Saturday, March 2

What Is 5-WHY & Root Cause Analysis?

What is 5-Why Analysis Analysis & Root Cause Analysis

Well, it started with Toyota Production System which is a phenomenal part of the lean production system.

5-Why Analysis is where you ask the question ‘WHY’, 5 times. Isn’t it straightforward? Well that is not it. 5-Why Analysis can help you find the ‘Root Cause’ of a problem or even of a success story. It’s the identification of the initiation of something.

This analysis can be used in any situation, either you’re working in HR, Marketing, Engineering or even farming. Every problem has a solution, and this analysis will help you find it simply.

5-Why Analysis in play: [Finding the reason for not achieving sales target]

PROBLEM – Finding the reason for not achieving sales target


Sales Targets given were above average


Last years targets were with a fully operational market. This is it wasn’t


This year with the pandemic, the market was closed & sales targets weren’t revised based on the market situation


A proper market analysis wasn’t done with contingency planning – What-If Analysis


Incompetence of the management to have a risk analysis for sales targets

By asking yourself the question of WHY five times, you can easily find the ROOT CAUSE of the problem. Well, this can also be done to find why a specific campaign or strategy was successful too.

Most often, HR uses this technique to identify the best performers behind a successful campaign.

Benefits of doing a 5-WHY Analysis

  • Easiest/no cost way to find the ROOT CAUSE of a problem/solution
  • Highly effective and easy to do – no complication
  • Can compare different ROOT CAUSES together after the analysis and follow a change to avoid such situations in the future
  • Most easiest method to find how one small event can trigger a large event

Therefore, this 5-WHY analysis to find the ROOT CAUSE can be used in a very complicated situation & to even solve complex problems.

Also it is important to note that, an action should be taken at the end of identifying the ROOT CAUSE & also should be practiced continuously to avoid any future problems.

“The basis of Toyota’s scientific approach is to ask why five times whenever we find a problem … By repeating why five times, the nature of the problem as well as its solution becomes clear.“ Taiichi Ohno – To know more click here



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