Search the Elsmar Cove!
**Search ALL of Elsmar.com** with DuckDuckGo including content not in the forum - Search results with No ads.

Neglect or legitimate deferral? Is excessive workload or lack of resources in a department or a team a valid root cause for a non-conformance?

cferrer

Starting to get Involved
#1
Hello Everyone,

Can you share your experiences in dealing with the old problem of issues falling through the cracks or people cutting corners in the heat of the operational day-to-day business stress? Are these root causes acceptable "excuses" for a root cause analysis? Assuming, of course, that they do go undetected until the problem because an NC.

-Lack of resources
-Excessive workload
-Strategic (i.e. risk-based) postponement of problem
-Re-priorization (i.e. priority downgrade)
-Issue in backlog, (aka put in the back burner)

.... you get the point.

Thanks in advance for your input.
 

Ninja

Looking for Reality
Trusted
#2
Howdy,

Seen all of those...not as an auditor, but as the person either not getting to something or as the determiner of root cause.
I suggest that each of those that you list are different in some way...and it's a little important to determine which one of them it is...

-Lack of resources (valid root cause, but makes you look at mgmt to correct it. The correction may be a strategic decision to postpone)
-Excessive workload (sorta the same as Lack of resources, just looking at it the other way around)
-Strategic (i.e. risk-based) postponement of problem (This is intentional...and should result in adjusting the "due date"...so it isn't late yet)
-Re-priorization (i.e. priority downgrade) (This also adjusts the "due date" and is intentional...but perhaps from a different person)
-Issue in backlog, (aka put in the back burner) (This is vague...likely one of the above, no?)

I've got 50hrs to do 80hrs of work can totally be the root cause. But what's the root cause of that?
There have been many times a CA was lit up because I didn't get to something...and the "Action" was to adjust the due date...or re-prioritize other stuff to make time...whatever is appropriate.
IMO, this is the system working as it should, catching and throwing back on the table stuff that's been on the back burner for a while.
 

yodon

Staff member
Super Moderator
#3
Is it a chronic issue or an anomaly (i.e., unexpected spike)? Is management aware of the situation and taking actions (other than spouting platitudes like 'work smarter!')?
 
#5
I think it depends on the problem. To the insider following mindless procedures it could be lack of resources, time, etc. But if you re-look at the process, maybe you're doing stuff you don't really need to do. For example, back in the day we kept copies of all sorts of documents -- there was the white copy which wend to the customer, the pink copy which went to the order file, the yellow copy which was filed there, etc. After looking at it, we where able to get rid of all the extraneous copies and filing. Thus, we got our resources back.
 

Watchcat

Involved In Discussions
#6
This is pretty much a law of nature:

Resources x Process x Time = Output Quality

What this means is that fundamentally there is no one root cause of a problem with output quality. You can change the quality of the output by adjusting resources, the process, or the time spent on the process:

The quickest and easiest way to impact the quality of the output is usually to change the time spent to produce the output. If you make it shorter without any change to resources or process, quality will be negatively affected; it you extend it, it will improve.

You can also adjust the resources, quantitatively or qualitatively. (Basic example is one junior welder isn't getting the job done. You can add another junior welder, or you can replace the one you have with a senior welder.)

Process improvement is usually the best way to go, but it is usually more challenging and time-consuming, and may affect the cost of the output.

This a very high-level response, not a solution, but perhaps it will get you thinking about different ways to look at whatever the problem is and identify "a" root cause that you can work with.
 

Tagin

Involved In Discussions
#7
Are these root causes acceptable "excuses" for a root cause analysis? Assuming, of course, that they do go undetected until the problem because an NC.

-Lack of resources
-Excessive workload
-Strategic (i.e. risk-based) postponement of problem
-Re-priorization (i.e. priority downgrade)
-Issue in backlog, (aka put in the back burner)
-Lack of resources
-Excessive workload

I don't think these are root causes - these are symptoms. It's too easy to ask "why was there a lack of resources?" or "why was there excessive workload?" and get to a more causative, deeper answer.

-Strategic (i.e. risk-based) postponement of problem
-Re-priorization (i.e. priority downgrade)
-Issue in backlog, (aka put in the back burner)

It's not clear how these could be sources of n/c, when they all refer to putting things off, delaying, deferring, etc., which should result in reduced workload. Unless the n/c you are referring to is related to e.g., not meeting customer requirements like on-time delivery. Even in that case, the root cause is not the delay per se but involves the lack of concomitant renegotiation of customer expectations associated with that delay.
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#8
Ask why again and you’ll get closer to the root causes.

Lack of resources to fulfill requirements may be caused by a failure to plan unless, of course, the plan existed but was not supported by management.

But then we ask why the lack of commitment? Perhaps the plan was not persuasive or lacked credibility.

If the requirement originates from a customer or from a law or regulation then top management is ultimately accountable.

And we all know the consequences of managers being seen by the employees as not taking the requirements seriously.
 

Ronen E

Problem Solver
Staff member
Super Moderator
#9
If the requirement originates from a customer or from a law or regulation then top management is ultimately accountable.

And we all know the consequences of managers being seen by the employees as not taking the requirements seriously.
It's possible to generalise and say that the ultimate root cause for all quality problems is lack of top management commitment. If we ask "why" enough times we'll get there. The only thing that changes is the route from the problem to the ultimate cause.
 
Top Bottom