8D report

What is an 8D report?

An 8D report is the result of an eight-step process of problem-solving designed to address manufacturing nonconformances and implement continuous improvement. So-called because the eight steps are referred to as eight disciplines (8D), the 8D report arises from a structured approach to problem-solving in which a team is formed and commissioned to investigate the underlying causes of a manufacturing issue.

The goal of 8D nonconformity management is not simply to identify and correct a nonconformance but to eliminate the root causes that may lead to its recurrence. The 8D report provides a record of the problem, the root cause(s) identified, and corrective and preventive actions taken to eliminate the circumstances under which the problem occurred.

In factories that have implemented a digital manufacturing operations management (MOM) solution, the 8D report is a function guided and tracked as part of a quality management system (QMS). In fact, an effective QMS automatically creates the 8D report, capturing data and information generated during the 8D nonconformity management process.

8D product improvement and 8D process improvement procedures were first promulgated by the Ford Motor Company but are now widely employed across a broad spectrum of manufacturing industries. The 8D report follows the Deming PDCA (plan-do-check-act) structure.

Colleagues working together on an 8D report to identify nonconformances.

8D report structure

The 8D report memorializes actions taken in each problem-solving project. These actions include the following:

D1 Establish the team – In each 8D nonconformity management process, it is recommended that a “champion” be established – a stakeholder who is well acquainted with the problem. An 8D team should then be selected that includes appropriate cross-functional members, representation, and expertise.

D2 Describe the problem – To ensure clarity about the problem at hand, the 8D report relies upon the construction of an information database that answers the following questions:

  • Who? To which person or group does the problem belong?
  • What? Describe the problem and which object or part is concerned.
  • Where? Where in-house and/or in-transit is the object or part of concern located? Where else is it seen?
  • When? When was the problem first discovered? When in the process cycle is it seen? When else is it seen?
  • How? How big? How much? How did the problem occur? What is the trend? How big is the problem? How many objects/parts are affected?

In this step, the 8D report team continues to ask why until they reach a point at which they can conclusively determine necessary actions and start a chronological action plan, including responsibilities and dates.

D3 Implement and verify interim containment actions – The 8D report describes any immediate actions taken to contain symptoms of the problem and protect internal and external stakeholders. In this step, the D8 team identifies and records any actions to be taken, including any purging or sorting at the customer, in transit, or in-house. The team must verify that the defined action stops defects at the customer and results in customer protection and customer satisfaction. They must also validate the effectiveness of the containment action and record relevant data in the D8 report.

D4 Perform root cause analysis – The D8 team finds, defines, and verifies the root cause(s) of the problem. They explore two root-cause paths: (1) The “occur cause path” answers why the problem occurred with the part or object. (2) The “escape cause path” answers why the defect escaped to the customer. In both cases, it is recommended to use the 5Whys process. The D8 team then verifies root causes by ensuring that the problem is present when the root cause is present, and absent when the root cause is absent.

D5 Select and verify corrective actions – Using the information database that was undertaken in step D2 (and amended as appropriate during D3 and D4), the team performs an analysis to determine the best corrective action. Key criteria are impact and risk. The team then verifies that the selected corrective action eliminates the root cause and does not create another problematic effect. This information is tracked in the D8 report.

D6 Implement permanent corrective action and standardize process – The D8 team implements the action plan. To eliminate or minimize the effects of implementation, the team employs the same process they would with an engineering change, working through a product process checklist and process sign-off. The action plan is validated using the original measurable indicator that identified the problem. In the case of an “escape cause path,” the team assesses removal of the containment action. If there are any additional escapes, then the root causes were not correctly identified.

D7 Prevent problem recurrence – The D8 team identifies the system, practices, procedures, and specification standards that allowed the problem to occur. The actions, the results, and the makeup of the team itself are reassessed and an evaluation is included in the D8 report. The D8 report standardizes the process changes and links corrective actions to the product development process, identifying actions that will prevent similar problems both for the current production run and for similar future products and processes.

D8 Conduct final discussion and review – The team determines appropriate recognitions and whether there is a need to continue the problem resolution cycle.

8D nonconformance management benefits

Using the 8D product improvement and 8D process improvement approach while tracking problem-solving progress through an 8D report has been found to expedite nonconformance management and continuous improvement efforts while also ensuring that these efforts are thorough and effective.

Additional benefits:

  • Identifies and implements true problem resolutions

  • Prevents future occurrences of the problem

  • Reduces cost of rework and scrap

  • Raises finished product quality

  • Improves customer satisfaction