We all make mistakes; this is just a fact. As humans we fail from time to time, as managers and leaders we must look at ways to eliminate mistakes. I am positive that there is a mistake in your business which is made regularly. It might be small, it might not get reported but it costs time, money, may lead to customer service issues or worse health and safety issues. You may have tried to solve this issue but it keeps coming back. You have identified that it’s just human error, people making silly mistakes or just something that can’t be solved. I would suggest that it can be solved, it can be prevented and it can be eliminated.
All human errors or mistakes can and should be investigated, and then systems, mechanisms, changes, procedures and checks need to be put in place so they don’t happen again. Why did we ship that product to the wrong place, why did we not connect those two parts together correctly, why did we take that order or booking, why didn’t we complete the form correctly? We need to stop these things from happening.
Human Error Investigation & Elimination is vital for every business. As part of the investigation into a mistake there is a whole series of questions and areas to look at. Why not use this basic list of questions next time you see an issue or mistake in your business. If you train your staff in Human Error Investigation & Elimination then they will understand why Humans make mistakes, how to identify them, investigate them and then eliminate them.
Test this list of questions on any mistake you have in your business. You will discover that it’s more than just about training people, having a procedure and measuring performance.
|1. Was there a procedure that should have been followed?
|2. Had that person been trained in that procedure?
|3. Can you prove that they understood the procedure?
|4. Had they been told not to follow the procedure? If so why?
|5. How much experience did the person have in completing this task?
|6. Did they have the tools, equipment, materials, systems to ensure that they could do the job?
|7. Were they motivated to do the job correctly? Is there a consequence to not doing the job correctly?
|8. Was the person under stress at the time of the task being completed?
|9. How were communications and relationships at the time between managers, team leaders, supervisors, other team?
|10. Were other team members exerting peer pressure in some way on this individual?
|11. What time of the day did the mistake happen?
|12. Was the individual distracted in some way?
|13. Is the individual capable of completing the task?
|14. What kind of sleep pattern has the person had?
|15. Were they eating properly?
|16. Physically were there any issues – out the night before for example?
|17. Is there enough light, too much noise or other distractions?
|18. How is morale at the moment?
|19. Is there tension or issues with supervisors, managers, team leaders?
|20. Was the information given to the individual misleading, confusing or badly timed?
Anyone involved in business improvement, continuous improvement, lean, six sigma, problem solving or operational excellence all know the importance of identifying and then eliminating true root causes. Human Error Investigation & Elimination is a key tool to analyse a problem and then develop solutions to eliminate them. Mistake Proofing and Poke Yoke are just some ways to eliminate mistakes but we need to identity the real root cause first. Learn about Human Errors and you can make a massive step forward in your fight against errors in your business.
Sign up for our Human Error Investigation & Elimination training and see for yourself how it can help your business.