Phrases such as this one come from real movers and shakers: Success is achieved through actions, because that is the only way to solve problems. Why make things more difficult than they already are? And doesn’t this contradict a structured approach to operational business?
The greatest danger arises when nothing is learned from mistakes. Unstructured action, however, prevents us from learning. It is always easier to react blindly instead of systematically nipping problems in the bud. A forest fire can be successfully fought by tackling each individual bush with an all-out effort by a full contingency of firefighters. But can the entire source of the fire be extinguished like this, and can the forest ever recover? Sometimes even the cause can be traced, for example, to some hard-drinking wild campers who didn’t extinguish their campfire. But what is the use of this knowledge? How can we learn from mistakes so that they do not repeat themselves?
The key to success lies in a triad of actions: identifying causes, creating appropriate measures, and verifying their effectiveness. But are solutions to problems delayed? Are there no immediate actions? Do repeated failures occur? For all these questions, the US government has developed a pragmatic tool that has been in use in the automotive industry since 1987: the 8D method. A method for all those cases where product failures or process faults occur and a main cause must be identified. It is used to deal with a problem solution in a structured way so that more transparency and communication channels are created.
We believe in the success of our customers. This is why we offer powerful tools in our software and rely on the 8D method, which has been tried and tested over many years, for the structured handling of complaints. With this method, information can be clearly prepared and expertise can be focused on the problem solution. Through a continuous improvement process such as the 8D method, learning from mistakes is systematically interwoven with operative business. With such a red thread, the root causes are found with increased probability and the best possible process is finally achieved.
Do not get lost in immediate actions or waste your time and resources extinguishing burning bushes. Choose the 8D method. Only if you learn from mistakes can you continuously improve yourself and your products and processes. Your customers will thank you for it.
Nikolaos Mitrakis, B.A.
Nikolaos Mitrakis is a Product Manager at Babtec. Since 2015 he has been jointly responsible for the conception and further development of the cloud-based platform Babtec Qube. In addition, he is completing a combined M.Sc. degree course of Business Informatics at the Technical University of Cologne.