5W 1H Method for Problem Solving Explained with Example (2024)

5W 1H Method for Problem Solving Explained with Example (1)

5W 1H Method for Problem Solving

→ The 5W-1H method is the most popular method to analyze the problem among the various types of methods used for solving the issue.
→ But before solving the problems it is very important to analyze the problems.
→ This method is also helpful in various root cause analysis methods like (1) Why Why analysis or [5 Why analysis], (2)

Cause and Effect Diagram

[Fish bone Diagram or Ishikawa Diagram]
→ The 5W1H method is a very simple and very effective method for analysis of the issue or trouble.
➜ Read the complete article on

Various Problem Solving Methodologies

with Case Studies
→ Before going ahead we will recap about the fundamentals things.


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What is a Problem?

⇢ It is an undesirable event.

⇢ In other words, It is any gap between what is expected and what is obtained.

What is a Solution?

⇢ The solution is the action is taken to rectify the problem.

Types of Solutions:

⇢ There are major two types of solutions are available as mentioned below.

[1] Corrective Action:
⇢ The Corrective Action is the action is taken to eliminate the causes of non-conformities or other undesirable situations.

[2] Preventive Action:
⇢ Preventive Action is the action taken to prevent further reoccurrence of such non-conformities.

5W 1H Method for Problem Solving Explained with Example (3)

5W 1H Framework:

→ In the 5W-1H framework, 5W stands for the different questions started from the letter "W" [i.e. What, Where, Who, When, Why] and 1H stands for How.

→ The detailed explanation is as mentioned below:
(1) The first W stands for What: It gives information about the issue.
⇢ What is the issue?
⇢ What is the fact?
(2) The Second W stands for Where: It tells about the location.
⇢ Where was the trouble found?
⇢ Where did the trouble arise? and where does it impact?
(3) The third W stands for Who: It will decide about the leader or observer.
⇢ Who observed the_problem?
⇢ Who will lead to the solution?
(4) The fourth W stands for When: It shows the timing.
⇢ When did the trouble arise?
⇢ When was the trouble found?
(5) The fifth W stands for Why:
⇢ Why is this a problem?
⇢ Why did an issue arise?
(6) The H stands for How.
⇢ How big is it?
⇢ How severe it is?

5W 1H Method for Problem Solving Explained with Example (5)


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How to deal with the Problem:

→ Make a sketch/illustration to study the issue.

→ The clear sketch cannot be made unless the part configuration is known clearly and needs close observation at the site.

→ Use block diagrams/flow diagrams to visualize the location.

→ Also, use videography where it is necessary for observation of the trouble. That will be helpful to detect abnormal situations.

→ For repetitive issues work with data & facts. The detailed data study reveals a pattern

→ Defect analysis is mostly based on data and observation.

→ Data is very important for further analysis of the issue so keep and record all necessary data.

Four Steps for Problem Study and Data Collection

→ We can easily collect data and study the problem with the help of the below four important steps.

  1. Start with the history of the equipment
  2. Collect data about the history of the breakdown
  3. Collect information about the change in operation pattern in the recent past
  4. Study the failed component

Step 1: Start with the history of the equipment:

→ First of all, collect all the below details for further analysis.

→ When was the machine installed?

→ When was the last maintenance done?

→ Any modification is done in the recent past?

→ Is equipment under Jishu Hozen (autonomous maintenance) and Jishu Hozen is active or not?

→ Read this article on

Total Productive Maintenance

for a better understanding of Jishu Hozen Pillar.

Step 2: Collect data about the history of the breakdown

→ When the issue was started appearing? (from the beginning, is it frequent?)

→ Is it the first time or not?

→ If happened earlier, what action was taken each time?

Step 3: Collect information about the change in operation pattern in recent past

→ Any increase in load or capacity?

→ Is there any new operator working?

→ Any new grade of raw material or lubricant used without any validation?

→ New spare being tried (new trial)

Step 4: Study the failed component

→ The failed component is also known as the Black Treasure.

→ In this stage, we need to study the failed components

Example of 5W-1H Method for Problem Solving:

→ Now we are taking one example for performing 5W-1H analysis.
→ Problem: Shaft OD is found 250 microns oversize.

→ The detailed analysis is mentioned below.
⇢ What is the_problem? - Outer Diameter of the shaft is oversize observed by 250 microns.

⇢ Where was the_problem found? - It was found on Line No-04 & Machine No - 02.

⇢ Who found the_problem? - Allen found the problem.

⇢ When was the_problem found? - It was found on 24th Feb 2020 at 9:30 PM.

⇢ Why this is a problem? - Assembly Line was Stopped for 35 min so this is big trouble for us.

⇢ How big/sever this_problem is? - It might lose the business of 4M$

👉 See Also:

All Topics

Lean Manufacturing

7 QC Tools

MSA, FMEA, PPAP, APQP, SPC

5W 1H Method for Problem Solving Explained with Example (2024)
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