LEAN 8D (Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving)

8D (or Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving) is a methodology for solving problems that aims to identify the root cause of the problem and provide a solution. 8D is a great first step in improving quality and reliability.

Ford Motor Company created this problem-solving method, which was then called Team Oriented Problem Solving. (TOPS) in the 1980s. Ford adopted 8D in the 1980s as it’s primary method for documenting problem solving efforts.

8D is a popular choice among manufacturers due to its effectiveness and ease of learning. Here are the benefits of 8D, how to use it, and when it is appropriate.

Eight Disciplines for Problem Solving

The LEAN 8D Problem Solving Process is a team-oriented, detailed approach to solving production problems. This method aims to identify the root cause of the problem, create containment measures to protect customers, and take corrective actions to prevent future problems.

Structure, discipline, and methodology are the keys to the success of 8D. It employs a combination of best practices from different approaches. It’s a problem-solving method that improves the entire process to avoid other problems that could arise from systemic failures.

LEAN 8D is a popular method for solving problems in Manufacturing, Assembly and Services all over the world. Continue reading to find out why the Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving might be a good fit in your company.

The LEAN 8D Problem Solving Format

Why the 8D (Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving)? Because it provides an easy-to-learn, consistent and thorough approach for solving any problems that may arise in various stages of your production process. If you apply the 8D methodology correctly, you will reap the following benefits:

  • An understanding of Root Cause Analysis
  • The organization may incorporate problem-solving efforts into its processes and methods.
  • Skills for corrective action implementation
  • Improved ability to recognize systemic changes that are needed, and the subsequent inputs required for change
  • Increased effectiveness through more open and honest communication during problem-solving discussions
  • Better team-oriented problem-solving skills than individual reliance
  • Management’s ability to better understand and solve problems.
  • To prevent future problems, it is important to create and expand a database of past failures.
  • Accuracy with the structure of problem-solving
  • Increased efficiency and effectiveness in problem-solving
  • A better understanding of basic statistical tools is required to solve problems.

LEAN 8D was designed to be the best practice in problem-solving. This methodology can improve the quality and reliability of your products, as well as prepare your engineering team for future challenges.

When to use the Eight Disciplines for Problem Solving

The 8D problem-solving process is usually required when:

  • Resolving customer complaints
  • Safety and regulatory issues have been identified
  • Unacceptable levels of internal rejections, waste, or scrap are common
  • Warranty Concerns have indicated greater-than-expected failure rates

What is the application?

To continuously move toward a solution, the 8D process uses both inductive and deductive problem-solving methods. Quality-One uses a core group of three people for inductive activities using data-driven tools, and then a larger Subject Matter Experts (SME) group to deduce activities through brainstorming data-gathering, and experiments.

Plan and Prepare for the 8D

Planning will always lead to a better start. It is always a good idea for experts to give their opinions before the 8D analysis starts. Before forming a team, it is important to receive feedback and gather information about the symptoms.

Discipline 1: Form a Team

Teams require proper preparation. It is crucial to establish the ground rules. For steady progress, it is important to implement procedures like forms and checklists. Two key members of 8D are a Leader or Champion/Sponsor.

  • The Champion, or Sponsor, is the only person who can effect change by agreeing to the findings and can give final approval for such changes
  • The leader is someone who understands the 8D process and can guide the team (although they may not be the most knowledgeable about the problem being investigated).

Cross-Functionals Functional Teams (CFTs) are made up of members from different disciplines. Quality-One goes one step further with two levels of CFT.

  • SME Team is made up of people who think, study, and watch (Deductive or Divergent Methods).
    • Other Subject Matter Experts may be brought in at different times to help with data collection, analysis, brainstorming, and data collection
  • A Core Team uses data-driven approaches
    • Three people should be part of the Core Team Structure for each subject: data, process, and product.

Discipline 2: Describe your problem

The LEAN 8D method is designed to accurately describe the problem using the existing data. It also places it in specific categories that can be used for future comparisons. The “Is” data supports facts, while the “Is Not” data doesn’t. Many potential causes for failure can be eliminated by collecting the “Is Not” data. 

Discipline 3: Interim Containment Action

An interim corrective action can be taken to protect customers before permanent corrective actions are determined. The Interim Correct Action, which is temporary, is usually removed once the Permanent Correct Action is taken.

Discipline 4: Root Cause Analysis and Escape Point

To take effective action to eradicate it, the root cause must first be identified. It must be possible to turn it on and off at will. D4 includes the following activities:

  • Based on the remaining items, the development of Root Cause Theories
  • Comparative Analysis comparing the differences and changes between “Is” and “Is Not”.
  • Determine the point where the root cause of the problem could be found, but it was not.
  • Refer to Process Flow Diagram to locate the root cause
  • Data collection is used to verify the root cause

Discipline 5: Permanent Corrective Actions

Permanent Corrective Actions focus on the root cause of the problem and change or remove the conditions that caused it. Discipline five includes the following activities:

Discipline 6: Validate and Implement the Permanent Corrective Action

Proper planning is crucial to ensure that permanent changes are implemented successfully. Communication, steps to be completed, success measurement, and lessons learned should all be part of a project plan. 

Discipline 7: Prevent Recurrence

Discipline seven allows you to share and preserve knowledge. This helps prevent problems with similar products, processes, or locations. This step is for the improvement of future use. Activities include:

  • Practice and capture standard work
  • System Prevention: Develop/Update Procedures and Work Instructions
  • For problem prevention, review similar products and processes
  • Updated Assure Control Plans
  • Verify that FMEA updates are complete

Discipline 8: Closure & Team Celebration

For satisfactory closure, teams need feedback. The LEAN 8D process is valuable because it recognizes both individual and team efforts and allows the team to see the new and previous states. D8 activities include:

  • Learnings from the past to improve problem-solving
  • Comparative Analysis of the issue before and after
  • Archive 8D documents for future reference
  • Celebrate a Successful Completion

LEAN 8D and Root Cause Analysis

Root Cause Analysis (RCA), which is embedded within the 8D process, is a part of it. All problem-solving techniques have RCA built into them. These are the steps and techniques that correspond to Root Cause Analysis in 8D:

  1. Problem Symptom is quantified, and then converted into “Object and Defect.”
  2. Problem Symptom can be transformed into Problem Statement by Repeated Whys
  3. Deductive tools are used to collect possible and potential causes (i.e. Use the Affinity Diagram or Fishbone to find out more)
  4. Problem Description is created by converting Problem Statement into Problem Description with Is/Is Not
  5. Problem description reduces the number of items on the deductive instrument (from step 3)
  6. Comparative Analysis of the Is and Not Items (note changes and times)
  7. The Root Cause theories are derived from the remaining causes of the deductive tool, and combined with changes from Is/Is Not
  8. Compare current data with theories and create experiments for Root Cause Verification
  9. Verify the Root Causes

In conclusion

8D (Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving) offers a more detailed methodology than its counterparts, the DMAIC model or the PDCA cycle. LEAN 8D, unlike other effective problem-solving methods, allows you to identify the root cause of the problem and develop long-term solutions that won’t impact customers. You could start with 8D by completing a PDCA or DMAIC cycle. Then, build on these concepts and integrate 8D steps into your own work.