This is where we’re trying to get but, as I’ve said, jumping straight to a solution will rarely, other than in the simplest situations, yield the best result. But, having taken time to study the problem, we’re now ready to find the possible solutions (and note the plural – solutions).
In order to find the best solution, we often need to continue the analysis, sometimes further examination with the tools and techniques already used, sometimes introducing new ones. Some schemes have just one analysis stage e.g. Juran’s step 4 and DMAIC , whilst others recognise separate stages e.g. D4 and D5. The key is that we need to understand the problem and it’s causes before trying to find a solution.
It’s necessary to consider and list all options we find – even those that we think will eventually be discounted. Quite often, doing nothing is an option that needs to be on the list; it might seem pointless to consider that after all the work in collecting and analysing data, but it needs to be considered if it is at all possible. After all, it may turn out that implementing all other solutions will cost more than leaving alone. Listing the options now lets everyone involved decide which looks to be the best – and then tried. If necessary, pilot promising options before diving headlong into full implementation; if an idea that initially seemed good doesn’t work, move on. It may even be necessary to try out ideas as part of the solution finding process. But, at the end of step 4, we should have found a solution that meets our need.