Root Cause Analysis vs. Shallow Cause Analysis: What’s the Difference?

Updated: May 25, 2023

Reading Time: < 1 minute


Does regulatory compliance with RCA guidelines ensure operational reliability? Operational Reliability involves the aggregation of Equipment, Process and Human Reliability methods and techniques. What is the difference between troubleshooting, problem solving and root cause analysis? Are the outcomes different when we use The 5-Whys, The Fishbone or a Logic Tree? Can deficiencies in our approach to RCA increase the risk of excessive downtime?

These questions will be discussed in depth and contrasted using a common example to determine if we are using Root Cause Analysis or Shallow Cause Analysis.

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About the Author
Robert (Bob) J. Latino is former CEO of Reliability Center, Inc. a company that helps teams and companies do RCAs with excellence.  Bob has been facilitating RCA and FMEA analyses with his clientele around the world for over 35 years and has taught over 10,000 students in the PROACT® methodology.

Bob is co-author of numerous articles and has led seminars and workshops on FMEA, Opportunity Analysis and RCA, as well as co-designer of the award winning PROACT® Investigation Management Software solution.  He has authored or co-authored six (6) books related to RCA and Reliability in both manufacturing and in healthcare and is a frequent speaker on the topic at domestic and international trade conferences.

Bob has applied the PROACT® methodology to a diverse set of problems and industries, including a published paper in the field of Counter Terrorism entitled, “The Application of PROACT® RCA to Terrorism/Counter Terrorism Related Events.”

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