Are you constantly fixing other people’s mistakes?

Overcoming human frailty present within the workplace continues to be a challenge and one that requires special consideration.

Many high-risk industries such as nuclear power work under the assumption that people make mistakes. They have worked hard to understand the types of mistakes people make and establish barriers to prevent people from making these mistakes. As a result, these industries are among the safest in the world.

Generally, human error in the workplace can be attributed to lapses, mistakes or violations, which can often be attributed to poor communication, inadequate training, poor design, incorrect replacement parts or pressures of work on employees.

As an example, a poor process could have resulted due to the process being developed in an ad hoc fashion over time and be filled with workarounds and unnecessary steps. This human side of the equation means that specific mechanisms need to be put in place to greatly reduce the potential for human error through narrowing the scope of a process, incorporating comprehensive analysis and measurement during implementation.

At eStudious we work with clients to reduce variability in processes and we always work on the people element and the variation that comes with that. Human performance and error elimination have helped our clients tremendously in dealing with, and in some cases eliminating, the variation that comes with having people performing the major roles in their processes.

Understanding and predicting human behaviour means that measures can be put in place to control and mitigate the problems.

If you want to stop fixing other people’s mistakes by eliminating them, a good line of attack would be to follow these steps.

DEFINE: Define the specific problem. The problem could be that a person’s knowledge of a task is not at an acceptable level resulting in poor quality. The reasons could be because of inadequate training (human error due to inexperience) or personal apathy (unmotivated to improve their performance).

MEASURE: Implement a measure that will categorise a person’s knowledge gaps. This could be accomplished through performance monitoring, customer feedback forms, supervisor training sessions, etc.

ANALYSE: Collate the information and see if an emerging trend appears. Generally, the most likely cause of the trouble is process complexity, inadequate training, and general employee apathy due to working conditions. Once root causes are determined, you can move ahead.

IMPROVE: Implement correcting measures that help address their deficiencies discovered during the ANALYSE stage.

CONTROL: Continue to maintain your process tracking that was setup during the MEASURE stage to ensure consistent quality.

At the heart of reducing human error is having a culture of continuous improvement and standardisation in every area of the business, from the factory floor to the accounts department. The more standardised and streamlined a process becomes, the less the margin for human error and the more efficient and productive people become.

Our aim at eStudious is to implement process improvements through a coordinated set of principles and practices that promote greater efficiency and effectiveness, with fewer wasteful practices or errors. Evolving from their original application in manufacturing industries, our process improvement strategies have been extended to other settings including construction, software development, financial services, health care delivery, and laboratory sciences. For most companies, adding our structured approach to projects results in faster completion of the task with a greater improvement in performance.

Additionally, what we teach people is able to be taken away and be continually applied to their everyday performance as well as being used to teach other employees to improve themselves.

Through applying the same techniques and principles that we teach, Boeing reduced the number of days it took to assemble its 777 aircraft from 71 day to just 47 days.

If you would like to know more and see if we can help you make real measurable efficiencies please get in touch.


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