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The Problem Solving Methodology
Identification & Categorization of Problems
Selection of the Problems
Define the Problem
Analysis of the Problem
Identification of the causes
Finding out the root causes
Data Analysis
Developing Solution
Foreseeing probable Resistance
Trial Implementation / checking the results
Regular Implementation
Follow – up- Review
1. Identification problems
If brainstorming is done in the proper way,
minimum 50 problems can be easily
So the marks to be given are as follows:
50 and more problems
40 to 49 problems
30 to 39 problems
20 to 29 problems
Below 20
: 5 marks
: 4 marks
: 3 marks
: 2 marks
: 1 mark
Categorization of Problems
Quality Circle members are advised to
categories the problems generated as:
‘A’ : Minimum involvement of other
departments needed in solving them.
‘B’ : Involvement of other department is a
‘C’ : Management sanction may be
needed in implementing the solution.
Basis of Categorization
They can also use a different method to
categories them such as pollution related,
safety related, waste related, productivity
related etc.
Therefore, As long as there is a systematic
approach for categorization, it is taken it is
acceptable for evaluation.
2. Selection of Problems
Selection of problem can be done.,
• Based on data
• Using weightage basis
• Using group consensus method or any
other acceptable system.
Best way of selecting a problem is based
on data. Brain Storming, Data Collection,
Pareto Analysis and Flow Diagram and
Graphs are used.
Where data is not available weightage
basis or group consensus method may be
3. Define the Problem
• Quality Circle activity is a group activity and one
should get synergistic effect through that. They
call for effective contribution from all participants.
Participants can contribute only when there is
clarity about the problem.
• Such clarity can be achieved with the help of Flow
Diagram and also carrying out Brainstorming.
• This is the stage in which Quality Circle will have
to work out the action plan, setting up a target of
achievement and also time needed to carry out the
entire task.
• A Gantt Chart or Milestone Chart need to be made
in this stage. Flow diagrams may be also used for
4. Analysis of the Problem
For this step Quality Circle should
collect further data,
study the flow diagram,
stratify the data available,
check up the graphs or make graphs with the
data available.
Brainstorming also need to be done.
5. Identification of Causes
• Quality Circles should at the initial stage make C
& E diagram using dispersion Analysis Method.
Here logical approach and questioning ‘why’ is
done for finding the sub cause, sub-sub cause,
sub-sub-sub cause by the circles.
• Once they become knowledgeable after a year or
two Quality Circles should use C & E Diagram or
Enumeration Method. This will help to have
creative thinking. Ultimately, C & E Diagram
Process Oriented type is to be used.
6. Identification of the Root Causes
• This is the stage of selecting the root causes and
establishing them beyond doubts.
• Brainstorming is need to be done in this stage. A
Flow Diagram will be very useful.
• All analysis are based on data collected.
Stratification, Graphs will be of great use.
• ‘AA’ category circles of five years and above are
expected to use Scatter Diagram to establish
correlation and Histogram to find out the
frequency distribution.
7. Data Analysis
• This is the step for confirming of one’s
finding before proceeding for finding out
the solution.
• Pareto Diagram, Stratification, Graphs,
Scatter Diagram, Histogram and Control
Charts are very useful here. Use of them
depends upon the type of Quality Circle.
8. Developing the Solution
• Brain Storming can be used but data
collection is a must. Flow Diagram,
Graphs, Scatter Diagram and Control also
will be helpful in this activities.
9. Foreseeing Probable Resistance
• Changes are not easily acceptable to the
people. Brain Storming to find out ways to
over come the resistance is needed here.
Flow diagram will be very useful here.
10. Trial Implementation
• It is not advisable to go for regular
complementation straight away. Trial
implementation is to be done.
• Then collect data on the trial implementation
to find out the effectiveness. They can be
made as Graphs, Stratification may be needed
of the data collected.
• Scatter Diagram, Histogram and Control
Charts are of additional use.
11. Regular Implementation
• Once this is done QC should ensure that
changes are made in the standard
practice or working system.
• Data Collection is a must to know the real
benefit, Graphs are needed. Control
Charts are useful for regular follow up.
12. Follow up / Review
• This is the report based on follow up over a
period. Review need to be done to see whether
any further improvement is possible and also to
ensure necessary measures are taken to hold the
gain achieved.
• Flow Diagram, Data Collection, Graphs are
needed here. Control Chart is recommended.
• Is it necessary that all the steps have to be
compulsorily used by the QC? Not
necessarily. This is a systematic way of
problem solving. For some problems there
may not be any need to use a particular step.
• QC should mention in those places reason
for not using those steps. If the evaluator is
satisfied, the Circle can be given the
appropriate marks for that step.