What is the best way to use failure codes for root cause analysis?

The best way to use failure codes is a systematic one: start with analyzing the reasons for failures, code this information in a consistent way to make it accessible, and create work orders based on this information to minimize breakdowns.

Performing root cause analysis contributes to effective preventive and predictive maintenance systems, which can save anywhere between 10 percent and 30 percent of operational costs, according to multiple industry studies.

Here are the steps in further detail:

Analyze Reasons for Failures

A wide range of tools and systems are available in the facility management industry to help you identify root causes including:

  1. ABC Analysis: In this system, you use a scale between one and 10 to assign ratings associated with different factors in failures such as how often they occur, how difficult they are to detect, and what impact they make within your facility. This system assigns you a risk priority number, which can then be used to schedule and plan maintenance tasks.
  2. Five Whys Analysis: This system continues asking the question “why” five times to get to the root cause.
  3. Fault Tree Analysis: FTA utilizes boolean logic to help you get to failures within complex machines where the failure is not easily seen.

Code Slowly and Consistently

Introduce your codes slowly and consistently to maximize the effectiveness of your system. Start with your more critical assets and most common failure codes. Make them easy to use and remember, and train your technicians to use them consistently. Once they are well-implemented, add more codes slowly. If you make the coding system too complicated, you’ll have less consistency and compliance, decreasing its overall usefulness.

Use Information to Plan Maintenance

Once you have this information entered into your CMMS, you’ll be able to crank out work orders in priority order that address your most likely components at risk for failure. By focusing your maintenance technician’s time on these work orders, you’ll be able to reduce emergency situations and increase uptime within your entire facility.