Of the numerous quality techniques and problem resolution methods available, the 8Ds method (also called 8 Dos or 8 Disciplines) seems the most comprehensive. It requires a thorough procedure to be followed to eradicate the causes of non-quality. It has twin objectives, namely swift response to a problem and the long-term removal of root causes.
Originally, this continuous improvement process emerged from a military technique used by the Americans during the Second World War. However, it was the Ford Motor Company that brought it back into favour in around 1987.
The 8D method is a quality procedure the aim of which is to eradicate problems within an organisation. It is based on the experience of those affected by the problem, and is effective because it is collaborative. It can also be used to deal with inter-process and inter-departmental problems, and indeed issues with customer or supplier relationships.
The objective of the 8D method is to offer a systematic approach to problem resolution through cross-functional, multi-disciplinary teamwork. In so doing, it boosts continuous improvement and delivers lasting solutions to irregular problems.
The 8D method consequently provides a standard framework through a formal process for handling unexpected problems which ensures systematic investigation to determine root causes and elimination of those problems such that they never occur again. The resulting solutions are continuously improved and used as templates to capitalise on the lessons learned.
As its name clearly indicates, the 8D method is based on 8 steps, to be followed to the letter, one after the other, without skipping any.
The 8D method often culminates in an 8D Report, a single document summarising the 8 steps taken. Many examples can be found online.
In summary, it should be kept in mind that the 8D method is thorough and applies perfectly well to complex problems. It is first and foremost a collaborative procedure, in which no step can be omitted. Nor should participants take the easy route of opting for “obvious” causes.
Lastly, measurement of the effectiveness of outcomes is vital to ensure their long-term success and that a problem has been permanently eradicated.
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