6 Step Problem Solving

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We will lose this business if we cannot correct the problem by the end of the year.” 2.

Describe the Current Situation We do this by examining data that is readily available.

Then, when problems do occur, we know exactly what steps to take to help ensure that our solution really will “make it go away.” While there are different variations to an SPS (, etc.), they all follow the same basic steps. Define the Problem It is important to write a problem statement that is easily understood and is stated purely in terms of measurable or observable symptoms.

At this point, there should be no mention of suspected causes or possible solutions. A good problem statement might look something like this: “High (greater than 8 ppb) trace metals in one of our hardmask products are causing unacceptably high defect counts with our most important customer.

Sometimes a problem and its solution are clear, but you don't know how to get from point A to point B.

At other times, you may find it hard to define what's wrong or how to fix it.

We can test our theory by making a new batch with everything the same except for a new batch of the suspect ingredient.

If the defect levels are back to normal, that’s a good indication that we have confirmed our root cause. Implement Solution After we’ve identified the root cause, we implement a solution to remedy the issue, standardizing our solution and making the change permanent.

In the case of our hardmask example, we would run test batches to make sure that we have the correct solution in place.

Measurements should also be taken on a scheduled basis to continue to confirm that the solution is still valid, making updates if and when needed.

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