Possessing good problem-solving skills could be beneficial for our everyday life, as our life is filled with multitude of problems, be it small or big in magnitude. It would not be logical to say that all problems can be solved with ease and at go, though the ability to solve problems at the right time efficiently could easily be identified as the most favored quality to possess by anyone. There is always an element of surprise however well prepared one may be to face problems.
More often than not, problems either go unrecognized, or they are recognized but cannot be solved. This is the reason why employers highly appreciate that quality of the employees, where they can identify and think of ways to solve the problems in the organization.
“A problem is a doubtful or difficult matter requiring a solution” – The Concise Oxford Dictionary.
Often, we are not sure how to take advantage of the opportunities that are exposed to us. The reason why we cannot take advantage is also unclear. This becomes a barrier and can turn positive outcomes into negative ones. There might be a bigger problem causing the smaller ones, while our mind focusses on the smaller ones alone that are obvious.
Chools Consulting services are masters in Ford 8D problem solving approach and various other models.
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The various stages of effective problem solving could be outlined as under:
Identifying the problem:
“A problem well stated is a problem half solved”- John Dewey
This becomes the most basic step in problem solving. Spending enough time in identifying the problem and defining it in terms of its nature is imperative as it helps us understand the problem better.
Putting together the problem:
“A sum can be put right: but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on”- C.S.Lewis
Gaining more information about the problem through analysis, and fact finding, to get a better understanding of the situation is the next step in problem solving. This gives a clear picture of the goals and barriers of the organization. Problems specially of a more complexed nature must be approached in this style.
The possible course of action:
“There is no use talking about the problem unless you talk about the solution”- Betty Williams
Having gathered the information and defining the problem, its time to move on to finding the possible solutions for the identified problems. This is usually done as a brain storming activity among the groups, letting the members express their views on the solutions. An organization must be open to the different suggestions as each person will have a different take on the issue concerned.
“A problem is a chance for you to do your best”- Duke Ellington
Decision making is a comprehensive topic that might need to be discussed in detail. At this stage, a decision must be taken after serious consideration and analysis of the various solutions.
Creative thinking and innovative problem-solving methods are considered important in a scenario where, trying to solve a problem leads to various other problems. This can be defined as the most complex part of problem solving.
Implementation, review, and feedback come as the final step in effective problem solving.
Life is a crisis. So what?
Chools Consulting surely has solutions to offer!
Problem Solving - Case Study
An industry leader in the telecommunications industry, the company provided television, internet, and cellphone services to clients spread across the country.
They wanted to increase traffic to their website, and Chools was tasked with this process. Search engine optimization, digital marketing, and paid search campaigns were some of the many avenues that were focused on, to bring the company’s website more viewership, thereby driving sales.
However, a trend was seen that was negatively impacting the performance of the digital marketing and paid campaigns used for the website.
A report was made every month that calculated the Return on Ad Spend for organic search traffic, branded paid search traffic and unbranded paid search traffic. One which highlighted several inconsistencies.
✔ A 17% increase in year-over-year paid search visits to the digital storefront, which was offset by an 11% decrease in paid search sessions in the second step of the process.
✔ There was a major increase in ad spend, which was giving the company negative ROI.
✔ There was a 105% increase in paid search visits to the “Not Serviceable” page. An issue caused due to incorrect geographical targeting in SEO.
➤ The paid search visitors were beginning the process towards conversion, only to realize that they lived in one of the Non Serviceable areas, and drifted off the website at the second step.
The company was serving paid ads in several locations that could not provide cable and internet services. A closer look was recommended depending on the viability of servicing these areas, removing the ad campaigns for which there was no overlap. Successful campaigns from the past were turned back on, to repeat the successes of the past.
A stabilization of Return on Ad Spend and decrease in the number of Non Serviceable page sessions was made possible with these tactics. The products were accurately targeted to the right market. Places where the company had the capabilities to provide excellent cable and Internet services.
A company, known for being synonymous with premium and high-quality brands of coffee, is looking to reduce overtime from their Saturdays. Averse to the idea of adding automation and additional capital investment, the company needed a quick and viable answer for their predicament.
The company’s production plants were responsible for delivering freshly ground coffee to millions of people. Anything from an issue in the packaging line, to bad weather, or occasional illness of any one of the employees could attribute to a significant increase in overtime. A step by step approach was taken to find out the areas that could be improved upon to prevent this.
✔ The Packaging line produced 25% of the plant’s total volume. Mostly manual, it involved having the operators to move heavy bags of coffee by hand, and onto the packaging line.
✔ Data was collected to see where the company was losing out on time. Everything from mechanical issues to upstream delays. All were taken into account. And how the time variable was affected by each one of these processes.
✔ Automation of the packaging line, or investing in a new one. Both of these were unfavorable and costly outcomes.
➤ Within this smokescreen of data, lay the answer to the company’s problems. And that was to increase the packaging line’s speed. The operators were waiting for as long as 15 seconds in every minute long cycle in the sealing process. By finding the answer to that riddle, they were able to make production faster, thereby saving time.
The sealing machine’s programming was evaluated with the help of the maintenance department and the quality department. Unnecessary processes were eliminated and the airflow process improved. Within a span of 2 weeks, the line was running 25% faster, reducing the need for overtime, while still maintaining the same quality of coffee
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