Almost every day, managers and their teams face critical product delivery issues and a variety of other problems called “fires”. Like any other fire, there is a great sense of relief when the fire is extinguished. Fire extinguished. Today’s problem solved. Move on.
By moving on without carefully analyzing EACH fire, your company may be missing a valuable opportunity to protect or improve profitability. Because even one fire, when unusually large, can damage profitability, and because multiple small fires can have the combined impact to profitability of a large fire, all fires should be subjected to root-cause analysis, and documented on an active corporate database made functional enough to easily search for possible underlying, regularly-occurring, generic problems.
“Fires” may be a symptom of a disease. Regular, proactive root-cause analysis may be the therapy.
Every fire ought to be examined for uniqueness and consequence. Is it unique and inconsequential or one related to an underlying cause that might have more serious consequences to profits? Discover and know the difference. Yesterday’s small fire can become today’s disaster if a common root cause is unwittingly ignored. Think of this as subjecting each fire to examination by a forensics team. The small fires can be analyzed and dispatched rather quickly. The larger ones, or similar small fires, may require resourcing in order to resolve root-cause problems.
To discover preventable corporate “fires” that can damage profitability, document all “fires” to a database to perform forensic and root-cause analysis in search of generic problems.