Challenge: Recurring problem

A nuclear plant in the upper Midwest was asked by the nuclear regulatory commission why a problem they said they fixed had returned. Their report showed a problem solving process was used, so why did the problem need a second repair? What was missing from their process that allowed them to miss the root problem? After talking with several members of the maintenance crew, the problem solving process they used only fixed the problem at hand, and did not include follow-up questions to dig deeper into the underlying root cause.


Solution: problem solving classes

We went to the nuclear plant and talked to the plant maintenance manager to gain an understanding of the process they used, and what the report said. Once we understood the actions maintenance personnel usually performed, we proceeded to facilitate two problem solving classes aimed at asking follow up questions:

  • 5-why analysis
  • Think beyond the original fix that we teach in our training.

We also worked with staff members to make sure follow up questions were asked on the maintenance reports so root cause could be identified.


Results: Back in operation

With a clear understanding of the full problem solving process, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission passed the process that was now being used due to the follow up questions that were asked at the conclusion of each maintenance report.