Making Customer Satisfaction Affordable

Satisfied customers who become loyal customers are critical to the success and future growth of your business, so developing and maintaining your reputation for excellence in product design, manufacturing quality and service delivery has never been more important than in today's competitive market. Fortunately, adopting 8-D problem solving makes customer satisfaction normal and affordable, by allowing you to eliminate the causes of customer frustration through continuous improvement.

 Have You Heard?

You may be alerted to a problem by your clients, distributors or employees, and the quicker you respond - the less damage will be caused to your reputation and long-term profitability. Although early warning of a problem is invaluable people will only tell you what they know, when you listen to what they say without blaming them for bringing you bad news. Using 8-D Problem Solving Methods gives people confidence to tell management what is really happening, secure in the knowledge that the problems will be investigated properly, and that proposed 'improvements'  and 'corrective actions' will prevent the problem recurring.

Although more difficult problems may require the use of a 'problem solving expert' or 'facilitator', the 8-D Process can be used by any team of people who have received proper training, providing they receive management support.

What is 8D Problem Solving?

8D Problem Solving is a logical process for investigating and solving problems that can be used in many different situations, including:-

  • Product design and development
  • Process design and improvement
  • Fault finding
  • Improving customer service
  • Continuous Improvement Initiatives

The beauty of 8 D problem solving is its simplicity and flexibility, allowing it be adapted to different situations. This means that it can be used by individuals investigating local problems in their own workflow, or teams investigating more difficult issues.

Using the 8-Disciplines or Problem Solving Steps prevents the common mistakes made by teams and individual managers, who may cause disruption by introducing ineffective 'solutions' before the real problem has been identified and its causes understood.

An extra step - "D-Zero" may also be introduced to identify problems that are caused by people not following existing work instructions or failing to apply known standards that would have prevented the problem. Reviewing concerns that are raised with a line manager in this way, ensures that problem solving teams are not overloaded with trivial problems caused by a lack of discipline, and promotes ownership of quality issues at a departmental level. With the addition of "D-Zero", the 8-D process may be known as Global 8-D or G8-D, and the 8 process steps or Disciplines are described below:-

G8 and G-8D - Problem Solving Steps

StepActivityExpected outcome
D-ZeroRaise Awareness

The problems is recognised by management as a concern and opportunity for improvement.

Unless the problem can be solved by re-establishing local operating procedures and standards, a problem solving team is required.

An interim containment plan  is put in place to protect customers from known defects, which may require 100% inspection or other special measures.

D1Prepare TeamA problem solving team is formed and given the authority to solve the problem, with the support of management.
D2Describe the problemProblem analysis is performed using Is / Is Not Chart to identify the characteristics of the problem, when, where and how it is found.
D3Contain the problemThe containment plan is updated to ensure that the problem can't disrupt downstream processes or have an negative impact on customers. This may require additional Detection Controls to find faulty items, or tell you when the process has gone wrong.
D4Analyse Root Causes 

The root causes of the problem are identified, and 'escape points' identified at which the causes of failure could be detected and the problem prevented

D5Corrective Action DesignCorrective actions are identified, and examined to find out how effective they will be and the risk of implementation assessed
D6ImplementationCorrective actions and process improvements are implemented, using an action plan that minimises risk and potential disruption to existing processes
D7PreventionThe problem history is reviewed to identify why it was not prevented, and to address any weaknesses in the existing quality and process management systems
D8RecognitionThe problem solving team are recognised for their efforts and the 'lessons learnt' communicated to other employees - stimulating further continuous improvement activities.

Using the 8-D process outlined above, problem solving teams become more productive and focussed- delivering real and sustainable business benefits.

Tools used in 8-D Process

The 8-D problem solving process is not exclusive, but supports the use of other appropriate tools and techniques to investigate the problem or document your findings. Well trained Problems Solving Teams  will select the most appropriate methods of analysis depending on the nature of the problem. In fact an agile mix'n match approach is usually the most productive, and is supported by the 8-D process. 

Commonly used complimentary tools include:-

  • Process analysis to identify the 'source of the problem'
  • Fault Tree Analysis to understand potential, logical causes of failure and as a diagnostic tool
  • Failure Modes Effects Analysis (FMEA) - to document known failure modes and the controls intended to prevent them
  • The use of 5 Why's? - to understand human factors in the cause and effect relationships
  • The use of process flow diagrams, control plans and work instructions - to document the desired and current state of the process
  • The use of statistical techniques  - to evaluate the evidence and avoid false conclusions

8-D Implementation and Support

When you decide to adopt 8-D problem solving, Stunell Technology can provide training and support for your problem solving teams and line managers, including:-

  • On or Off-site training for problem solving teams and team leaders
  • Facilitating problem solving as a 'special assignment'

Our training and support will give you the skills and confidence to use 8D problem solving in the real world, so why not This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call  +44 (0) 1772 452240 now, to discover how you can  improve your business?