from production to distribution joined forces. They understood the stakes were high.

D2: Describe the Problem - The leaks were sporadic but damaging. Food safety concerns escalated.

D3: Develop Interim Containment - They removed compromised products from shelves. Protecting the consumer was paramount.

D4: Determine Root Causes - Investigation exposed a sealing machine defect.

D5: Choose and Verify PCAs - Engineers redesigned the sealing mechanism. Trials followed, proving success.

D6: Implement and Validate PCAs - The updated machines replaced the old ones. Continuous evaluations followed to assure quality.

D7: Take Preventive Measures - They introduced more rigorous maintenance routines. They aimed to preempt future failures.

D8: Congratulate Your Team - The swift and thorough response earned accolades. They reinforced trust in their brand.

8D's Practical Value

Each example showcases 8D's potential. This problem-solving framework adapts to various scenarios. Through structured teamwork and analysis, it guides toward sustainable solutions. It helps in ensuring the same problem does not occur twice. Businesses across different sectors find 8D crucial for their continuous improvement efforts. It underlines that a methodical approach to problem-solving can yield significant long-term benefits.

How is the effectiveness and success of the 8D Problem Solving approach measured in practical applications?

Introduction to 8d problem solving.

The 8D Problem Solving approach stands as a structured methodology. It aims to address and resolve critical issues within an organization. Rooted in the team-oriented approach, 8D follows eight disciplined steps. These steps ensure a comprehensive and effective resolution process. The process includes identifying the problem, implementing interim controls, defining root causes, developing a corrective action plan, taking corrective actions, validating those actions, preventing recurrence, and finally congratulating the team.

Measuring Effectiveness and Success

Quantitative metrics.

Timeliness of Response

The promptness of the initial response is critical. It alerts stakeholders to the emergence and acknowledgment of the issue.

Problem Recurrence Rates

A key success indicator is the frequency of problem recurrence. A declining trend signifies effective corrective actions.

Financial Impact

Cost savings or avoidance measures the fiscal efficiency of the resolution. It counts both direct and indirect factors.

Cycle Time Reduction

Improvements in processes can lead to shorter cycle times. This reflects efficiency gains from the 8D implementation.

Qualitative Metrics

Quality of Documentation

Comprehensive documentation ensures thorough issue analysis. It captures the nuances of the problem-solving journey.

Stakeholder Satisfaction

Feedback from affected parties gauges the outcome’s acceptability. Satisfaction levels can direct future interventions.

Knowledge Transfer

Disseminating learnings enhances organizational capability. Sharing insights leads to broader, preventive measures.

Team Cohesion and Growth

Personal and team development signal process benefits. Such growth provides intangible value to the organization.

Practical Application and Continuous Improvement

In practical applications, tailoring metrics to contexts is vital. Unique business environments demand specific success criteria. Therefore, adapting the approach and its measurement system is necessary.

Organizations may employ a combination of tangible and intangible metrics. Aligning these to strategic goals ensures relevance. The 8D Process receives fine-tuning through iterative cycles. Each cycle offers an opportunity for enhanced problem-solving efficacy.

The Importance of Measure Standardization

Standardizing the measurement process ensures consistency. It aids in comparing and benchmarking against best practices. Homogeneity in measures facilitates clearer communication. It enhances the understanding of successes and areas for improvement.

Revisiting and Refining the 8D Process

Upon completion, a rigorous review of the 8D process is crucial. It ensures learnings lead to process refinement. Alterations in measures might follow to better reflect evolving business needs. This ongoing evolution drives the sustained value of the 8D methodology.

The 8D Problem Solving approach, with its disciplined steps, delivers a robust framework. Measuring its effectiveness requires a blend of quantitative and qualitative metrics. These metrics, when standardized and continually refined, offer a clear lens to assess the 8D process's success. They help organizations not just to solve problems but to evolve in their problem-solving capabilities.

A middle-aged man is seen wearing a pair of black-rimmed glasses. His hair is slightly tousled, and he looks off to the side, suggesting he is deep in thought. He is wearing a navy blue sweater, and his hands are folded in front of him. His facial expression is one of concentration and contemplation. He appears to be in an office, with a white wall in the background and a few bookshelves visible behind him. He looks calm and composed.

He is a content producer who specializes in blog content. He has a master's degree in business administration and he lives in the Netherlands.

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Decision Tree: A Strategic Approach for Effective Decision Making

A woman in a white turtleneck and black jacket stands in a grassy field in front of a large haystack. She is looking directly at the camera, with a thoughtful expression on her face. In the background, there is a black background with white text, including a white letter O on the bottom right corner. The sun is shining, and the sky is clear, with a few white clouds. The haystack is in the center of the field, and the grass is lush and green. The woman stands out against the natural environment, making the scene even more striking. The colors of the image are vivid, and the contrast between the woman and the haystack creates an interesting dynamic.

Lateral Thinking for Problem-Solving: Find the Haystack!

Unlock your problem solving skills and learn where problems come from. Discover the root causes of issues and how to develop strategies to tackle them.

Unlocking Problem Solving Skills: Where Do Problems Come From?

A close-up of a pile of papers on a table, with various sheets of paper of various sizes and colors scattered around. A white letter 'O' is seen on a black background in the upper left corner of the image. In the lower right corner, a woman is seen wearing a white turtleneck and a black jacket. In the middle of the image, a close-up of a book with a bookmark is visible. Lastly, a screenshot of a black and white photo of a woman is seen in the upper right corner. The papers, letter, woman, book, and photo all appear to be on the same table, creating an interesting image that is suitable for use in an image caption dataset.

Developing Problem Solving Skills Since 1960s WSEIAC Report

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Mastering the 8D Problem Solving Method: A Comprehensive Guide

8D Problem Solving

It is often said that “a stitch in time saves nine.” Efficient problem-solving is an essential skill , especially in a professional environment.

When it comes to addressing complex issues, the 8D Problem Solving method has gained significant traction across various industries. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the 8D Problem Solving method, its history, and its application across multiple sectors.

History of the 8D Problem Solving Method

The 8D Problem Solving approach has its origins in World War II when the American military was under intense pressure to produce reliable weapons as quickly as feasible.

The military established a methodical approach to problem-solving, focusing on quality control and continual improvement, to ensure that resources were used effectively.

This was the first instance of what would later develop into the 8D technique.

The writings of Walter Shewhart , W. Edwards Deming , and Joseph M. Juran , who set the groundwork for contemporary quality control and continuous improvement ideas, had a substantial impact on the development of the 8D Problem Solving approach.

These guidelines stress the value of data-driven decision-making and the necessity for businesses to take a pro-active approach to problem-solving.

The Ford Motor Company faced intense competition from Japanese automakers in the 1980s, which caused it to struggle.

Ford used quality control and continuous improvement as its guiding principles and included the 8D Problem Solving process into its business practices to regain its footing.

The automobile sector adopted the 8D methodology widely as a result of the initiative’s success.

The 8D Problem Solving approach gained popularity outside of the automobile industry as it showed continuous promise.

The 8D methodology is now being used by businesses in a variety of industries, such as manufacturing, healthcare, and technology, to solve complicated issues, enhance their operations, and guarantee customer happiness.

The 8D Problem Solving approach has attained widespread acceptance throughout a number of industries.

It is a potent tool for businesses looking to improve their problem-solving skills and promote long-term success due to its systematic approach, emphasis on teamwork, and emphasis on continual improvement.

The Eight Disciplines of 8D Problem Solving

8 d problem solving process

D1: Form a Team

Assembling a diverse team with relevant expertise

The first phase in the 8D process is to put together a varied team of people with the necessary knowledge, making sure that all viewpoints and skill sets are represented. This multidisciplinary approach makes it easier to recognize problems and produce creative solutions.

Defining roles and responsibilities

The tasks and responsibilities of each team member must be established once the team has been constituted. Team members can work cooperatively and effectively by setting clear expectations, ensuring that everyone’s abilities are utilized to the utmost extent. It keeps the problem-solving process on track and upholds accountability.

D2: Define the Problem

Accurate problem description

Accurately characterizing the current problem is the second discipline of the 8D technique. In order to do this, the team must acquire pertinent data, analyze it, and create a clear, succinct statement describing the problem. A focused and efficient problem-solving approach is built on a well identified problem.

Gathering data and identifying root causes

To create long-lasting solutions, the problem’s underlying causes must be determined. The team must gather information from a variety of sources, such as consumer feedback, product testing, or process performance measurements, in order to accomplish this. The team is able to uncover patterns, trends, and potential fundamental causes thanks to this data-driven approach, which also ensures that the problem-solving procedure is unbiased and grounded in facts.

D3: Develop an Interim Containment Plan

Quick, temporary solutions

Minimizing the effects of a problem is crucial in the field of problem solving. Creating an interim containment strategy, which offers quick, temporary solutions to the issue, is the third discipline in the 8D technique. These quick fixes aid in limiting the harm, stopping more problems, and buying the team some time while they produce a more long-term fix.

Mitigating damage and preventing further issues

It is essential to keep an eye on the interim containment plan’s efficacy and adjust as necessary as you go. This guarantees that the short-term fix works to contain the harm and stop the issue from getting worse. Any lessons learnt during this phase should also be recorded by the team because they will be helpful in creating the ultimate corrective action.

D4: Identify Root Causes

8D Problem Solving-Root Cause

Root cause analysis techniques

The fourth discipline of the 8D technique entails examining the issue more closely in order to determine its underlying causes. Various root cause analysis methods, including the Five Whys, Fishbone Diagram, and Fault Tree Analysis, must be used in this situation. The team may create focused solutions that address the issue at its source rather than just treating its symptoms by determining the fundamental causes of the problem.

Verifying root causes through data

Verifying potential root causes with data is crucial after the team has discovered them. Taking this step, the team can avoid being misled by assumptions or unrelated elements and instead concentrate on the real core cause. The team may be confident that their suggested remedies will be successful in tackling the problem by validating the main causes using data.

D5: Choose and Verify Permanent Corrective Actions

Developing and evaluating potential solutions

The team can now consider various solutions after determining the root reasons. “Two heads are better than one,” as the saying goes, and this collaborative process frequently produces innovative and useful ideas. The team should assess each alternative after producing a list of potential corrective actions based on elements including feasibility, cost, and potential impact. This makes it more likely that the selected solution will be both workable and efficient.

Implementing and verifying chosen solution

It’s crucial to assess the effectiveness of the chosen solution before fully applying it. A small-scale trial or a pilot program can be used to accomplish this. The team may be certain that their selected corrective action will be successful when used on a bigger scale by confirming the solution’s success in resolving the issue.

D6: Implement Permanent Corrective Actions

Developing a detailed action plan

The team must create a thorough action plan for putting the selected solution into practice when it has been verified. This strategy should specify the actions, materials, and timetable required for a full integration of the solution into the organization’s operations. A comprehensive action plan makes for an effective implementation that minimizes any hiccups or setbacks.

Monitoring implementation and adjusting as needed

It’s essential to keep an eye on the permanent remedial action’s development and adjust, as necessary. The team may make sure that the solution is properly integrated and produces the required results by remaining alert and reacting to any unforeseen obstacles.

D7: Prevent Recurrence

Identifying potential future issues

The 8D method’s seventh discipline focuses on predicting prospective problems that might develop in the future from comparable underlying causes. The team can help to prevent repeat incidences and continuously enhance the organization’s procedures by foreseeing and addressing these possible issues.

Adjusting processes and procedures to prevent recurrence

The team should analyze and make any necessary modifications to the organization’s systems and procedures to stop the issue from happening again. This can entail creating new quality control procedures, updating the documentation, or changing the training materials. Implementing these changes, the company can promote a climate of continuous development and make sure that the lessons discovered throughout the problem-solving procedure are incorporated into every aspect of its day-to-day work.

D8: Congratulate the Team

Recognizing team achievements

It’s important to acknowledge the team’s effort and commitment when the 8D technique has been implemented successfully. Celebrating their accomplishments promotes a sense of ownership, boosts morale, and encourages continuing commitment to ongoing growth.

Sharing lessons learned with the organization

The team should share their lessons learned with the broader organization. Doing so, they can help to disseminate the knowledge gained during the problem-solving process, fostering a culture of learning and improvement throughout the company.

Practical Application of the 8D Problem Solving Method

8D Problem Solving

Numerous industries, including aerospace, automotive, healthcare, manufacturing, and technology, have successfully used the 8D Problem Solving method. These actual instances show how adaptable and successful the system is at solving a variety of challenging issues .

Although the 8D method offers a structured approach to problem-solving, it is crucial to customize the procedure to the particular requirements and context of the current problem.

This could entail modifying the chronology, modifying the root cause analysis methods, or adding new data sources.

The team can ensure the most efficient problem-solving procedure by continuing to be adaptable and flexible.

Tips for Successful 8D Problem Solving Implementation

8D Problem Solving

Emphasizing clear communication

Clear communication is the lifeblood of effective problem-solving.

Throughout the 8D process, the team should prioritize open and honest communication, ensuring that all members have a thorough understanding of the problem, the chosen solution, and their individual responsibilities.

Fostering a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement

A collaborative and improvement-focused culture is key to the success of the 8D method.

Encouraging open dialogue, mutual support, and ongoing learning, the organization can create an environment in which the 8D method can thrive.

Employing project management tools and techniques

Project management tools and techniques can be invaluable in facilitating the 8D process.

Using tools such as Gantt charts, project management software, or Kanban boards, the team can better track progress, allocate resources, and manage timelines.

These tools can help to keep the problem-solving process organized and efficient, ensuring that the team stays on track and achieves their goals.

Final Thoughts

The 8D Problem Solving method is an effective and adaptable way for tackling complicated challenges in a variety of industries.

Organizations may methodically identify and address problems, stop them from happening again, and promote a culture of continuous improvement and adhering to the eight disciplines.

As we’ve seen, the 8D method’s effectiveness depends on putting together a varied team, upholding clear communication, customizing the procedure for particular circumstances, and using efficient project management tools and approaches.

We urge you to use the 8D Problem Solving method inside your organization now that you have a thorough understanding of it.

Doing this, you may not only address issues more quickly, but also unleash the long-term growth potential of your company.

If you can master the 8D approach, your business will have a better future and you’ll be well-equipped to traverse the waters of problem-solving.

Q: What is the 8D Problem Solving method?

A : A systematic strategy for addressing complicated challenges across multiple industries is the 8D Problem Solving method. It consists of eight disciplines that help firms recognize problems, find solutions, stop them from happening again, and promote a continuous improvement culture.

Q: What are the origins of the 8D Problem Solving method?

A : The United States military created a systematic approach to problem-solving during World War II that was centered on quality control and continual improvement, and this is where the 8D technique got its start. The Ford Motor Company later adopted and promoted the technique in the 1980s.

Q: What are the eight disciplines of the 8D Problem Solving method?

A : The eight disciplines of the 8D method are

  • Form a Team
  • Define the Problem
  • Develop an Interim Containment Plan
  • Identify Root Causes
  • Choose and Verify Permanent Corrective Actions
  • Implement Permanent Corrective Actions
  • Prevent Recurrence
  • Congratulate the Team

Q: How can the 8D method be applied across different industries?

A : The 8D method is adaptable and may be used to solve a wide variety of complicated problems in a number of different industries, including manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, healthcare, and technology. Organizations should modify the process to match the particular requirements and context of the current challenge in order to utilize the 8D technique effectively.

Q : What are some tips for successfully implementing the 8D Problem Solving method?

A : To ensure the success of the 8D method, organizations should

  • Emphasize clear communication.
  • Foster a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement.
  • Employ effective project management tools and techniques .

Q: What is the role of root cause analysis in the 8D method?

A : The 8D method’s key element is root cause analysis, which identifies the root reasons of an issue. Organizations can create focused solutions that solve the issue at its foundation rather than just masking the symptoms by addressing the root causes.

Q: How can the 8D method help prevent the recurrence of problems?

A : By recognizing potential future issues that may result from comparable root causes and modifying processes and procedures accordingly, the 8D technique aids in preventing the recurrence of problems. This proactive strategy assists companies in making continuous improvements and reducing the possibility that similar issues will arise again.

Ronnie Patterson

Ronnie Patterson

Ronnie Patterson, founder of MagnÜron, is a multifaceted entrepreneur with a diverse background in music, electronics engineering, and engineering management. Drawing on experience across various industries, He offers expertise in SEO, operations, and strategy to help businesses thrive. Possessing a unique perspective and unwavering commitment to collaboration, and ideal partner for growth and success.

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The  8D  Problem  Solving  Process

The Global 8D Problem Solving Process

The 8D (Eight Disciplines) Problem Solving Process is a team-oriented and structured problem-solving methodology that is mainly used to identify, correct, and eliminate recurring problems.

The U.S. government first standardized the 8D Problem Solving Process during the Second World War, referring to it as Military Standard 1520. It was later improved and popularized by the Ford Motor Company in the early ‘90s.

Today, the 8D Problem Solving Process has become a standard in many industries as problem-solving, as an internal Corrective Action Request (CAR) Process, and as a Supplier Corrective Action Request (SCAR) Process.

The 8D Problem Solving Process focuses on the origin of the problem by determining root causes and establishing permanent corrective and preventive actions. It follows a systematic eight-step process with integrated basic problem-solving tools.

D1 Establish the Team : Establish a small group of people with the process and/or product knowledge, allocated time, authority, and skills in the required technical disciplines to solve the problem and implement corrective actions. Key Deliverables include:

  • Review the problem or improvement opportunity
  • Review priorities, scope, and complexity
  • Identify if a team is needed
  • Identify team members and establish the team
  • Nominate a team leader and project champion
  • Establish basic team guidelines
  • Consider team-building exercises

D2 Describe the Problem : Describe the internal or external problem by identifying “what is wrong with what” and detailing the problem in quantifiable terms. Develop a clear problem statement and problem description.

  • Develop a Problem Statement
  • Develop a Problem Description using the “IS – IS NOT Matrix”
  • Develop a flowchart of the process and identify critical process steps with respect to the Problem Description
  • Develop a Fishbone Diagram or Process Variables Map to identify possible causes?
  • Determine whether this problem describes a “something changed” or a “never been there” situation
  • Establish a high-level project plan, including milestones, project goals, and objectives

D3 Develop Interim Containment Actions : Define, verify and implement interim containment action to isolate the effects of the problem from any internal and/or external Customer until permanent corrective (preventive) actions are implemented.

  • Define potential Interim Containment Action
  • Verify the effectiveness of potential Interim Containment Action
  • Select and implement Interim Containment Action
  • Validate the effectiveness of implemented Interim Containment Action with the Customer

D4 Define and Verify Root Cause(s) and Escape Point(s) : Isolate and verify the root cause by testing each root cause theory against the problem description and test data. Isolate and verify the place in the process where the effect of the root cause could have been detected and contained but was not (escape point).

  • Establish any additional data collection plans needed to learn more about the problem and/or possible causes
  • Utilize the Fishbone Diagram or Process Variables Map created earlier to identify the most likely cause(s)
  • Isolate and verify the most likely cause(s) by testing each Root Cause Theory against the Problem Description and the collected data
  • Isolate and verify the place in the process where the effect of the root cause could have been detected and contained but was not (escape point)

D5 Choose and Verify Permanent Corrective Actions : Select the best permanent corrective actions to remove the root cause and address the escape point in the process. Verify that both decisions will be successful when implemented and not cause any undesirable effects.

  • Develop solution(s) to remove the root cause(s)
  • Develop solution(s) to address the escape point(s)
  • Select the best solution(s) to remove the root cause(s)
  • Select the best solution(s) to address the escape point(s)
  • Verify that effectiveness of the selected solutions
  • Verify that selected solutions do not cause undesirable effects

D6 Implement and Validate Permanent Corrective Actions : Plan and implement selected permanent corrective actions, and remove the interim containment action. Monitor long-term results.

  • Implement the best solution(s) to remove the root cause(s)
  • Implement the best solution(s) to address the escape point(s)
  • Validate the effectiveness of the implemented solutions from the Customer perspective
  • Monitor the effectiveness of the implemented solutions and assure that they do not cause any undesirable effects
  • Remove Interim Containment Action

D7 Prevent Recurrence : Modify the necessary systems, including policies, methods, and procedures, to prevent the recurrence of the problem and similar ones.

  • Identify opportunities to improve and standardize systems, policies, methods, and procedures for the present problem
  • Identify opportunities to improve and standardize systems, policies, methods, and procedures for similar problems

D8 Recognize Team and Individual Contribution : Complete the team experience and sincerely recognize both team and individual contributions. Celebrate success and identify lessons learned.

  • Perform a final review of the problem-solving project
  • Finalize and archive project documentation
  • Recognize the team’s success and individual contributions
  • Capture lessons learned and integrate findings into the 8D Problem Solving Process
  • Reward and celebrate

While some basic problem-solving tools, such as the 5 Whys, Process Flow Charting, Is/Is Not Analysis, Fishbone Diagram, Process Variables Mapping, Comparative Analysis, Root Cause Verification, and Process Control Plans are an integral part of the overall 8D Problem Solving Process, others tools can be added to this process based on the organization’s needs.

Operational Excellence Consulting offers a one- and two-day The 8D Problem Solving Process Workshop . To learn more about our 8D (Eight Disciplines) Problem Solving Process Solution, please Contact Us and visit our OpEx Academy for Training Materials , eLearning Modules , Online Courses , and Public Workshops .

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  • 8D (8 Disciplines)
  • Learn Lean Sigma
  • Improvement Methodology

8D short for the 8 Disciplines, is a globally recognized problem-solving methodology . It is primarily used as a quality tool where customer complaints of faulty or defective products are needing to be addressed.

However, it is not exclusively used for customer complaints; it is well suited to these situations, and many large organizations would expect a framework like 8D to have been followed and documented to demonstrate what actions were taken to solve the problem and reassure the customer that it will not reoccur.

Looking for an 8D Template? Click here

Why use 8D?

8D is a methodology used in problem-solving that sets out 8 clear steps to follow to ensure the correct actions are taken in the right order to minimize disruption to the customer as well as effectively address the root cause of the problem and sustain the solution to prevent it from happening again. 8D formalized the process to do this.

What are the Steps in 8D?

D1 – team formation.

The first step in 8D is team formation, this is an essential step if you want to solve the problem you are looking to address successfully. A Project is unlikely to be successful if you do not have the right team supporting it. The team selection should be cross-functional and include key stakeholders from different parts of the organisation that have a relationship to the issue or its process. This should also consist of internal/external suppliers in the process and internal/external customers of the process.

D2 – Define and Describe the problem

Once you have your project team assembled the next focus is ensuring the project team has a good and consistent understanding of what the problem is. To achieve this the team should collect details about the problem and completely understand the depth of the problem. The details used for this understanding should be based on data and facts and not hunches or experience.

D3 – Contain the Problem

Now that the team has a clear understanding of the problem based on data the team’s focus should be on containing the problem. This means putting into place short-term containment actions to prevent the effects from continuing in the process and especially preventing them from reaching the customer.

This could be done by taking action to isolate a bad batch of products from further progressing through the process or ultimately stopping the production altogether if the process continues to produce defects until the root cause of the problem is addressed.

It is important that this step is done as soon as possible to reduce any risk of defective products or parts going to the customer which could result in returns, complaints or loss of customers.

D4 – Root Cause Analysis

Once the problem is contained the next task is to identify the root cause or causes of the problem. It is important to treat the root cause of the problem and not just the visible symptoms to ensure the problem is effectively solved. If the symptoms are addressed it is likely the problem will reappear in the process in a different form simply moving the problem from one place to another.

For this methods and tools such as the Cause and Effect diagram (also referred to as Ishikawa Diagram , Fishbone Diagram or 6Ms) 5 Why or Why-Why, Pareto Charts or Box Plots may be used to identify the root causes using data and evidence to verify the root cause.

D5 – Corrective Actions

When the root cause has been successfully identified the next step should be for the team to identify suitable corrective actions to solve the problem. This is where a cross-functional diverse team is useful to use brainstorming, groupthink and affinity diagrams to identify, group and prioritised solution actions.

D6 – Validate Corrective Actions

Once the corrective actions have been decided, the team should then validate if the solutions are effective. This can be done by testing or simulating the solutions in the process and collecting data to identify if the solution and solve the problem. Any testing or trials should be done on a statistically significant sample size before it is confirmed the solutions are valid and have solved the problem. Steps 4 to 6 should be repeated until the problem has been completely eliminated.

D7 – Identify and Implement Preventive Actions

Once the corrective actions are validated the systems and processes should be updated to reflect the change, such as updating standard operating procedures (SOPs), policies, methods, technical drawings or work instructions. This should standardise the solution and ensure it is the new or updated way the process is conducted engineering out the old process and preventing a reoccurrence of the problem.

D8 – Team and Individual Recognition

Finally, once the problem as been solved the team should be rewarded and recognised for the contribution and support of the change. This is especially important is 8D and general problem solving is new to the organisation as it will allow those involved to see they are valued for their input and are able to support solving business problems making it more likely they will be actively involved in future problem-solving situations or be more aware of other business problems and highlight them to also be solved. This, in turn, increases the effectiveness of the business, employees and its processes.

When to use 8 Disciplines?

As mentioned above 8D is a great tool to address problems with processes that are producing rejects or defects in a process that might cause customer complaints. 8D is an ideal problem-solving methodology to use where it is fairly complex to understand the problem and the root cause and corrective actions are needed. It is also recommended that 8D is used where the PDCA process methodology would not be efficient in resolving the problem.

Finally, the 8 Disciplines (8D) is a well-known problem-solving methodology that is primarily used as a quality tool for addressing customer complaints about faulty or defective products. It is not, however, used solely for customer complaints, and many large organisations expect a framework like 8D to have been followed and documented to demonstrate the actions taken to solve the problem and prevent its recurrence.

8D is useful in problem-solving because it specifies eight specific steps to take to ensure that the correct actions are taken in the correct order to minimise disruption to the customer while effectively addressing the root cause of the problem. Team formation, defining and describing the problem, containing the problem, root cause analysis, corrective actions, validating corrective actions, identifying and implementing preventive actions, and recognising the team and individuals involved are all part of the 8D process.

Overall, 8D is an excellent problem-solving methodology to employ when it is difficult to understand the problem and its root cause and corrective actions are required. It is also suggested that 8D be used in situations where the PDCA process methodology would be ineffective in resolving the problem. Organizations that follow the 8D process can effectively solve problems, improve processes, and increase customer satisfaction, ultimately leading to increased effectiveness and success.

Subramaniam, M., Noordin, M.K. and Nor, H.M., 2021. Eight Discipline-Problem Based Learning in Industrial Training Program to Develop Future Proof Skills Among Graduate Engineers .  International Journal of Online & Biomedical Engineering ,  17 (12).

Riesenberger, C.A. and Sousa, S.D., 2010, June. The 8D methodology: an effective way to reduce recurrence of customer complaints . In  Proceedings of the world congress on engineering  (Vol. 3).

Kaplík, P., Prístavka, M., Bujna, M. and Viderňan, J., 2013. Use of 8D method to solve problems.   Advanced Materials Research ,  801 , pp.95-101.

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft is a seasoned continuous improvement manager with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma. With over 10 years of real-world application experience across diverse sectors, Daniel has a passion for optimizing processes and fostering a culture of efficiency. He's not just a practitioner but also an avid learner, constantly seeking to expand his knowledge. Outside of his professional life, Daniel has a keen Investing, statistics and knowledge-sharing, which led him to create the website learnleansigma.com, a platform dedicated to Lean Six Sigma and process improvement insights.

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How to Diagnose, Treat, and Eliminate Quality Problems Using the 8D Problem Solving Process

Your Company suddenly runs into a major quality problem. You have to address it fast and thoroughly so that the problem doesnb't recur. Solving the problem may take a lot of elapsed time and effort.

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The 8 Disciplines (8D) methodology, also known as Global 8D problem solving , is a disciplined and complete approach to problem-solving.

Initially, the 8D process was used in the manufacturing, aerospace, and engineering industries. Quickly its usage spread to all other industries because of its benefits and relevancy.

In this article, we will discuss the origin of the 8D methodology and its steps to diagnose, treat, and eliminate quality problems in a professional and controlled manner.

The Origin of the 8D Problem Solving Process

The 8D problem-solving process was developed by the Ford Motor Company. It was then published in their 1987 manual, "Team Oriented Problem Solving (TOPS). " The Company included an additional discipline, D0: Plan in the mid-90s.

Ford's aim in developing the 8D Process was to help teams handle quality and safety problems, develop custom and permanent solutions to problems, and prevent problems from recurring.

An Overview of 8D Problem Solving Process

The 8D process requires you to identify and fix the problem immediately (put a Band-Aid on it) while identifying the Root Cause(s), and take steps to address the problem in the short term as well as in the long term (permanent fix).

8 d problem solving process

The 8D Working Documentation

It is important to document your problem-solving to track the steps you take in solving the problem. It will help increase the awareness of your problem-solving strategies, promote the development of the strategy, get information regarding mistakes and missed steps, and provide an opportunity to make immediate adjustments. Here's a helpful format:

As this step precedes the steps D1 to D8, it is called D0.

This is where:

  • A customer or an internal manager points out that a problem exists and that it needs to be addressed.
  • A quality alert is generated
  • A rigorous effort is taken to isolate the problem from the customer
  • Management decides if the problem is minor or major and if an 8D problem-solving team must be formed

If an 8D problem-solving method is decided, it requires management support, time, and authorization which is so necessary for the team's success.

D1: Form a Team

Management is in charge of forming a team that has the appropriate knowledge, skills, and experience to address the problem. The four phases of team development include:

The management must allow sufficient time for the team to go through the above four stages of development. Sometimes, the management may decide to allocate a senior manager to provide additional backing and eliminate roadblocks for the team.

Assigning a team leader, a subject matter expert, who has experience in handling 8D projects for the project is crucial. The management must empower the team leader to allocate resources and time required for the team.

The team leader may enable some root cause analysis training to the team members based on the level of experience. The team leader must ensure good team management and communication between all stakeholders. It is the team leader's responsibility to make sure that the minutes of the meetings are documented and maintained, including the team performance, action plan, team member assignments, dates, and timelines.

One of the most important aspects of the 8D process is to document the learning. Each step taken and completed; every effort put forth must be documented in a clear format.

D2: Define the Problem and Explain it

It is important to define the problem clearly and precisely. The problem must be defined in measurable terms. One way of doing it is to apply the 5W2H of the problem - the who, what, where, when, why, how, and how many. Answer the following to define the problem:

Who raised the complaint?

What complaint was raised?

When did it begin?

Where is the problem taking place?

Why is the problem happening? (An estimate)

How did the problem take place? (An estimate)

How many problems? (quantifiable and degree)

D3: Take Interim Containment Action

Separating nonconforming material from the customers is critical and is done during step D0. The producer must openly and honestly communicate the problem with the recipient of the problem. Taking every effort to keep the customer away from the problem is important to ensure that the integrity of the product is preserved. This may involve auditing the product completely in the warehouse or at the customer's place. The team must ensure that the interim containment action is appropriate and adjust action plans as necessary.

Interim containment action is only temporary and not a substitute to a permanent solution. Do remember, documentation of each step of the 8D process in the 8D working sheet is important.

D4: Analyze the Root Cause

The toughest part of the 8D problem-solving process is analyzing the root cause of the problem. Two variables that need to be taken into consideration:

  • The special cause
  • The random cause

Finding the special cause of the problem is most crucial and that's the reason subject matter experts are brought together to discover the special cause. There are two types of tools used to solve the majority of the problems - the soft tools and the hard tools.

D5: Develop Permanent Corrective Action

After identifying the root cause, many corrective actions may be deliberated. By using scientific methods, the best solution to the problem must be screened. Ensuring that the chosen solution is robust, cost-effective, realistic, and practical against the variability is crucial. To this end, the corrective action must be implemented on a small scale to verify how effective the chosen action is. This will help ensure that the identified corrective action does not result in unintended consequences.

D6: Implement Permanent Corrective Actions

This is the stage where you identify a permanent solution to the problem. Following the identification of the permanent solution, is the validation of the correction on a large scale of production. It is the team's responsibility to ensure that the correction does not give rise to other problems and to document and update all the procedures. When the team implements the permanent solution, other teams may be affected and so they should be informed and trained as needed.

Creating an environment where all the users will have an opportunity to participate and welcoming them is important. Following this, the team should review all the suggestions and incorporate the valid ones in the total change process.

D7: Prevent Future Reoccurrence

The following are the team's responsibilities at this stage:

  • Monitor whether the improved process is helping meet all the team goals set at the beginning
  • Keep up and meet the requirements of the ongoing performance metrics
  • Make use of the lessons learned on similar processes
  • Ensure quality control systems are in place and validate them

D8: Congratulate the Team

After the task is successfully completed and the results of the process meet the customer requirements, the management should congratulate and thank the team. The team should also express their gratitude to all those who helped them complete the project successfully. They should document the success story and publish it for potential use. Emphasis must be given to the lessons learned and their application to similar processes. The team is dissolved at this stage.

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8 d problem solving process

Certainty Blog

Mastering 8d problem solving: a comprehensive guide for businesses.

Table of contents

  • What is 8D Problem Solving?
  • The 8 Disciples of Problem Solving
  • Implementing 8D Problem Solving Methodology

Example of Successful 8D Problem Solving

  • Common Challenges and Best Practices

Measuring the Effectiveness of 8D Problem-Solving Efforts

The Eight Disciples (8D) of Problem Solving

Problem solving is a vital skill for any business that wants to survive and thrive in today’s competitive and dynamic environment. However, not all problems are created equal. Some are simple and straightforward, while others are complex and multifaceted. How can businesses effectively tackle these challenging problems and prevent them from recurring?

One of the most powerful and proven problem-solving methodologies is 8D problem solving. 8D stands for eight disciplines, which are a series of steps that guide teams through the process of identifying, analyzing, resolving, and preventing problems. 8D problem solving can help businesses improve their quality, reduce their costs, and enhance their customer satisfaction.

What is 8D Problem Solving

8D problem solving is a structured and systematic approach to solving complex problems that require cross-functional collaboration and root cause analysis. It was developed by Ford Motor Company in the late 1980s as a way to address customer complaints and improve product quality. Since then, it has been widely adopted by many organizations across various sectors.

The core principles and objectives of 8D problem solving are:

  • Focus on the customer’s needs and expectations
  • Involve a multidisciplinary team with relevant expertise and authority
  • Use data and facts to support decision making
  • Identify and eliminate the root causes of the problem
  • Implement corrective actions that prevent reoccurrence
  • Document and communicate the problem-solving process and results

The 8D methodology differs from other problem-solving approaches in several ways. First, it emphasizes team-oriented problem-solving. Second, it follows a sequential and logical order of steps that ensures thoroughness and consistency. Third, it uses various tools and techniques to facilitate analysis and action. Fourth, it incorporates feedback loops and verification methods to ensure effectiveness and sustainability.

The Eight Disciples of Problem Solving

D1: establish the team.

The first step in the 8D approach is to form a team that will work on the problem. The team should consist of members who have knowledge, experience, or involvement in the problem area. The team should also have a leader who will coordinate the activities and communicate with stakeholders.

The purpose of establishing the team is to:

  • Define the roles and responsibilities of each team member
  • Establish the scope and boundaries of the problem
  • Set the goals and expectations for the problem-solving process
  • Allocate the resources and time required for the process

D2: Describe the Problem

The second step in this problem-solving method is to define and describe the problem in detail. The team should use data and facts to describe the problem as accurately as possible. The team should also use tools such as the 5W2H method (who, what, where, when, why, how, how much), Six Sigma, or an IS/IS NOT matrix to clarify the aspects of the problem.

Defining and describing the problem allows businesses to:

  • Establish a common understanding of the problem among the team members
  • Identify the symptoms, effects, and impacts of the problem
  • Quantify the magnitude and frequency of the problem
  • Specify the criteria for evaluating potential solutions

D3: Develop Interim Containment Actions

The third step in 8D problem solving is to develop interim containment actions that will prevent or minimize the negative consequences of the problem until a permanent solution is found. The team should identify and implement actions that will isolate, control, or eliminate the causes or sources of variation that contribute to the problem.

When you develop interim containment actions, you:

  • Protect the customer from defective products or services
  • Reduce the risk of further damage or harm
  • Maintain operational continuity and stability
  • Buy time for root cause analysis and corrective actions

D4: Determine Root Causes

The fourth step in the 8D method is to determine the root causes responsible for creating or allowing the problem to occur. The team should use data analysis tools such as Pareto charts, histograms, scatter plots, or fishbone diagrams to identify possible causes. The team should also use root cause analysis techniques such as 5 Whys, fault tree analysis, or Failure Modes and Effect Analysis (FMEA) to verify or validate the causes.

The purpose of determining root causes is to:

  • Understand why the problem happened
  • Identify all possible factors that influence or contribute to the problem
  • Eliminate superficial or symptomatic causes
  • Prevent jumping to conclusions or making assumptions

D5: Choose Permanent Corrective Actions

The fifth step in 8D problem solving is to choose permanent corrective actions that will address or remove root causes permanently. The team should generate multiple possible solutions using brainstorming techniques such as SCAMPER (substitute, combine, adapt, modify, put to another use, eliminate, reverse) or TRIZ (theory of inventive problem solving). The team should also evaluate each solution using criteria such as feasibility, effectiveness, cost, risk, or impact.

Choosing permanent corrective actions helps to:

  • Select the best solution that meets customer needs and expectations
  • Ensure that root causes are eliminated or prevented from recurring
  • Consider trade-offs between different solutions
  • Plan for implementation challenges or barriers

8 d problem solving process

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D6: implement permanent corrective actions.

The sixth step in 8D problem solving is to implement permanent corrective actions that were chosen in D5. The team should develop an action plan that specifies who will do what by when using tools such as Gantt charts or PDCA cycles (plan-do-check-act). The team should also execute the action plan according to schedule using tools such as checklists or standard operating procedures.

The purpose of implementing permanent corrective actions is to:

  • Put the chosen solution into practice
  • Monitor progress and performance during implementation
  • Resolve any issues or problems that arise during the implementation
  • Document changes or modifications made during implementation

D7: Prevent Recurrence

The seventh step in 8D problem solving is to prevent recurrence by ensuring that permanent corrective actions are effective and sustainable. The team should verify that root causes have been eliminated using tools such as control charts or statistical process control (SPC). The team should also validate that customer requirements have been met using tools such as surveys or audits.

Preventing reoccurrence helps to:

  • Confirm that permanent corrective actions have solved the problem
  • Evaluate customer satisfaction with products or services after implementation
  • Identify opportunities for further improvement or optimization
  • Standardize best practices or lessons learned from implementation

D8: Recognize Team Efforts

The eighth step in 8D problem solving is recognizing team efforts by acknowledging their contributions and achievements throughout the process. The team should celebrate their success by sharing their results with stakeholders using tools such as reports or presentations. The team should also appreciate their efforts by rewarding them with recognition or incentives.

The purpose of recognizing team efforts is to:

  • Motivate team members for future challenges
  • Build trust and rapport among team members
  • Enhance team morale and cohesion
  • Promote a culture of continuous improvement

Implementing 8D Problem-Solving Methodology

Implementing an 8D problem-solving methodology can be challenging for many businesses due to various factors such as organizational culture, resources, or complexity. However, with proper planning, preparation, and execution, it can be done successfully.

Here is some practical guidance on how businesses can effectively implement the 8D process:

Define clear roles & responsibilities for each discipline

One of the key factors for successful implementation is having clear roles & responsibilities for each discipline within the 8D process. Each discipline requires specific skills, knowledge, or authority that may not be available within a single person or department.

Therefore, it is important to assign appropriate roles & responsibilities for each discipline based on their expertise & involvement in the problem area.

Some examples of roles & responsibilities are:

8D Problem Solving Discipline Roles and Responsibilities

By defining clear roles & responsibilities for each discipline, businesses can ensure accountability, transparency, and collaboration throughout the process.

Establish a common language & framework for communication

Another key factor for successful implementation is having a common language & framework for communication among team members & stakeholders. Communication is essential for sharing information, ideas, or feedback during the process.

However, communication can also be challenging due to different backgrounds, perspectives, or expectations among team members & stakeholders. Therefore, it is important to establish a common language & framework for communication that can facilitate understanding, alignment, and agreement throughout the process. Some examples of common language & framework are:

  • Using standard terminology & definitions for the 8D process
  • Implementing visual tools & templates to document & present the 8D process
  • Using common metrics & criteria to measure & evaluate the 8D process
  • Establishing feedback mechanisms & channels to communicate & collaborate during the 8D process

By establishing a common language & framework for communication, businesses can ensure clarity, consistency, and quality throughout the process.

Provide adequate training & support for team members

A third key factor for successful implementation is providing adequate training & support for team members who are involved in the 8D process. Team members need to have sufficient knowledge, skills, or confidence to perform their roles & responsibilities effectively. However, team members may not have prior experience or exposure to the 8D process or its tools & techniques. Therefore, it is important to provide adequate training & support for team members that can enhance their competence & capability during the process. Some examples of training & support are:

  • Providing formal training sessions or workshops on the 8D process or its tools & techniques
  • Offering coaching or mentoring from experts or experienced practitioners on the 8D process or its tools & techniques
  • Contributing access to resources or references on the 8D process or its tools & techniques
  • Maintaining feedback or recognition of team members’ performance or improvement during the 8D process

By providing adequate training & support for team members, businesses can ensure effectiveness, efficiency, and engagement throughout the process.

To illustrate the versatility and applicability of 8D problem solving across different industries and contexts, here is a hypothetical example of successful 8D problem solving:

Example: Reducing Customer Complaints in a Food Manufacturing Company

A food manufacturing company was facing a high rate of customer complaints due to foreign materials found in their products. The company used 8D problem solving to address this issue and improve product quality. Here are the steps they took within each discipline:

The company formed a cross-functional team consisting of representatives from quality assurance, production, engineering, and customer service. The team leader was the quality assurance manager who had the authority and responsibility to coordinate the activities and communicate with stakeholders.

The team defined and described the problem using data and facts from customer complaints and product inspection records. The team used the 5W2H method to clarify the aspects of the problem. The problem statement was: “In the past six months, we have received 25 customer complaints due to foreign materials such as metal shavings, plastic pieces, or wood chips found in our products.”

The team developed interim containment actions that would prevent or minimize the occurrence of foreign materials in their products until a permanent solution was found. The team identified and implemented measures such as increasing the frequency and intensity of product inspection, installing additional metal detectors and filters in the production line, and segregating and quarantining any products that were suspected or confirmed to contain foreign materials.

The team determined the root causes that were responsible for creating or allowing foreign materials to enter their products. They then used data analysis tools such as Pareto charts and fishbone diagrams to identify potential causes. Root cause analysis techniques such as 5 Whys to verify or validate the causes were also implemented.

Ultimately, they found that there were three main root causes:

  • inadequate maintenance of equipment that resulted in metal shavings or plastic pieces falling off during operation;
  • improper handling of raw materials that resulted in wood chips or other contaminants being mixed in during storage or transportation;
  • lack of awareness or training of staff on how to prevent or detect foreign materials in products.

The team chose permanent corrective actions that would address or remove root causes permanently. The team generated multiple possible solutions using brainstorming techniques such as SCAMPER and TRIZ. They also evaluated each solution using criteria such as feasibility, effectiveness, cost, risk, or impact. Eventually, they selected the best solutions that met customer needs and expectations.

The solutions were:

  • implementing a preventive maintenance program for equipment that included regular inspection, cleaning, and replacement of parts;
  • establishing a quality control system for raw materials that included verification, testing, and labeling of incoming materials;
  • conducting a training program for staff on how to prevent, detect, and report foreign materials in products.

The team implemented permanent corrective actions that were chosen in D5. An action plan that specified who would do what by when using tools such as Gantt charts and PDCA cycles was then developed. They then executed the action plan according to schedule using tools such as checklists and standard operating procedures.

The team prevented recurrence by ensuring that permanent corrective actions were effective and sustainable. They first verified that root causes had been eliminated using tools such as control charts and statistical process control (SPC). Next, they validated that customer requirements had been met using tools such as surveys and audits. After implementing permanent corrective actions, the rate of customer complaints due to foreign materials dropped by 90%.

Team efforts were recognized by acknowledging their contributions and achievements throughout the process. The team celebrated their success by sharing their results with stakeholders using tools such as reports and presentations. Management also appreciated their efforts by rewarding them with recognition or incentives such as certificates, gift cards, or bonuses.

Common Challenges and Best Practices in 8D Problem Solving

Despite its benefits and advantages,

8D problem solving can also pose some challenges for businesses that want to implement it effectively. Some of these challenges are:

  • Resistance to change from staff or management who are used to existing processes or practices
  • Lack of commitment or support from senior leaders who do not see the value or urgency of problem-solving
  • Difficulty in defining or measuring problems
  • Insufficient data or information to support analysis or decision making
  • Conflicts or disagreements among team members or stakeholders due to different opinions or interests

To overcome these challenges and ensure successful 8D problem solving, businesses can adopt some best practices such as:

  • Communicating the benefits and objectives of 8D problem solving to staff and management
  • Securing the buy-in and sponsorship of senior leaders who can provide direction and resources
  • Using clear and objective criteria to define and measure problems
  • Collecting and analyzing relevant and reliable data or information
  • Resolving conflicts or disagreements through constructive dialogue and compromise

To ensure that 8D problem-solving efforts are not wasted or forgotten, businesses need to measure the effectiveness and impact of their initiatives. Measuring the effectiveness of 8D problem-solving efforts can help businesses:

  • Assess whether they have achieved their goals and expectations
  • Evaluate whether they have improved their performance and customer satisfaction
  • Identify areas for further improvement or optimization
  • Demonstrate their value and credibility to stakeholders

To measure the effectiveness of 8D problem-solving efforts, businesses can use various methods such as:

  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be used to quantify the results or outcomes of 8D problem-solving initiatives. Some examples of KPIs are customer satisfaction scores, defect rates, cycle times, or cost savings.
  • Data collection and analysis tools that can be used to gather and interpret data or information related to 8D problem-solving initiatives. Some examples of data collection and analysis tools are surveys, audits, control charts, or statistical process control (SPC).
  • Periodic reviews and feedback mechanisms can be used to monitor and evaluate the progress and performance of 8D problem-solving initiatives. Some examples of periodic reviews and feedback mechanisms are reports, presentations, meetings, or feedback forms.

By measuring the effectiveness of 8D problem-solving efforts, businesses can ensure that they are continuously improving their quality, efficiency, and customer satisfaction.

You might also be interested in:

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8D Problem-Solving Process: How To Apply The 8 Disciplines

Modified On Nov 7, 2023

Industries ranging from health care and manufacturing to retail often rely on strategic methods for addressing issues. One of the most common is the 8D problem-solving method, which involves identifying the root of the problem and developing preventative measures. Implementing this measure can help teams collaborate in a way that increases efficiency, reduces costs and improves customer satisfaction.

In this article, we explain 8D problem-solving, how to apply the eight disciplines and discuss the benefits and applications of this process.

PAGE CONTENTS

What is 8D problem-solving?

PROBLEM-SOLVING

8D problem-solving is an approach that quality engineers and manufacturers use to identify and address challenges throughout a project. 8D refers to the eight different disciplines, or steps, that the process entails. Note that since its inception, the 8D problem-solving method has added a stage for planning at the beginning of the process.

While the 8D problem-solving method first gained popularity in the automotive industry, industries ranging from health care and manufacturing to finance, government and retail implement it today. 8D works by finding the root cause of a problem and conducting a statistical analysis. Then, it implements interim solutions that can alleviate some of the negative effects of the problem while a team continues searching for and implementing permanent corrective actions.

How to use 8D problem-solving

Here’s how to use 8D problem-solving:

1. D0: Prepare and plan

Before starting the 8D process, evaluate the problem you’re trying to solve. Collect information about the different effects of the problem and the most severe issues that may result from the problem. Keep a checklist of these issues to better work to resolve them, including by deciding what resources you may need. Consider seeking feedback from others involved to ensure a well-informed and rational approach. During the 8D process, try to protect the customer from any ongoing negative effects associated with the problem until you’re able to solve it.

2. D1: Form a team

Create a team of people familiar with the various products and processes. Choose people who also have the time and skills in the necessary areas to solve the problem and implement corrective actions. Some of the different actions that comprise this step in the 8D problem-solving process include:

Naming team members and setting up the team

Appointing a team leader

Developing and sharing team guidelines

Going over team goals and priorities

Arranging team-building exercises, if needed

3. D2: Describe the problem

Identify the problem in clear, quantifiable terms by identifying the who, what, where, when, why, how and how many (5W2H) of the problem. Then, clearly describe the problem. Actions for this step include:

Developing a problem statement

Deciding if the problem is caused by a change in something already there or if it’s a new problem

Developing a project plan with goals and objectives

Creating a diagram to pinpoint possible causes

Marking a flowchart of the process, including various steps as related to the problem description

4. D3: Develop interim containment actions

Define and implement actions that can contain the problem within the business and isolate it from any customer. Containing the problem is a temporary solution while the team develops permanent corrective or preventive actions to solve the problem. After defining and implementing an interim containment action, the team also checks with the customer to see if the action has been effective.

5. D4: Define and verify root causes and escape points

Look for causes that may explain why the problem happened. Test each potential root cause against the problem description and related test data. Try to find where the first indications of a problem arose and identify why your team didn’t notice it. This point is called the escape point. Those using the 8D model can consider all potential root causes before verifying or dismissing them. Some people may use the five whys and cause-and-effect diagrams to test the various causes of the problem they’ve identified.

6. D5: Choose and verify permanent corrective actions (PCAs) for the problem

Choose the most likely solution to remove the root cause of the problem, then come up with the most likely solution to the issues with the escape point. Double-check to ensure that both these solutions have a good chance of correcting the problem for the customer without any negative outcomes or unwanted effects.

7. D6: Implement and validate permanent corrective actions

The next step is to plan, define and implement the ideal permanent corrective actions, or CAs, to remove any root causes and escape points. Once you implement these corrective actions, you can remove any interim containment actions. Observe the results over a long period and verify the success of the new solutions by seeing how they affect the customer. Consider identifying the negative effects of these newly implemented solutions.

8. D7: Prevent recurrence

Modify the management systems, operation systems, methods and procedures to ensure that this problem is less likely to happen again. Look for opportunities to improve these systems and procedures to eliminate the current problem you’ve been working to resolve. Additionally, you can look for ways to improve your methods to stop similar problems from developing later.

9. D8: Recognize team and individual contribution

The final step in the 8D process is to review the problem-solving project and the group’s work. Document everything and save all notes, lessons, research and test data. Then, openly acknowledge your appreciation for the team’s collaborative efforts while also recognizing the contributions of team members.

Why apply 8D problem-solving?

8D problem-solving offers many benefits. It can help:

Focus on collaboration and cooperation rather than relying solely on individual contribution

Allow team members to become familiar with an efficient and successful method of problem-solving

Allow the project team to learn from earlier problems or errors

Improve knowledge of problem-solving techniques and tools so that team members can more easily address other problems that they may encounter

Encourage open communication around problematic situations, which can increase teamwork overall

Keep management informed about problems that affect the business so that they can address problems more quickly and effectively

Encourage company-wide improvements

When to apply 8D problem-solving

You might use the 8D problem-solving method in situations such as:

Someone discovers that there are concerns about safety or regulations.

Customers express concerns about a product’s functionality.

Tests and usage reveal above-average failure rates.

Reports reveal high levels of waste, scraps and manufacturing defects.

Product testing reveals high numbers of failed tests or poor performance.

I hope you find this article helpful.

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COMMENTS

  1. What is 8D? Eight Disciplines Problem Solving Process

    The purpose of the 8D methodology is to identify, correct, and eliminate recurring problems, making it useful in product and process improvement. The 8D problem solving model establishes a permanent corrective action based on statistical analysis of the problem and focuses on the origin of the problem by determining its root causes.

  2. Eight disciplines problem solving

    Contents. Eight disciplines problem solving. Eight Disciplines Methodology ( 8D) is a method or model developed at Ford Motor Company used to approach and to resolve problems, typically employed by quality engineers or other professionals. Focused on product and process improvement, its purpose is to identify, correct, and eliminate recurring ...

  3. 8D

    The 8D problem solving process is a detailed, team oriented approach to solving critical problems in the production process. The goals of this method are to find the root cause of a problem, develop containment actions to protect customers and take corrective action to prevent similar problems in the future. The strength of the 8D process lies ...

  4. Guide: 8D Problem Solving

    8D Problem Solving is a systematic and structured approach used to solve business related problems. It names has been given by the fact there are 8 steps or 8 ... Forming a team at the beginning of the 8D problem-solving process helps ensure that the right individuals with the necessary expertise are involved in addressing the problem. The team ...

  5. 8D Problem Solving Process

    The Ford Motor Company® developed the 8D (8 Disciplines) Problem Solving Process, and published it in their 1987 manual, "Team Oriented Problem Solving (TOPS)." In the mid-90s, Ford added an additional discipline, D0: Plan. The process is now Ford's global standard, and is called Global 8D. Ford created the 8D Process to help teams deal with ...

  6. What is the 8D Problem Solving? And How to use the 8D Report?

    The 8D problem-solving process (also known as the 8 Disciplines) is very different from previous processes we explored previously, such as the Double Diamond process or the IBM Design Thinking. The 8D process works in a rigid standardised nature to address the crisis caused by problems. The 8D process aims to walk with the team to highlight the ...

  7. What is 8D? A template for efficient problem-solving

    The eight disciplines (8D) method is a problem-solving approach that identifies, corrects, and eliminates recurring problems. By determining the root causes of a problem, managers can use this method to establish a permanent corrective action and prevent recurring issues. First introduced by Ford, the 8D method offers a consistent way of ...

  8. The Evolution of 8D Problem-Solving: From Basics to Excellence

    The Evolutionary Milestones of 8D Problem-Solving 1. Initial Adoption and Standardization The Checklist Era. In its formative years, the 8D methodology was primarily a checklist approach to problem-solving. Organizations used it as a guide to ensure that they didn't miss critical steps in the problem-solving process.

  9. 8 Disiplines Of Problem Solving (8D)

    The 8D Problem Solving methodology is commonly known as "Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving" or simply "8D." It is a structured, team-based approach to identifying, analyzing, and resolving problems, particularly in the areas of product quality and process efficiency.

  10. An Introduction to 8D Problem Solving

    Abstract. The 8D problem solving method is a scientific, systematic approach which has similarities to the DMAIC method. The overlap in the two methods is briefly discussed in this overview of the 8D approach. 8D is usually driven by the customer; as the process is meant to resolve a specific customer complaint.

  11. 8D Process

    The 8D steps are sequential and build on each other. If you have the discipline to stay on track, you will optimize the use of the 8D process. Problem-solving tools 8D is a process and methodology. You will need to understand the purpose of each step so you can apply the proper problem-solving tools in each step. An industry example of 8D

  12. 8D Chess: How to Use The 8 Disciplines for Problem Solving

    8D (sometimes Global 8D or G8D) stands for eight disciplines, and is a problem solving methodology. It's basically a process for understanding and preventing problems. Much like how risk management seeks to take a proactive, preventative stance, 8D aims to gain insight into the root causes of why the problems happen, so they won't happen again.

  13. 8D Problem-Solving Process: How To Apply the 8 Disciplines

    Some of the different actions that comprise this step in the 8D problem-solving process include: Naming team members and setting up the team. Appointing a team leader. Developing and sharing team guidelines. Going over team goals and priorities. Arranging team-building exercises, if needed. 3.

  14. 8D Problem Solving: Comprehensive Breakdown and Practical Applications

    The 8D problem-solving process stands as a beacon of structured analysis and corrective action within the complexities of operational pitfalls and quality control discrepancies across industries. Originating from the automotive industry and since adopted widely, the methodology offers a meticulous step-by-step approach that fosters team ...

  15. Mastering the 8D Problem Solving Method: A Comprehensive Guide

    Emphasizing clear communication. Clear communication is the lifeblood of effective problem-solving. Throughout the 8D process, the team should prioritize open and honest communication, ensuring that all members have a thorough understanding of the problem, the chosen solution, and their individual responsibilities.

  16. The 8D Problem Solving Process

    The 8D Problem Solving Process focuses on the origin of the problem by determining root causes and establishing permanent corrective and preventive actions. It follows a systematic eight-step process with integrated basic problem-solving tools. D1 Establish the Team: Establish a small group of people with the process and/or product knowledge ...

  17. 8D (8 Disciplines)

    8D is a methodology used in problem-solving that sets out 8 clear steps to follow to ensure the correct actions are taken in the right order to minimize disruption to the customer as well as effectively address the root cause of the problem and sustain the solution to prevent it from happening again. 8D formalized the process to do this.

  18. How to Diagnose, Treat, and Eliminate Quality Problems Using the 8D

    An Overview of 8D Problem Solving Process. The 8D process requires you to identify and fix the problem immediately (put a Band-Aid on it) while identifying the Root Cause(s), and take steps to address the problem in the short term as well as in the long term (permanent fix). The 8D Working Documentation. It is important to document your problem ...

  19. 8D Problem Solving: A Guide for Businesses

    Document and communicate the problem-solving process and results; The 8D methodology differs from other problem-solving approaches in several ways. First, it emphasizes team-oriented problem-solving. Second, it follows a sequential and logical order of steps that ensures thoroughness and consistency. Third, it uses various tools and techniques ...

  20. 8D Problem-Solving Process: How To Apply The 8 Disciplines

    Note that since its inception, the 8D problem-solving method has added a stage for planning at the beginning of the process. While the 8D problem-solving method first gained popularity in the automotive industry, industries ranging from health care and manufacturing to finance, government and retail implement it today. 8D works by finding the ...

  21. The 8D Problem-Solving Method: What It Is And How To Use It

    This approach offers businesses a systematic and practical procedure to improve their efficiency and adopt corrective measures when necessary. The problem-solving method follows these steps: 1. D0: preparing a plan. The process starts with preparing a plan and evaluating the problem the organisation wants to solve.

  22. PDF 8-d Problem Solving Overview What Is an 8-d?

    8-d steps the following are the 8 basic steps of the 8-d process: 1. team contact initiator • reference information about the and assignee of the 8-d. 2. describe the problem • statement description of the actual concern (problem). also, the source that it came from and severity, or, how bad it is. 3.