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It is useful to have a structure to follow to make sure that nothing is overlooked.
One way we can keep ourselves from falling into this trap is by having a formal (SPS) process in place.
Let’s fix it and make this problem go away.” However, if we rush to fix the problem too quickly, we may end up implementing a “solution” or “quick fix” that doesn’t solve anything because we didn’t take the time to truly identify and understand the root cause of the problem itself.
Then, when problems do occur, we know exactly what steps to take to help ensure that our solution really will “make it go away.” While there are different variations to an SPS (, etc.), they all follow the same basic steps. Define the Problem It is important to write a problem statement that is easily understood and is stated purely in terms of measurable or observable symptoms.
At this point, there should be no mention of suspected causes or possible solutions. A good problem statement might look something like this: “High (greater than 8 ppb) trace metals in one of our hardmask products are causing unacceptably high defect counts with our most important customer.
We must keep working until we have eliminated everything but the root cause. Verify Root Cause When we think that we have identified the true root cause, we need verify that it is the root cause by testing out our theory.
For our hardmask example, let’s say that we believe that the root cause is due to a bad batch of one of the raw materials.
Did they all use the same lots of the raw materials?
By identifying where the problem is occurring, and where it is not occurring, we begin to zero in on what is causing our problem. Identify Possible Causes To identify possible causes, we should gather the team and brainstorm all potential causes that come to mind.