8D REPORTS – THE INDUSTRY STANDARD

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WHAT IS AN 8D REPORT? – DEFINITION AND SIGNIFICANCE OF AN 8D REPORT

An 8D report is a document that records the results achieved through solving a problem – which was triggered by a complaint – according to the 8D methodology. As such, 8D reports are a component of your complaints management system and part of your quality management solution.

For each complaint, the supplier reports back to the customer on how the processing of his/her complaint is progressing in an 8D report which is done according to the 8 process steps, resp. “disciplines” of the 8D methodology.

In the automotive industry, the 8D methodology and 8D reports are standard procedures and described in the industry standards. After the automotive industry, the 8D methodology and 8D reports also caught on and are now being used for quality management in other industries, such as the aviation, medical technology, and mechanical engineering industries.

WHY SHOULD YOU USE AN 8D REPORT TO COMPLETE THE 8D METHOD?

The systematic processing of a complaint allows you to find the sources of an error, to remove their causes and eliminate these in the future in a long-term and sustainable manner.

8D reports are necessary to be able to systematically record the process and solution steps developed through the 8D methodology and document the measures introduced vis-à-vis the customer.

OVERVIEW OF THE 8DS COVERED IN AN 8D REPORT

An 8D report is used by your complaints management section to document the 8 steps of the 8D methodology. An 8D report comprises the following 8 process steps:

  • D1: Putting a team together to solve the problem
  • D2: Describing the problem
  • D3: Introducing emergency measures
  • D4: Analyzing the root cause
  • D5: Choosing and verifying remedial measures
  • D6: Implementing and validating remedial measures
  • D7: Avoiding repeating the error
  • D8: Closing the case and acknowledging your team’s performance

Der 8D Prozess im Detail

D1 – putting a team together

When you start out to process a complaint according to the 8D methodology, you need to assemble a team to handle this processing. This team consists of a sponsor for allocating the resources, a team leader with leadership qualities and experts from the departments involved. Particular care should be taken when selecting the sponsor and the team leader. The sponsor must be directly affected by the problem so that he/she has an interest in getting it solved. The team leader must be able to guide the team towards a productive collaboration and avoid conflicts of interest between the departments involved. Apart from having enough time to solve the problems, the team members must also have the authority and technical expertise to do so. They must also have the required knowledge and skills to be able to systematically apply the 8D methodology.

D2 – describing the problem

In order to be able to effectively prevent the errors that have cropped up from reappearing in the future, the current problem must be described as completely and precisely as possible. This includes recording exactly where the actual state deviates from the target state. It may also be useful to include the problem environment in the problem description. In D2, the question of the cause does not yet need to be clarified; this is done in step four. The following questions can serve as a guide:

  • What? (which product, in what way did it deviate from the target)
  • Where? (which location, what part of the product/which stage of the process)
  • When? (time frame, pattern)
  • How many? (number, frequency, scope)

D3 – introducing emergency measures

The introduction of emergency measures serves to avert acute damage from the customer and your own company. You must ensure the effectiveness of the emergency measures introduced until appropriate remedial measures have been implemented (D6). Appropriate emergency measures may comprise substitute deliveries, repairs, credit notes, sorting out suspect material followed by 100% inspections, or even temporarily stopping production.

D4 – analyzing the root cause

In order to prevent errors in the future, their causes must be determined. Based on the description of the problem resulting from step D2 and the analysis of the deviation of the actual state from the target state and the knowledge gained in step D3, the fundamental problem can now be determined and verified. In addition to analyzing the error from a technical point of view, possible organizational sources of the error also now need to be considered. Human error might also play a role in this respect. The aim is to determine why the error occurred and why it was not previously detected and prevented. Suitable root cause analysis methods include, for example, the 5Whys technique and Ishikawa diagrams.

D5 – choosing and verifying remedial measures

After conducting root cause analysis, remedial measures designed to avoid repeating the error need to be developed, selected, and verified. The selection of these respective remedial measures must be based on their proven performance – taking both their efficiency and their effectiveness into account. Appropriate measures may include making changes to the production process, such as using more suitable tools.

D6 – implementing and validating remedial measures

The remedial measures that proved effective in step D5 are now introduced permanently and the long-term results monitored. These measures may have an impact on different areas of production – ranging from the design of the product to the test methods used and employee qualifications.
From an 8D reporting perspective, only those measures that actually improve the process are permissible. This does not include, for example, staff-related measures, such as training. Once the respective remedial measures have been successfully introduced, the emergency measures introduced in step D3 are discontinued.

D7 – avoiding repeating the error

With a view to standardization, suitable measures must be taken to ensure in a long-term and sustainable manner that the present error – or similar errors – does not reoccur in the future. First of all, the effectiveness of the remedial measures taken must be demonstrated by increasing the number of tests carried out over a longer period of time (success monitoring).
Suppliers from the automotive and aviation sectors are under obligation to evaluate any risks identified during the development and production phases using the FMEA method (Failure Mode and Effects Analysis).

D8 – closing the case and acknowledging your team’s performance

When closing the case, it is important to record the knowledge gained so that it can be used for any future projects of this nature. The work of the team, which usually involves additional effort on the part of the employees concerned, alongside their normal tasks, must be accordingly acknowledged. The results are recorded in an 8D report.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RUN THROUGH THE 8D PROCESS?

The first four steps of the 8D process should be completed within four days – with the entire process completed within ten days – or ideally, of course, within an even shorter period of time. Complex problems might require more time. In any event, it is important to evaluate all the problems consistently and thoroughly in order to be able to effectively eliminate the errors.

8D REPORT TEMPLATE – THIS IS WHAT AN 8D REPORT MIGHT LOOK LIKE

Find out here what an 8D report might look like. Simply download our template for an 8D report in PDF format. Our fictitious example shows you a completed 8D report. In order to ensure that the solutions you have developed to resolve your errors can be systematically and sustainably used in the format just presented, special software designed to run you through the 8D method and create an 8D report is required.
Download an example of an 8D report

GLOBAL 8D REPORTS FOR RECURRING COMPLAINTS RESULTING FROM THE SAME ERRORS

If complaints with similar error descriptions are being recorded on a recurring basis, you can initiate the process for creating a global 8D report (G8D). This method is also described in VDA’s volume entitled: “Standardized process for handling customers’ complaints”. As soon as a complaint is accepted in CASQ-it CMEA, you can check at the push of a button whether this problem has already been pooled with comparable complaints in an G8D process and is already being tackled. If this is the case, the Customer Manager immediately sees the current status and can inform his/her customers accordingly. G8D reports take the burden off the problem-solving team as root cause analysis can be carried out and remedial measures introduced collectively for numerous complaints all at the same time.

DO YOU NEED AN 8D OR A 4D REPORT?

In some cases, an 8D report would entail far too much effort for the type of complaint involved. In the case of smaller, internal complaints, 4D reports are often more suitable for tracking errors. For marginal complaints with obvious, tangible causes, drawing up an 8D report would be far too long-winded a procedure.
A 4D report includes:

  • D1: Describing the problem
  • D2: Analyzing the causes and introducing emergency measures
  • D3: Defining and implementing remedial measures
  • D4: Verifying effectiveness

A powerful CAQ software tool makes it easier for the user to decide whether he/she should compile a 4D or 8D report for the complaint in front of him/her.

MANDATORY AND VOLUNTARY 8D REPORTS

When is it mandatory to compile an 8D report?

In certain industries, it is mandatory to use the 8D methodology and create 8D reports. These include, for example, the following industrial sectors:

  • Aviation
  • Automotive Industry

Voluntary 8D reports to eliminate the sources of errors

However, it also pays to apply the 8D methodology in other industrial sectors. Those who use the 8D methodology process their complaints in a systematic fashion. The causes of errors are revealed, and operating processes optimized – with the knowledge thus gained contributing to eliminating the source of errors right from a very early stage in the development process.
Both high-performance software and a competent solution provider help you to introduce the 8D methodology by providing you with all the support and training you need – even after the project has been successfully completed.

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