[easy-social-share buttons=”facebook,twitter,linkedin,google,mail” counters=0]
We have made it to the final step in our series of creating a pain-free compliance program. If you missed any of our previous posts, check them out on our SmartCEO Thought Leadership page.
We have found that many organizations dealing with compliance, inspections, assessments, quality assurance, and anything involving regular checklists, could be performing these tasks much more efficiently. First, we outlined how to better conduct audits or inspections by evaluating current processes. Next, we learned how COLA’s CEO, Doug Beigel, strengthened company culture and automated scheduling operations with an estimated cost-savings of 20-30%.
Now that your assessments take a fraction of the time to complete and scheduling your mobile workforce is a breeze, you can focus on continually improving quality in your organization by streamlining data that is collected for analysis and offering self-assessments.
Collect Streamlined Data
To make informed business decisions you need to have the data to back them up.
If you are a facilities management director in charge of maintenance for multiple locations, you can use streamlined data collected from completed maintenance requests to better schedule your workforce. Gathering information on how long a task takes at each facility can shape the basis for scheduling decisions. You can now create base-line metrics from time averages for each of your activities and locations.
Facilities Management Example
Location: Main Facility
Maintenance Required: Replace air filters
After tracking this data over 8 months I can estimate it takes my technicians a little over 35 minutes to replace all of the air filters at my Main Facility. Upon arrival, your workers have a feasible timeframe to complete their task and an expectation to meet it.
Reporting cost associated with tasks can further increase efficiency. To continue with our maintenance example, imagine you have an AC unit that required a technician to come out and repair it five times over the summer.
|Description||Leaky duct||Dirty coils||Condenser fan broken||TVX faulty||Overheated compressor|
|Labor Rate (dollars)||$21.15||$21.15||$21.15||$21.15||$21.15|
If you think the unit needs to be replaced, but cannot get the approval from upper management, you can go back and compile a similar table to show how much it is costing the company and justify the investment.
Having the functionality to take and attach pictures to reports will also help when collecting valuable data. Your workers could spend time typing up paragraphs of information for one incident, or simply upload a picture that tells the whole story. The time saved in reporting can add up to major cost-savings across the board.
Storing all of this data, whether it be maintenance requests, pictures, or common incidents reported, in one place is key – and I don’t mean stacks of binders and rows of filing cabinets. You should have an electronic database directly connected to the tool used to collect this information. That way you can easily locate specific information from any time without the hassle of digging through paper records.
Conduct and Offer Self-Assessments
Self-assessments and internal audits are very important when dealing with safety and compliance.
Let’s use COLA as an example. COLA is a clinical laboratory accreditor which we referenced in our post on eliminating scheduling headaches. They are tasked with making sure clinical laboratories in the US are safe and following the correct procedures. They go into each laboratory every two years to make sure they are continually meeting these government-mandated standards.
The reason they have been so successful in their space is due to their dedication to these laboratories. While they are required to visit them every two years, COLA provides and encourages the use of self-assessments year-round to ensure continual quality in their laboratories. In two years new staff can be hired, equipment can become faulty, and various other factors can put the public at risk. These self-assessments are able to monitor and evaluate changing variables in the lab while shedding light on potential hazardous factors.
Some tips to note:
Make the self-assessments easy to access
If they are hard to find, they won’t get done. Offer the assessments online, on an easy-to-access website – maybe an internal company site or client portal. Encourage those involved to bookmark it.
Allow the option to fill out the assessment online or print it out and complete it. Though recording this information online and reporting it is much faster, everyone has their own preferences and you don’t want to discourage the use of these assessments in any way.
Don’t require them, if possible
If you are in an industry where self-assessments are mandated by the government, state, or upper-management, this is obviously not an option. Otherwise, don’t require them. You want the self-assessments to be seen as a tool to improve and help you or your client’s organization, not another deadline to meet. If they are required, the notion towards them can begin to turn negative. People might be rushing to finish them or make up the answers completely. COLA does not require their laboratories to do self-assessments, instead lab directors complete them because they want to improve their business and this tool helps them do that.
Don’t use the results against your clients/employees
You want the intended users to proactively complete self-assessments. When you use the information uncovered from these assessments against that party, it feels like a “big brother” tool to monitor and penalize instead of mentor and assist.
When you receive the results from a self-assessment, the best thing you can offer is a means of follow-up. More specifically, an educational cross-walk to each question in your self-assessment. This way, if your employees or clients are non-compliant in any area, you are offering a resource to inform them of why this happened and how to fix it. COLA has seen such success with this educational model, an entire subsidiary was created to support their laboratories with the informative tools they need to perform higher quality services for the communities they serve.
After following our series, I hope you are on your way to a pain-free compliance program. Once you are efficiently conducting and scheduling audits be sure to focus on the details – collect streamlined data for analysis and offer self-assessments. Collecting and storing this data in an online, central location allows you to pull reports in a fraction of the time and make more informed business decisions. Offering self-assessments that are intended to help your client’s or employees through education, not penalty, ensure continual quality and result in fewer citations.