This brings up another problem I see ... some people treat RCA as if it were process improvement. It's not. RCA gets the process (or product or equipment ...) back to where it was before it broke. With process improvement you can simply look at the process, identify opportunities, and implement solutions. With RCA you have to do a much deeper dive in the analysis phase to find out what specific thing(s) actually caused the shift in performance. I liken PI to looking a the process with a magnifying glass, while RCA is looking at it with a microscope. Think of RCA as troubleshooting (which is where I got my first experience, troubleshooting test equipment that had electrical, electronic, hydraulic, pneumatic and mechanical components).
Now to respond more directly to the CI fit RCA is more about helping keep the process stable. And hopefully most quality professionals know that trying to improve an unstable process is going to be a nightmare, I use a hierarchy of Standardize the process, then use RCA to stabilize it (remove the factors that cause it to deviate from normal), then improve the process. Innovation is then the highest level, where we replace the process with a totally new design.
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