Training and Development Solutions designed and delivered a 6-week training program focused on critical thinking and problem solving to supervisors of a major Bay Area manufacturer. Entitled Getting to the ROOT of the Problem, the series of workshops was
designed to provide an organized and well-defined approach to identifying root causes of breakdowns in the manufacturing process and developing optimal solutions.
Using structured role-plays, demonstrations and small group breakout sessions, our instructors worked closely with supervisors to guide them through:
- Identifying root causes of a problem
- Determining the relationship between different root causes
- Applying basic tools to analyze problems
- Developing solutions and applying problem solving methods
- Communicating effectively within and outside of their teams
This interactive training series encouraged participants to focus on systems and processes rather than individuals to determine the real root causes of problems, and to consider potential obstacles to assessing root cause, such as not asking enough questions
and rushing to solutions. The program introduced a variety of helpful problem-solving tools, including flow charts, process mapping, and brainstorming techniques, as well as a 7 Step Problem Solving Process:
- Initial problem perception
- Clarification of the problem
- Location of the origin and/or point of cause
- Root cause investigation
- Countermeasure discussion
Since effective communication within and outside of teams is critical to the successful implementation of root cause analysis and process improvement, the training series highlighted several effective approaches and techniques to reduce communication barriers, understand common styles, state a common purpose, phrase a problem statement, use active listening and provide positive and constructive feedback.
Supervisors applied the root cause analysis training to problems in the manufacturing process, and prepared presentations to management at the end of the training series.
Feedback from supervisors and managers indicated that the workshop series resulted in significant improvement in manufacturing processes as well as supervisors’ ability to approach subsequent process improvement challenges.