Day: December 6, 2011

A Personal Experience with the Four Step Problem Solving Process

By Allie Olano, Student Process Improvement coordinator

When I entered my first Kaizen event I was very overwhelmed.  I was a Student Manager at the time and our Kaizen was focusing on the efficiency and flow of student workers during our busy times in the Residential Dining Halls.  The facilitator walked us through the four step problem solving process, which was something I had never heard before. 

We started going through all the steps and I was able to participate and give my perspective on things.  We were able to brainstorm and formulate countermeasures that would later be implemented to help solve our problem.

After the Kaizen was over, it really got me thinking about my job and how I could apply this process to day-to-day tasks that often have problems.  I took the task of our substitution-card process and through the problem solving process was able to come to the conclusion that the root cause was actually overscheduling due to the process I was using.  My student workers were signing up for more hours than what they wanted, and I was scheduling them based on those hours not knowing it was too much.  In turn this lead to more sub cards being posted and the sub cards not being filled.  To solve the problem I rescheduled my workers to where it was more manageable with their class schedule and I also hired a couple more students that just filled sub cards.

I found that going through the process is very beneficial because you are able to reveal the true cause of your problem and you are able to find a solution to solve the problem.  I encourage you to contact a facilitator if you a have problem and would like to work through it using the problem solving process.