Systematic problem-solving leveraging 8D methodology in S/4HANAPublish Date: June 30, 2021
We tend to be negative about problems in our everyday lives, be it personal or professional. But it is best to look at problems as guidelines rather than stop signs, as they pave a better path than what existed before. As someone said, ‘life without problems is a school without lessons.’ Much like the fictional astronaut Mark Watney said in the movie Martian, ‘At some point, everything is gonna go south on you, you can either accept it or get to work on solving the problem!
The question remains, how?
In the manufacturing industry, the Ford Motor Company came up with a method to approach and resolve problems, typically utilized by quality engineers and focused on process and product improvement. This is referred to as the 8D or Eight disciplines of problem-solving methodology. The 8D method helps establish a permanent corrective action driven by statistical analysis of the problem and determining the root cause. In SAP S/4HANA, the same functionality is most commonly used and is part of their ‘non-conformance management. This blog will try to understand what the 8Ds are and their benefits for your enterprise IT.
The 8D disciplines
Several industries widely use the 8D methodology and automotive, including healthcare, finance, retail, and even government. They include the following:
- D1: Preparing a team: This includes selecting and forming a team of people with the prerequisite knowledge of the process and products
- D2: Defining the problem: In this stage, you define the problem by specifying the quantifiable terms of the 5Ws and 1H, i.e., what, who, when, where, why and how for the problem
- D3: Developing the containment plan: Here, you specify and deploy containment actions so that you can isolate the problem in the interim from customers
- D4: Defining, identifying, and verifying the root causes: Here, you not only identify all the applicable causes of the problem occurring, but you also identify the reasons due to which the problem was not specified in the first place, essentially mapping the causes against the effects of the problem
- D5: Choosing and verifying the permanent corrections (PCs) for non-conformity: Using programs of preproduction, here you confirm quantitively that the steps you have taken towards corrections will ensure that the problem is resolved effectively
- D6: Deploying and validating the corrective actions: Here, you not only clearly define the best corrective actions (CA), but also validate them
- D7: Taking preventive measures: This includes everything from modifying your management systems, practices, and operation systems, all to prevent any recurrence of the problem or any issues similar to it in the future
- D8: Recognizing the good work: Here, you not only recognize the collective efforts of the team, but also formally congratulate them on behalf of the organization
8D methodology for S/4HANA
In S/4HANA, you can deploy the 8D methodology by starting with the identification of any defect by the quality engineer or technician, who in turn, create the defect leveraging the ‘process defects’ function in the SAP Fiori application, and further uploading the relevant documents, with pictures if needed. Refer to the image below:
You will see that you will have two options to solve the defect created under the tab ‘Problem- solving processes.’ These two options are – Quality tasks and 8D methodology.
When selecting the 8D methodology, you will get a format as shown below in the screenshot. The initial status of all tasks will show as ‘Not started’. Once the task is started, the status changes to ‘In process’, and once it is completed, it updates to ‘Complete’.
In this process, you can define the root cause as mentioned in D4, and specify the task to be taken for the corrective action as mentioned in D5. You can further deploy the corrective tasks and then assign them as mentioned in D6. You take preventive actions as mentioned in D7.
Finally, as you complete all the steps mentioned, the status bar shows ‘completed’, wherein you can monitor the known status of each task and steps taken to do so.
Do note that the 8D functionality can be executed only by using the Fiori app. At the same time, you must also keep in mind that the 8D functionality is available out of the box. In terms of what benefits you can get out of the 8D functionality, I have listed them out below:
- Tracking of defects from internal complaints and external complaints
- Minimized customer problems due to quick response
- Increased customer confidence in your capabilities as well as satisfaction
- Improved understanding of not the symptoms but true root cause(s)
- Ability to implement permanent answers to problems by the rooting out root causes
- The ability for businesses to improve quality control systems and plans continually and methodically
- Ability to share root causes and results for future FMEAs (Failure Mode and Effect Analysis) and prevention of problems
- Ability to reuse 8D methodologies on similar issues across fields and industries
Implement 8D for your enterprise
As a trusted SAP consultant for enterprises worldwide, YASH can be your trusted partner for similar reliability and quality support tailored to your unique needs and problems. If you would like to deploy something similar for your organization with S/4HANA, you can begin by checking out our SAP center of excellence offerings