Posted by: JC Gatlin | February 5, 2010

How to Find the Point of Cause

The Point of Cause is generally the answer to the first big WHY? that’s creating the problem. It can also be the physical time and location where the  anomaly is occurring, or a step in the process that is causing the waste or problem. Finding the Point of Cause is often tough — as it’s sometimes confused with the actual problem itself. If you think of the problem is “the pain,” then the Point of Cause is the obvious cause of that pain.

Step 1.

Analyze the data to determine a physical time & location or a step in a process that is causing the problem. It may help to create value stream or process map to clearly identify this point. Then mark exactly where in the process the break-down occurred.

Step 2.

If you’re having trouble determining the Point of Cause, use the “Because Equation” to guide the PDCA. Generally, on your Problem Statement, you can add the word “because” at the end of the sentence and what follows next is a point of cause. This is answering the first big “Why” — as in “Why is this problem occurring?”

PROBLEM STATEMENT: “In January 2010, the Warranty Service Request to repair front entry hall tile at 1354 Arlene Cir took 6 days to repair; the standard is 3 days.”

WORK OUT POSSIBLE POINT OF CAUSE: “Warranty Service Request to repair front entry hall tile at 1354 Arlene Cir took 6 days to repair because there was a delay with the Building Partner receiving the Work Order.

POSSIBLE POINT OF CAUSE: “Step 3 in the Warranty Process – Building Partner receives Work Order

Step 3. 

If you have multiple Points of Cause, use the 80/20 rule to determine which one to work-out in the PDCA. Tackle the cause that contributes to the largest percentage of the problem. Let your data show or confirm this. Don’t allow personal opinion or conjecture lead the direction of the PDCA.

Step 4.

The PDCA must show very clearly how it got from the problem to the Point of Cause. Therefore in the data collection field on your PDCA B6, the last chart should present the Point(s) of Cause to be investigated in the PDCA. The charts or graphs preceding the Point of Cause present the step by step logic as to how you got there.

Step 5.

Once the Point of Cause is determined, the PDCA must ask the 5 Whys and drill down to root causes. Write the Point of Cause in the head of the fishbone for the 5-Why Analysis. If the PDCA is addressing more than one Point of Cause, there will be more than one fish bone. For each Point of Cause, there must be one fish bone analysis.

© January 2010 Homebuilding Partners, Inc.   twitter-logo



  1. […] How to Find the Point of Cause dal blog Lean Homebuilding di J. C. Gatlin: L’articolo che continua la spiegazione di come si effettua un problem solving “coi fiocchi”! Questa volta la spiegazione è di come andare a trovare praticamente il vero punto di causa (traduzione automatica) […]

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