Super excited about the release of the new BI dashboard reporting tool! Dynamic, roll-up, drill through and super powerful!! Ready for launch in our 1.7 release being rolled out now!
Super excited about the release of the new BI dashboard reporting tool! Dynamic, roll-up, drill through and super powerful!! Ready for launch in our 1.7 release being rolled out now!
When management are pressing for a schedule to be maintained and telling people that the ‘deadline must be met’, they would do well to pause for thought.
It’s management that’s responsible for the performance of our people in the field. Recently in the media we’ve seen some notable examples of safety management failure in the shipping industry – but the same principle of accountability extends across all industry sectors. With shipping in mind, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the comments make at the Court of Inquiry for the loss of the British ferry HERALD OF FREE ENTERPRISE when 193 people died. The Judge ruled:
‘All concerned in management, from the members of the Board of Directors down to the junior superintendents, were guilty of fault in that all must be regarded as sharing responsibility for the failure of management. From the top to the bottom the body corporate was infected with the disease of sloppiness’.
It was as a result of this disaster that the maritime industry introduced the International Safety Management code for ships. This code requires ship owners to define their procedures and, as a result, many operators now make extensive use of checklists to ensure that tasks are completed thoroughly and management have ‘overview’..
Certainty Software software is ideal for recording inspection data and providing management overview of safety procedures in any industry. It’s a web based solution for any audit or inspection based management program.
The following is a list of features that help ensure that field personnel can easily record inspection data and for management to maintain overview.
Why not take the Certainty Software Challenge and see if you can improve the quality of your company’s inspection or auditing processes, improve management overview AND save cost – we bet you can and it will cost you nothing to find out!
Unless you’re like the retail business manager who once told me that he was ‘making way too much money to worry about cutting costs’, cost management simply aims to achieve the most cost-effective way of delivering your goods or services to a given level of quality.
Cost management isn’t about reducing quality or short-changing customers. The low-cost airlines are arguably the best examples of businesses where cost management is successfully delivered. European airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet have either removed or now charge customers for many non-essential services. Similarly, discount retailers such as Poundland, Lidl and Aldi relentlessly focus on managing their costs.
Theoretically reducing operating costs will result in higher profits and better cash flow. The key however is to identify cost-reductions which don’t adversely affect revenue, quality or customer service.
Like my acquaintance in the retail sector, businesses tend to go through phases of cost management. When a business is enjoying rapid growth in revenues, costs don’t necessarily get the attention they deserve. However, before too long, the business has substantially grown and its cost base has added enormous complexity to the organisation. This situation is often not spotted by management and that can spell disaster.
Sometimes it takes a severe economic downturn to prompt managers to take a hard look at costs to try and see where savings can be made. We’ve listed some examples of areas where managers can start to make cost reductions – in addition to taking the Certainty Software Challenge!
As a note of caution however, don’t try and do everything in one pass – it’s not necessary. Act in one area, then revisit it and keep refining things. Be sure you’re not being too aggressive in one area which can then affect other parts of the business by eroding quality, capacity or morale.
Any competent directors will want to comply with the law when managing SHE, but directors will also want to protect the reputation of themselves AND their business from the adverse publicity that a serious accident would bring. Directors and managers will want to avoid undue pressure arising from employees, trade unions and customers because of poor safety and health management and the stigma and other consequences of a prosecution such as criminal convictions, fines or even prison.
An effective safety and health management strategy is a principle component of a modern organisation’s corporate social responsibilities and ensures that the organisation doesn’t lag behind its’ competitors in its sector.
A great way of getting an overview of the management of SHE is to use Certainty Software software – Certainty Software allows for data entry from paper using optical character recognition (OCR) technology, browser or the Certainty Software app for smartphones and tablets. With Certainty Software, your audit and inspection data is instantly available for company-wide reporting and analysis. Certainty Software has an action management tool for tracking and closure of corrective actions identified in the audit process. Certainty Software is ideal for managing data and the corrective actions required from any audit or inspection process.
There is considerable evidence of the financial benefits to be gained from effective safety and health management such as:
Avoiding the costs associated with poor safety and health management ensures that an organisations reputation and assets are protected. Factors which lead to poor corporate safety and health accountability include:
Business managers may see there’s a cost involved in implementing good HSE systems and there is. However, there’s an enormous cost of not doing it properly. Here at Certainty Software we’ve developed a powerful auditing and inspection tool that’s guaranteed to reduce the cost of managing HSE. This month we’re offering a FREE trial – so be sure to take a look at the blog post below for full details of our free offer. If you need help developing systems please let us know – we may be able to help you with that too, for FREE. Please don’t see health and safety purely as a regulatory burden. It offers significant opportunities and benefits. The benefits can include:
However, there are costs involved if health and safety at work is managed poorly too. HSE statistics reveal the human and financial cost of failing to address health and safety. Each year:
Not only can we help you reduce those costs, we can help you reduce the cost of managing HSE too. Get in touch with us to see how Certainty Software can help you implement and manage efficient HSE systems AND reduce the cost of doing business.
At Certainty Software Software, we are proud of one very important thing. Our clients save an enormous amount of time and money using Certainty Software – our audit and inspection management software solution.
By automating the audit/inspection process with Certainty Software, our clients on average save over $4,000 and avoid more than 125 person hours of data entry, data management and report writing per site/location per year! In fact, we are so confident that Certainty Software will improve performance and save your company time and money that we would like to invite you to take the Certainty Software Challenge to see for yourself.
That’s right, try Certainty Software for FREE for 2 weeks and we will prove to you that you too can quickly and easily set a course to improve your auditing and inspection activities and save an enormous amount of time and money every year. If after your trial you think Certainty Software can save you time and money, simply convert your free trial to a subscription and all of your data will be preserved and the first 3 months are on us!
If you are not satisfied after your free trial, no problem, no obligation, no risk, no charge.
Maybe? Give it a try and see for yourself how like our Fortune 500 clients you too can improve the efficiency of your auditing and inspection activities while significantly reducing time and cost. Register to start a free trial now!
We look forward to showing you how your company too can save thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.
The key purpose of this blog series is to help ‘cross-fertilise’ ideas and opinions from one industry sector to another. This week we’re looking at the mining sector and reflect on some of the challenges presented there. We found this great article in support of checklists and recommend you read it in full here, – my point is you may recognise this point of view in your own business and the full article may well help you. We’ve summarised a key issue affecting the mining sector and raised by Check-6, here:
Knowledge is learned. And since humans are not perfect, failing plays a key role in the learning curve. Trial and error exercises, collaboration, brainstorming, and creative endeavours encourage and embrace failure, which conversely spawns progress.
However, there are industries where failure is not an option and procedural discipline is essential to save lives. Commercial and military aviation, nuclear power, and mining are such industries necessitating performance in high hazard environments. The mining industry should be heralded as such an industry but has, apparently, woefully fallen short.
During the extraction, processing, and manufacturing phases, critical tasks are routinely performed with the mentality of “I think” rather than “I know.” After judiciously learning from a procedures manual, miners have no doubt performed the same tasks a multitude of times with repeatable success. Still, people operate mining sites, processing and manufacturing plants: memories fail and moods swing – human factors can cause even the most experienced operator to have a lapse in judgment or decision making.
Supervisors and crewmembers who rely on experience to perform high-risk tasks, during normal operations and in emergency situations, often find themselves, knowingly or unknowingly, in the danger zone, far removed from the complexity of procedures manuals. It is during these moments that critical tasks become susceptible to errors that cause Lost Time Incidents (LTI), an increase in Total Reportable Incident Rates (TRIR), downtime, longer flat time, and increased Non-Productive Time (NPT)…
An organisation’s absolute best mechanism to prevent human error is to instil a checklist culture. Applied with rigor in various vertical industries such as medical, commercial aviation, and nuclear power, checklists have proven to be essential to the successful implementation of standards. There are many types of checklists based on styles that are in turn based on specific sets of circumstances and needs. However, keep in mind the tangible checklists so often energetically engaged as the end all are merely the beginning, as they are inanimate tools waiting to be implemented. The heartbeat of any mature checklist culture is disciplined human behaviour motivated by management’s ability to verify compliance that instils trust among colleagues.
Furthermore, trust is key as communal discipline allows supervisors and their subordinates to follow a standardised set of company-based procedures, written by boots-on-the-ground with real world experiences, rather than a chain-of-command hierarchy based on experience learned 20 years ago from a manual, or worse, the previous supervisor. Teamwork is a by-product of reliability and consistency. A checklist culture is a reliably consistent team of individuals who communicate with each other across the enterprise in familiar language and operate in near perfect rhythm to complete assigned tasks – precisely, safely, and calmly.
Modern healthcare is an industrial process just like any other. Whether we like it or not, when we go into hospital for surgery we must submit to a process. Quite probably, dozens of individuals are going to get involved in our care. Some of those people will have direct continuous involvement in our care and others will have more peripheral roles – how do they all come together to provide a care package?
Ideally the key personnel or managers, typically the consultants and doctors, will be able to quickly get an informed overview of a patient’s status as they move between wards and individual patients. Nursing staff who change from one shift to another will be able to track what’s happened to a patient while they’ve been off-shift. That sort of data recording and transfer of information that’s required is only possible, I suggest, by using checklists.
So it was that when I recently went into hospital for urgent tests, and subsequently major surgery, I found myself taking a great interest in the type of checklists that my care team used. I had many opportunities to note the type, detail and regularity of the data recorded and the subsequent decisions that were made based upon the data recorded in those checklists.
I guess I was something of a bore for the hospital staff because I asked many of them how they went about their jobs, what tools they used and what helped them the most in their work. I even asked them if they’d read Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto – and none had!
What fascinated me most, when I wasn’t dwelling on my own physical problems, was how everyone functioned by using checklists – even the cleaners. However, when I asked, none of the people I spoke to cited the checklist itself as a valuable tool for their work. It’s not that they didn’t think they were important, it was just that their use was so ingrained, so second nature to them, that they didn’t think about them as a ‘tool’ at all. I think that was a function of the high standard of training.
It was reassuring to me, as a patient, to see nursing staff checking to see what had been done while they’d been off-shift. It was reassuring to see each shift change being managed in the same way with care staff gathered at the end of my bed discussing my status and immediate care needs. While it’s probably obvious in retrospect, I was amazed that they even recorded what I ate and, most significantly, when I said I didn’t want anything to eat at all.
I was confident, throughout my lengthy stay in hospital, that everyone knew what needed to be done, where to go to record data and where to find information about me if they needed it. I’m confident that the speed and nature of my recovery so far is due in no small part to the use of checklists.
I also suggest that the use of checklists gave the nursing staff the opportunity to ‘free up brain space’ and afforded them the time to use the softer skills of nursing such as listening and caring. Not only was I looked after physically, my medical team saved my life and I actually felt cared for – those feelings I have about my treatment might otherwise be described as customer satisfaction. It doesn’t take a great leap of imagination to understand how these benefits could be transferred into any industrial sector or process – even yours.
You may think that you don’t need to use checklists because you already know what to do or because you’ve done it a hundred times before. But even though you may have done so yourself or you’ve told other people what to do, it’s only human nature to make mistakes or to try and take short-cuts. Those mistakes or short-cuts could hurt your operations in many ways and cost you money.
We know it takes time to create and then use checklists properly, but when there is a repeatable set of procedures, the time saving over the longer term far outweighs any cost. If we don’t have a written checklist that is to be followed on every occasion, sooner or later you’ll suffer inconsistency, operational failure and poor customer service. That’s a fact.
When such failures do occur the root cause then exists between ignorance or ineptitude. Our ignorance is, arguably, forgivable when our mistakes are caused from a lack of knowledge. We cannot be expected to do better when we don’t know better. But ineptitude, however, is a different matter. With ineptitude, the knowledge clearly exists and we know it, yet we fail to apply that knowledge correctly.
This argument applies to everyone in any sector and it doesn’t matter if you’re an airline pilot, shop-floor worker, steel-worker or medical surgeon – the argument remains the same.
Checklists are designed to limit the impact of our ignorance or ineptitude. Ineptitude, like ignorance, is not a permanent attribute. It is a momentary state and can occur for many reasons, most importantly for very human reasons. The distractions, beliefs and stresses of modern life could almost excuse our ineptitude or ignorance, except for the real consequences of those mistakes.
If you still think that you don’t need checklist we’d love to hear from you!
No blog series on checklists can be complete without addressing the resistance that some (many?) people will have to using them. It’s one thing for you to be convinced of the merits of checklists, but if your colleagues don’t think they’re a clever idea, then you’re going to have a struggle on your hands.
We need to look at some of the most common excuses that people give, and it’s good to remember that some of those excuses will ALWAYS remain unspoken. Even if our checklist is clearly needed and well-designed so it meets that need, there can still be considerable resistance to its use.
Implementing innovative ideas is always challenging but you’re going to have to overcome all the objections to their use. In this blog, we discuss the most common objections, the first of which is “If anyone else knows how I do this task, I can be replaced.” This concern will rarely be voiced and will remain unspoken, so it’s important to understand that it’s probably the most powerful objection of them all.
It’s quite common in any organisation for an employee to worry that if they share too much knowledge or information, then they’ll lose status, influence or even their job. A special status goes with being the only one who knows how to do something. People can worry that if their job is seen to be easy when the checklist is introduced, then a cheaper person could do it with obvious implications for their own position.
In a situation where someone is having difficulty sharing their special knowledge, it can be good practice to reassure them that good employees aren’t easily replaced. Employees are usually valuable for more than one set of skills or knowledge. While it can be useful for them to develop knowledge in a substantive area, simply having that knowledge without any other features of a good employee will not protect their job.
If more people can be taught how to complete a task then that task can be accomplished no matter who is there to do it. This can free up the so-called ‘go-to’ person or others to do more challenging work that is perhaps more in line with their career ambition or interests. It can also help them to take time off or go on leave without worrying that their ‘in-tray’ will be a metre deep upon their return. Ultimately however, you’re going to have to explain that it’s unacceptable to maintain a situation where only one person knows how to do something or where only one person can know the status of a task or project. If the ‘go-to’ person can’t or won’t accept that, then it’s going to become a clash of wills that can only have one outcome. In which case, THEN they’re going to need to draw their own conclusions about their long-term prospects.
We’ll look at other objections in our following blogs, but in the meantime it’d be great if you would share your own experiences with us…