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The Problems & Solutions Method: print this page

Problems and solutions analysis is a process of determining the most important problems and identifying solutions for solving them. The best solutions are then chosen and implemented.

Problems & Solutions can be used on products, services, and processes, or it can be used on just a small part of a product, service, or process . The method can be used quickly (in under an hour) or can be used over several days when it is a large project.

Using Refocus to solve problems:

  • provides a valuable database of problems and their solutions
  • shows the results of various types of solutions
  • tracks all relevant information and documents in one place
  • ‘method guides’ provide useful techniques for different types of problem solving.
  • Helps to keep from solving the same problems over and over

Using a computer as a tool provides many benefits:

  • communicate the information to others easily with printouts or by importing/exporting the data
  • computers are really good at storing and sorting data for later review
  • transfer information via e-mail when people are at multiple locations
  • computers allow you to present the data to groups using data display devices, or by making overhead slides, or with printouts of the data.
  • The information is stored with the other project data so it is readily available for viewing or updating when you need to.
  • A floppy disk or zip disk can be carried instead of a briefcase full of manila folders and papers.

The following example is a generic example to show the capabilities. The method can apply to anything that has problems that need to be solved.

Each step can be done quickly or at a very high level of detail depending on the needs of what you want to improve.

This example is based on a company that manufactures a modem.

Step 1: List the problems

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Enter a list of problems that are related to the modem

Step 2: Briefly describe the problems and rank them in importance

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Step 3: Define the problems to understand them better

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Step 4: Brainstorm solutions to the most important (or costly) problems

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Step 5: Describe the solutions in more detail

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Step 6: Choose the best solutions

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All information entered can be viewed on one screen for making the decision of which solution or solutions are best


Step 7: Determine how to successfully implement the best (top ranked) solutions

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Step 8: Communicate the results to others so they can be implemented company wide

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Any of information entered about problems, solutions, implementation plans, action items, etc. can be instantly printed from each screen. There are also numerous reports that can be printed. The data can also be exported to other Refocus users, or it can be exported to popular formats, such as; Word, Excel, text files, etc.


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