Structured Problem Solving

What is it all about?

Identifying problem areas compromising business performance and either eliminating those business risks, or if unavoidable, managing these risks through the application of cost effective solutions, is a requirement for continuous improvement.

Remain abreast of the latest techniques and strategies for “focused” interventions to make substantial improvements in specific aspects of asset management. This high impact, hands-on course will equip dedicated teams with the necessary knowledge and skill to identify problems and implement effective solutions in order to prevent problem reoccurrence.

The course gives an in depth view of the fundamental aspects of problem solving with the specific objective of creating a structured and practical process for solving problems. It is essential for anyone responsible for the management and maintenance of physical assets, who aims to succeed and thrive in today’s highly demanding environment.

This training course is aligned with the GFMAM’s 39 Subjects with a specific focus on the subject of fault and incident response.

Who should attend?

  • Senior managers and executives in asset intensive organisations
  • Project sponsors
  • Asset and maintenance managers
  • Project engineers
  • Production and operations managers
  • Maintenance and production engineers
  • Cross-functional teams involved in improvement projects

What makes it different?

This training course is based on proven methodologies and industry best practices and aims to provide learners with:

  • Determine where to focus problem solving efforts
  • Ensure that the problem is adequately defined
  • Set up sufficient measurement systems to gather data for root cause analysis
  • Implement the correct solution to the root cause to prevent the problem reoccurring
  • Ensure sustainable improvement
  • Roll out the solution to other related assets and areas
  • Entrench the problem solving techniques with an interactive case study and practical exercises

Course outline and expected outcomes

Introduction to Focused Improvement

Focused Improvement in context with other related improvement principles. Identify where to focus improvement activities. Introduction to the problem solving steps and its incorporation in the organisational structure. Overview of the benefits of Focused Improvement. This forms the framework for the rest of the course.


Select the best approach to solve the problem

  • Prove and verify solutions by means of a pilot implementation prior to executing full-scale implementation
  • Implement sustainable long term countermeasures


The key steps to follow to:

  • Develop a clear, concise and exact problem definition
  • Determine the significance of the problem
  • Define the goals and targets for the project


The implementation of the best solution:

  • Formalise solutions to make them sustainable
  • Roll out to other similar assets and areas
  • Complete the project and hand over the improved process to the process owner, with procedures for sustaining the gains
  • Continue to monitor key performance indicators to confirm that the problem solving solution was successful and achieved the desired results


Understand the current process and measure the current performance: gather and interpret data and facts in a structured fashion, rather than relying on opinions, intuition or perceptions

Problem solving in context

We look at the problem solving techniques outlined in context with other related improvement techniques.


The essence of effective problem solving which is often neglected:

  • Identify potential causes for the problem
  • Use recognised analytical techniques with proper verification to find the real root causes of problems before proposing any solutions or jumping to conclusions.

Case study and practical exercises

  • Witness the practical application of the problem solving steps by means of an exciting real world case study.
  • Perform a number of practical exercises to simulate the application of the theory in a real world situation.