The Analysis and Resolution of Problems are one of the main workhorses of companies, especially of the members of the management team. Efficiency and speed in these types of situations are especially valued and provides a competitive advantage over other companies, but also other departments.
This article explains the Strategy to be implemented to solve problems by CEOs and managers, taking into account the different existing methodologies in the company. Several examples of resolution will be offered and, finally, the relationship with the experience curves.
Identify the problem
The first unavoidable step is to identify the problem, so that, knowing the casuistry, rational decisions can be made. SWOT analysis, widely used in marketing, can be a good tool to identify problems since it focuses on several points, among which the weaknesses and threats to the survival of the company stand out.
It is possible, however, that this analysis is already more than done and that the problem has already been, in essence, identified. It may be that there is a structural problem of high costs due to the lack of business size, a captive market, but with a peak due to the rise in raw materials or business inefficiency. It can also happen that there is a decrease in the efficiency of workers that did not happen before.
Once the specific problem has been identified, a resolution Strategy will have to be established. There are several possibilities, some more immediate than others, but all can bring light. What is essential is familiarization with the problem because only in this way can the situation be faced with some guarantees of success, hence collecting information is essential.
It is important to note, however, that information gathering can be done in different ways depending on the case. Although automated systems do a lot, know-how, or business experience, can be an essential element that should not be overlooked.
1. Algorithmic method
In an increasingly automated society in which concrete and tangible results are sought, the algorithmic method is the most indicated and it is usually applied unless the human mind can do it better. It should be noted, however, that the algorithmic method is relatively recent, and only in recent decades has it become a commonly used alternative.
Systems of artificial intelligence process information, compare and make the best decision based on the criteria indicated above the steering. The extension of computer machinery and CPUs has facilitated the integration of these technologies in daily life, as well as the existence of the internet, the network of networks.
The difference in just 20 years has been brutal for the search for information on the internet, but it can also be applied when weighing different options for solving a problem. Artificial intelligence is already part of people’s lives, and also of companies. Of course, it is essential that problems-solving to apply these principles, the solutions are commensurable because, otherwise, this method is difficult to implement.
As a general principle, it can be said that, if a problem can be solved using algorithmic methods, these will have to be prioritized over the others because they offer greater precision. Among the most common procedures used by heuristics are induction, deduction, and trial-and-error methodology, with variable results.
2. Heuristic method
The heuristic method of Problem Solving is really interesting because it can start from inspiration, although its justification can be covered with scientific methodology. The truth is that many of the great geniuses of history have started from the use of a heuristic method, so it should not be too surprising.
Induction allows, from a collection of data and circumstances that perhaps cannot be quantified, to establish a plausible solution to the problem (from the particular to the general). There is no doubt that, when this methodology is used, there is a much greater field of personal interpretation than in algorithmic methods.
However, it is an interesting method to solve foreseeable problems. For example, historical meteorological records allow you to predict what the weather will be in a certain place with greater precision than using the deductive method and, consequently, make practical decisions.
The deduction allows, from general facts, to infer particular conclusions and, consequently, possible solutions to a problem. Perhaps as a method of Problem Solving it can be used when there is no other better and, although it is subject to a certain cognitive bias, it should not be overlooked.
Entering deductions means doing it in the world of guesswork, which is a good starting point when there are no more solid references. An undoubted advantage of this methodology is that it can serve to rule out options and, therefore, reduce the number of possible solutions. In this case, following the principle of economy of reasoning ( Ockham’s Principle ) and applying the maxim that the simplest explanation is the most probable can help to solve situations.
The truth is that, in recent years, the deduction is used less and less as a method to solve problems because there are alternatives that offer greater reliability.
The trial-error method
The trial and error method is an option when there are no other more reliable ones and consists, pure and simple, in checking if an idea works as a solution. This Strategy should only be used first in the absence of a better one since the percentage of errors is very high. However, it is also true that, if the heuristic has been applied before, it will be unavoidable to test whether the proposed solutions work.
It is also true, however, that this system could be applied combined with valuation methods such as heuristics, hence it is important to take these factors into account.
3. Imagine the problem solved
This is not at all about running away from the solution, but imagining that a problem is solved can probably offer inspiration and ideas for solving it. When you imagine a resolved situation, you can better see the perspective of the problem and what it takes to move forward.
As an example, the following serve: there is a need in the company for cheaper raw materials, it would be necessary to put in writing what the impact would be if they were obtained and at what price they would have to be obtained. The only thing missing is how to achieve it, but it will be known what impact the solution generates and the associated figures. Many times the companies carry out objectives to reach a market share that will have to be achieved by selling more; well, there you are imagining the solution to the problem, although the implementation is missing.
Finally, and if this principle is used in a complementary way with others, it will be closer to the resolution; although it is important to know that it only serves as an element of inspiration and approach to the solution.
4. Mid-end analysis
The method of Analysis means-end is useful to look for a partial resolution of the problem and to approach the final result that is desired. In this case, you can break the problem down into different parts and seek a sequential resolution. Therefore, it is about solving a bigger problem in small pieces, taking small steps instead of the entire step. This is especially interesting for problems that are complex and require a long-term solution.
For example, if you are supposed to get more advanced software to increase your business productivity, you can start by looking for reliable vendors. Once this part has been solved, we will look for the technology that provides the best benefits.
Problem solving and the experience curve
It is possible to reduce problem resolution times if you have experience in the use of appropriate technologies or knowledge of the sector in which you operate. Faced with the same problem, the person with previous experience solves it in less time and with a more satisfactory result for the company. This is the reason why the experience curve is important to increase the productivity of the company and, for this reason, experience is a value to be conserved.
An obvious example can be found in inductive cases in which, thanks to the knowledge of the different variables of the company and the market, possible solutions can be found more quickly. The more times the same type of problem is solved, the faster the resolution process will be.
The Analysis and Resolution of Problems have to respond to a rational logic to be effectively successful. In recent years, company CEOs have become aware of and follow certain protocols, which are what allow them to gain efficiency. Therefore, it can be said that the assumption of rational methods and the increasing replacement of human thought by artificial intelligence for efficiency reasons is a fact.