Upstream Advisory I Performance

Problem Solving

Treat the disease, not the symptom

Change Better. We support companies to structurally improve their business…

Today many companies struggle to strike the right balance between control (“mopping”) and improvement (“turn of the tap”). Numerous employees spend most of their time fire fighting on a dialy basis. This leads to low productivity and business performance over time. Instead of hacking at the leaves rather dig deep. Focus on Root Cause Problem Solving. Based on our experience we share a structured approach to Root Cause Problem Solving.

Above the surface you see the symptoms of the problem

Dig deeper to find the Root Cause of the problem


Define the Problem Statement. A short and clear explanation of the issue. This will help you focus on the problem and why its important. The process starts when you have identified a problem and why it is a problem before you invest resources, time and money. Which of the 5# process performance objectives apply; quality, reliability & dependability, speed, flexibility and expenses.

Data Collection and Validation

Determine the measurement procedure of data collection. Validate and transform the data for data analytics purposes. This is often 50-80% of project time. Use the data to determine which problem have the largest impact and should therefore have high priority. When you are unsure use this powerful tool Failure Mode and Effect Analysis. 


Organize a workshop to (a) identify (potential) root cause(s) and (b) develop potential solutions. Document the progress during the workshop. Ask 5x why? This question solved a lot of problems but sometimes problems are more complex. Stay open minded.

Things aren't always what they seem to be. When you are unsure of the cause of a problem a Ishikawa so called "fishbone" diagram can help to find the potential cause. 


Implement solutions. Select key priorities and implement the improvement actions. Appoint owners and due dates to secure that these solutions become embedded.

Attention -> The actual Effectiveness of improvement is a formula = Quality of the improvement x Acceptance by the users

Please note, text on paper (with/without assumptions) is in theory while daily operation is reality. Successful implementation without adoption by the people is impossible. Are you interested to learn more? If yes, go to blog. Continuous Improvement


Review the process and establish a control chart to monitor performance. There is always room for improvement.      


A picture says more than 1.000 words. A video is worth 30k pictures, but an experience is worth much more. In case you are interested in the Japanese Sea an analogy of how to deal with waste, see below.

Illustration Video

A picture says more than 1.000 words. A video is worth 30k pictures, but an experience is worth much more. Let's start with a short video on 5x Why go to Jefferson Memorial Example

…with our head in the sky and feet in the mud