Webinar Preview: A Structured Approach to Problem-Solving


Please join us on May 16, as KaiNexus and I host a webinar presented by a leader from one of our customers — Chad Westbrook from AGCO Corporation. Chad is a manufacturing engineering manager and AGCO Production System manager there.

It's titled: A Structured Approach to Problem-Solving.

Click here to register.

In this webinar, you'll learn a structured approach to problem-solving using the following tools:

  • 5G – A tool used to describe a loss phenomenon
  • 5W1H – An approach to the revised phenomenon
  • 4M1D – Defining the contributing factors to the revised phenomenon
  • 4M1D Confirmation – Validating the contributing factors
  • 5 Whys – Root cause and effective countermeasures

Chad joined me the other day to record a short podcast as a preview, through our KaiNexus Podcast series. A transcript also follows.


Or click here to listen.


Mark Graban: Hi, welcome to the podcast. This is Mark Graban from KaiNexus. Today we're doing a preview of our next webinar.

It's going to be presented on May 16th at 1 PM ET. It's titled, “A Structured Approach to Problem-Solving.” You can register for the webinar as always by going to www.KaiNexus.com/webinars.

This is going to be presented by Chad Westbrook from AGCO Corporation, and he's joining us today to give a bit of a preview. Chad, how are you?

Chad Westbrook: I'm doing great, Mark. How are you?

Mark: Doing real well and looking forward to the webinar. Everyone at KaiNexus appreciates you doing that. Before we talk about the webinar, if you could just introduce yourself for the audience a little bit about your background and different roles that you have at AGCO.

Chad: Absolutely. I'd like to thank KaiNexus for giving me the opportunity to share our processes. As Mark said, I'm Chad Westbrook. I really hold or lead three groups for the AGCO Corporation here in Hesston, Kansas.

I am the manager of the manufacturing/engineering group which handles the current product build process, the APS, or AGCO Production System Group which defines and implements our standards and our continuous improvement, and our new product introduction group which handles new product launches for us.

From an AGCO perspective, AGCO is branded as Fendt, Massey, Ferguson, Challenger, Gleaner, and Valtra. Here at the Hesston site, we have a variety of products that we make.

We make the combines, three types of balers — the small-square baler, the round baler, and large-square baler. We also make the swathers and the combine and swather headers as well.

Mark: Chad, you mentioned all the brands and the different products. I don't have an agricultural background, so I don't know what a lot of this equipment is.

Are you going to be able to show some pictures on the slide to help orient those of us watching the webinar on the 16th?

Chad: Absolutely, Mark. I think the interesting thing is we're the basis for and we hold a lot of different facets for the agricultural industry.

When we start talking about both harvesting — such as wheat, soybeans, milo, canola — and when we start talking about grass hay that's baled to feed cattle and so forth, I will absolutely be showing some products that we make here so you can get a little bit better understanding of what we do.

Mark: That'll be good to see and help set context for what it is you're going to be talking about in the webinar. I know we agreed that the beauty of Lean and related methods and these problem-solving approaches is that are very transferable to different industries.

With the webinar, again, with the title “A Structured Approach to Problem-Solving,” there's going to be a lot of detail that you'll be covering in the webinar, Chad.

I think the high-level question I would ask here is what does it mean to be structured in problem-solving? Why is that important?

Chad: I've been here for eight years. Historically, when we look at problems, we'd run into a couple of different opportunities for us. One being when we looked at the solutions that are on the table for the problem, sometimes we would not get to the actual root cause.

Not being able to get to the root cause would leave our countermeasures unsustainable. We would think that we had resolved and then come to find out six months later, this problem would reoccur, so that's one aspect of it.

From another aspect, when we start talking about the sustainability or the impact, we would often spend the time throwing what I would say containment at the problems. This didn't allow us to utilize the correct resources at the correct time to actually do the problem-solving that we needed to do.

We rolled out a couple of different versions of what I'm going to call A3 problem-solving, and we left these problems at a very high level.

What we found is we're trying to solve a problem the size of an elephant without eating the elephant bite for bite. When we did that we didn't really solve the issues.

Incorporating this structured process for problem-solving, this led us down to narrowing our scope so we really understood the phenomena that we were trying to correct and then the effective countermeasures that were put into place. That has been very successful here at AGCO in Hesston.

Mark: I think everything that you're going to share during the webinar will be helpful either in strengthening understanding people might have with these methodologies, or you may have some new terminology and new methods that I hope people will learn from and go put to use in their own workplaces.

We'll get all of that detail on May 16th. Just to remind everyone again, the webinar's titled, “A Structured Approach to Problem-Solving.”

You can learn a little bit more about the detail, the learning objectives, and you can register by going to www.KaiNexus.com/webinars.

Chad, thanks so much for taking some time here today and looking forward to the webinar.

Chad: Thank you very much.

Click here to register.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


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