A world without complaints? It might be possible

A world without complaints? It might be possible

Imagine you never had a reason to complain. Wouldn’t that be great?

Of course, perfection doesn’t exist, but we can always try and do more and better. For example, when an online purchase is made, the registration of the order goes well but, for some reason, the bought product won’t arrive. What to do? Protest, of course, and rightfully so – after all, the client has done his/her part without any mistakes, but the company that was due to deliver the product is not giving the expected response.

How does one work around this situation? Apologise and make an immediate urgent delivery so that the client can finally receive what he or she has bought? That could be a good way to compensate the client. But what if this kind of mistake continues to happen? Will the company be constantly soliciting urgent deliveries? Won’t these deliveries be much more costly?

So, what can be done to avoid this kind of mistake from being recurrent? Get to the root of the problem, because that is the only way to avoid the same mistake from repeating itself. The question posed is “How do we get to the root cause of the problem?”. And this is where the 3C comes in – the tool for simple problem solving.

If we think that problems can cost money, block resources, create excesses in stock, generate nonconformities and cause stress, it is easy to understand the importance that a tool like the 3C (Concern / Case, Root Causes and Countermeasures ) can have on a company’s daily life.


These are the steps for 3C:

Case / Concern (Problem):  

Select and describe a problem with the goal of a SMART (Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Tangible) improvement

Identify problems and not solutions

Go to the Gemba (physical place where the problem is happening) to observe the problem

Look for symptoms of muda (waste) and variability

Talk with data


(Root) Cause:

Understand what the causes of the problem are

Analyse the possible causes in the gemba

Use analysis tools (like the 5 whys or the fishbone diagram)

Out of curiosity – the 5 whys method helps in identifying the possible causes of a problem. It is a technique that asks why again and again until it finds the root cause of a problem.



Define actions to solve the problem

Propose solutions or countermeasures

Define a deadline for the action

Not aim at perfect solutions

Use an action plan to monitor actions

Lastly, analyse data to verify if it is according to expectations, namely:

Comparing current situation to starting point

Hold frequent meetings to keep up with indicators

Visual data processing


Applying 3C methodology helps in finding the root cause of the problems, avoiding their recurrence, closing the process when the solution verification reaches the expected result. It is vital to analyse the problems with a proactive attitude. A reactive attitude solves a problem in the moment but doesn’t correct it in its origin.  

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