Category: Summit

Using Safeguards Analysis to Find Root Causes

June 17th, 2016 by

Here is a great best practice tip from TapRooT® User, Jeff Linstedt from our last Global Summit.

Come to the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit and learn to solve your most pressing issues!

How do you define business critical?

June 16th, 2016 by


Today, I was talking to someone in an industry that has had a major price reduction in the commodity that they produce.

They said that they couldn’t attend the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit (August 1-5, San Antonio, TX) because there was a corporate travel ban. Only “business critical” travel was allowed.

That got me thinking … What is business critical travel?

If your travel would:

  • save someone’s life,
  • stop a major accident that would ruin your company’s reputation,
  • save your company big $$$$ (at least 10X more than the cost of travel),
  • keep one of your biggest client’s happy by preventing a quality issue, or
  • stop critical equipment from failing,

Would that be business critical?

I understand the need to meet budgets and cut costs in times of economic difficulties.

What I don’t understand is being “penny wise and pound foolish.”

I hope your company isn’t making a mistake by stopping critical improvements from being made. Critical improvements that would have been learned at the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit BUT won’t be because someone was afraid to ask to attend because only business critical travel is being allowed.

Want to learn about the sessions and lessons that will be shared at the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit? See the complete Summit schedule at:

Then register for the Summit at:

Preparedness: Responding To An Accident

June 15th, 2016 by

Part One


Part Two

In these videos (Part One and Part Two above), Alan Smith introduces fascinating case studies of serious incidents he has been involved in and lessons learned. He is the former Head of Major Crime Operations – Grampian Police, Scotland. As a career detective, he was the lead investigator in numerous homicide investigations. He is a Certified TapRooT® Instructor/Facilitator and has in-depth experience in numerous offshore tragedies including Piper Alpha and the MV Bourbon Dolphin. He is an Accredited Senior Investigator in Counter Terrorism and Kidnap and Ransom. Alan is the former Chair of the Scottish Senior Investigating Officer’s Conference.

Alan will be co-teaching Interviewing & Evidence Collection Techniques at the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit, August 1 & 2, San Antonio. He will also be leading a special session you don’t want to miss: Risk Assessing the Perfect Murder.

It’s not too late to register for the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit!

Enter the June Caption Writing Contest!

June 13th, 2016 by


Here in the TapRooT® office, we thoroughly enjoy your all’s clever captions during our caption contests. This month, we decided to make it TapRooT® Summit themed since our trip to San Antonio is coming up soon! Take a look at the picture of one of our Tech guys, Garrett, from the 2014 TapRooT® Summit, and come up with the most clever caption you can in 5 words or less to enter to win.

Contest Instructions:

1. Create your caption in five words or less. All captions with more than five words will be disqualified.

2. Type your caption in the comments section of this post by June 29th.

3. If you haven’t already, subscribe to the TapRooT® Friends & Experts e-newsletter to find out if you won.
(Email the Editor at with subject “Subscribe to Win”)

Our in-house instructors will vote on the most clever caption, and the winner will be announced via our e-newsletter and a blog post on June 30th.

Prize! The winner will receive a Big Texas Prize inspired by the upcoming Summit to thank you for joining TapRooT® in changing the way the world solves problems.

Why would Mark plead with you?

June 13th, 2016 by


We’re so impressed with how a large retail pharmacy approached a problem and their corrective actions not only improved their processes but also earned an impressive award! What can you proactively improve at your facility? How can we help?

If you’d like to learn more about how to be proactive in healthcare, check out our Medical Track at the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit, August 3-5, San Antonio, Texas.

LAST WEEK to Register and Get a Chance to Win a Great Prize!

June 8th, 2016 by


Register now! It only takes one ticket to win!

fitbit blaze

We are giving away an Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch to the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit early bird prize drawing winner and you still have a chance to win but it’s the LAST WEEK to get a ticket in the drawing.

Here’s how it works: Register on or before June 15 and receive ONE ticket in the drawing.

The early registration drawing will be held at the Kickoff Session, Wednesday, August 3, 2016 at 8:00 a.m. at The Westin Riverwalk (You must be present to win!). This drawing is in addition to the other prize giveaways we have planned for the 2016 Summit.

If you are planning to register for the Summit, don’t delay!

REGISTER NOW for the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit!

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Why Arc Flash is Important

June 6th, 2016 by

Electrical energy helps us in many ways, but when it is misused and an arc flash occurs … perhaps this video will help people get the message that arc flash precautions are important!


Want to learn more about arc flash safety? We have a session about it at the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit. The session titled “Arc Flash Prevention” is from 1:40-2:50 on Thursday in the Safety Best Practices Track. 

Scott King and Terry Butler will present Employee and contractor protection utilizing general electrical principles as referenced by OSHA and NFPA 70E 2015 guidelines and qualified low voltage safety training.

Learning Objectives for this session include:

  • Provide an overview of the importance of Arc Flash Safety
  • Understanding Electrical Hazards
  • Safe Work Practices
  • Incident Energy Exposure Levels
  • Risk Assessment Analysis
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Safety Training

See the complete 2106 Global TapRooT® Summit schedule at:

And register for the Summit at: 





Need to Learn Root Cause Essentials Before the Global Summit? Here is the Solution!

June 3rd, 2016 by

We’re offering our 2-day course right before the Global TapRooT® Summit!  Take the course and then stay for the 3-day Summit.  LEARN MORE!


Root Cause Analysis on Trends

June 2nd, 2016 by

Welcome to this week’s root cause analysis tips. This week I would like to talk about root cause analysis on trends.

One of the most common discussions I have with people involves what to do with the things you do not have time to investigate. Many companies use some sort of ranking or risk matrix to determine at what point something is important enough to warrant an investigation. I have some thoughts on this…


Sometimes people try to investigate everything and end up doing poor investigations.

First of all, sometimes people try to investigate everything and end up doing poor investigations on everything; that does not help anybody. One consideration on where to draw the line is related to your current numbers. For example, if you work in a plant that has a few incidents per year, if you have the resources to investigate, I say do it. But if you are looking at large numbers at a corporate level, you may not have the resources – and you have to decide where to draw the line.

So what about the minor incidents you have that don’t get investigated – what to do with them? Well, it goes beyond minor incidents, you have other things that can be trended, rootcaused (is that a word?), and corrected. It is actually quite easy to investigate a trend, the hard part is actually collecting the data. I call this getting things in the “right bucket.” Here are some examples of information you might collect (or should):

• Minor incidents
• Near Misses
• Audit Findings
• BBS Observations

If you do a good job of collecting data, you can then trend the information. Your trends should reveal what processes are causing you pain. You then investigate the PROCESS, rather than an incident. For example, let’s say you had some near misses, some audit findings, and some BBS observations related to your lockout/tagout process that revealed issues. You may have not had a major incident yet, but you have warning signs. You can’t (or don’t have time to) go back and do full blown investigations on each data point, so you map out the process with a SnapCharT®, adding everything you know about the process as conditions, and based on that information, you identify your known failures and potential failures as Significant Issues (the equivalent to Causal Factors) in TapRooT®. Then off to the Root Cause Tree® and corrective actions. You’ve done ONE investigation on potentially dozens (or hundreds) of issues. This is more effective and much easier than doing multiple bad investigations.

Investigation of trends is a very important consideration in Audit Programs. Again, do you have time to investigate every finding? Maybe not. Here is an example:

A corporate auditor for a big box store has 100 compliance questions on a checklist and 100 locations that were audited using this checklist in the past year. That is a fair amount of data. The auditor can use this data to develop a list of top findings and then analyze the biggest issues.

The data for the yearly compliance is presented on a Pareto Chart below.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 4.02.03 PM

The top two categories are related to a similar topic: required signage. The audits have revealed both missing signs and outdated signs. Let’s look at these issues together on a SnapCharT®. Significant Issues are marked with a triangle:

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 4.02.24 PM

Next, you take the Significant Issues through the Root Cause Tree®, and apply corrective actions. One investigation on dozens of findings.

I hate to use clichés, but WORK SMARTER NOT HARDER!

Want to learn more? I have a couple of opportunities that might interest you:

If you already collect good information and have good trending in place, consider attending the new TapRooT® for Audits Course on August 1-2.

If you are not there yet and want to learn how to collect data and trend, consider the Advanced Trending Techniques Course, also on August 1-2.

Thanks for taking the time to read the blog, and happy investigating/auditing.

May Contest Winner!

May 31st, 2016 by

The results are in, and apparently many of you know your TapRooT® Summit history. Way to go!

We asked, “In what year did Mark Paradies organize the first TapRooT® Summit?”

Although many answered correctly, I’m sure those of you who didn’t get to play are dying to know… 1994! Can you believe the TapRooT® Summit began in Gatlinburg, TN with just 33 attendees 23 years ago? We hope this gets you excited for the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit in San Antonio in August!

We had many responses, over half of them being correct, but there can only be one winner. After removing the incorrect responses and shuffling the correct ones, the winner of the May Contest is…

Charles Fowler – congratulations!

Thank you all for playing! Stay tuned for more contests this summer.

Don’t forget, registration for the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit is OPEN. Click here to register today.

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Everyday Hazard Analysis

May 30th, 2016 by

Here is a video with lessons learned about a fatal accident involving equipment (a scissor lift).

But there is an additional lesson that we can learn.

Every worksite should have a supervisor perform a quick Safeguard Analysis before people start work.

In this case, power lines were an obvious hazard (high voltage). And getting equipment with booms or lifts near them would cause the natural Safeguard (distance) to fail. If this Safeguard Analysis had been performed proactively, the worker could have been warned OR the actions (visually warnings and signage) could have been implemented to prevent the fatality.

Don’t wait for a fatality. Use TapRooT® to proactively prevent fatalities.

Would you like to learn to use TapRooT® to look for problems before accident, quality problems, and other failures happen? Then you should attend the upcoming TapRooT® for Audits Course on August 1-2 in San Antonio, Texas (just before the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit on August 3-5). Register here:

Certified TapRooT® Instructors: Important Information about Recertification and the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit

May 27th, 2016 by

Here are some exciting new developments and training updates for Certified Instructors.

In the next video, Michelle Wishoun and I discuss all the great things you can expect at this year’s Summit and why you need to be there.

Modify your schedule for the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit: Click here to learn how.

Don’t be afraid of Causal Factors!

May 27th, 2016 by

Is this your brain on Causal Factors:

What is a Causal Factor?  

What is NOT a Causal Factor?

Wait, is a Causal Factor the same as a root cause?  

When I find the Causal Factor, does that mean I know who/what to blame?  

Are you just plain tired and confused of all this root cause analysis terminology? REGISTER for this course and don’t be afraid of the big bad wolf Causal Factor!  Taught by one of my favorite people, Mr. Ken Turnbull.  You won’t regret it!


Special 2-Day Equifactor® Equipment Troubleshooting + TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis

May 27th, 2016 by

In just two days (right before the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit), learn how to troubleshoot equipment failures along with the essentials to conduct a TapRooT® root cause analysis incident investigation.  Then stay for the 3-day Summit!  LEARN MORE!



Where do you draw the line on what to investigate?

May 27th, 2016 by

At what point is something important enough to investigate? View the Slideshare below to examine this important question and REGISTER for Advanced Trending Techniques.



Avoid Known Problem-Solving Weaknesses in Process Improvement with TapRooT® Quality Problem-Solving

May 27th, 2016 by


Register for this Pre-Summit Course AND the Quality Track at the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit and maximize your success!

Interviewing & Evidence Collection Techniques

May 26th, 2016 by

I’m so excited to be co-teaching Interviewing & Evidence Collection Techniques at the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit with Alan Smith. If you want to learn a little about Alan, click here.  With Alan’s background as a former Detective Superintendent with the Grampian Police in Scotland, and my background in psychology and legal (preparing accident/injury cases for court), we will leave no stone unturned.  I guarantee there is no other course like this anywhere. Register today!



Can you answer “YES” to any of these six questions?

May 26th, 2016 by

Check out the Slideshare below  If you can answer “YES” to any of the six questions, THIS is the course you are looking for!



Are you Using these FIVE Dynamic NEW Features of TapRooT® VI?

May 26th, 2016 by


We have a 3-day Software Track at the 2016 Global Summit too!  
Look for “Software” on the left menu bar HERE to view the track schedule!


NEW Summit Session: Carl Dixon Teaches the Value of Recognizing the Illusion in Ourselves and in Others

May 26th, 2016 by

Are you building an empire on an illusion? Or is it a dream?

In the course of a lifetime, we are continually obliged to choose thoughts and take actions that support our progress and our very existence. Many times a day we must make a choice of what we are going to do, how we are going to do it, and why we are going to do it. We need a guiding thought on which to base these choices, and as humans have gotten more and more removed from the basic needs of survival we have created the ability to willfully be immersed in a made-up world constructed solely of the thoughts we select.

It’s natural, and perhaps inevitable, that sometimes we meander off the path of what’s best for us when the very powerful human brain can be ordered such that we’ll believe that something false is real, or that something real is false.

1. a thing that is or is likely to be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses.
2. A deceptive appearance or belief
3. A false idea or belief

Behaviour driven by illusion on a personal level or on an institutional scale is all around us, and is not a trifling thing. Illusion can lead either slowly or quickly to any and every kind of disaster or dissolution BECAUSE IT FLIES IN THE FACE OF REALITY.

The crash must come. “Reality will rear back and bite and bite like a snake”

When we invest our entire being, our future and our happiness into an illusion it is only a matter of time before all is lost. Yet, humankind must have hope to go forward with life and be inspired to greater effort; reality in itself does not inspire. Hope drives all progress. Humans are creative beings who need to make our world to order. We dream of what could be and set to work creating it.

How valuable then to recognize Illusion in ourselves or in others, with its twisting of what is, and distinguish it from the Real. Acknowledging the Real allows us the Dream.

“The Dream is a ladder; the illusion a wall”

Join CarDixon.Carll Dixon at the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit for this life-changing session, “A Life of Illusion – Getting to What is Real” (Best Practice Session 3) on Wednesday, August 3, 2016 from 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Dixon is a Canadian rock musician who has been a part of such bands as Coney Hatch, April Wine and The Guess Who. In 2008 he was involved in a near fatal car crash that could have cost him everything. His story is more than a tale of “had it all and almost lost it”; for Carl the story became, “What now?”

“Our thoughts determine our path; if we find ourselves on a bad path it’s never too late to substitute better thoughts in place of unsatisfactory ones. We have the ability to decide our thoughts, to choose strength over weakness, courage over fear, stoicism over complaint. Sure, it’s not always easy, but it can become a habit every time you remember that the strong choice is the better choice”.

Learn more about other alternative sessions you can choose to customize your schedule by visiting and clicking on the “Alternative Sessions” radio button on the top left menu bar.  This will display all of the alternative sessions in the red boxes on the schedule.  Let us know if you need help registering for any of them or if you want to change your schedule to add Dixon’s session at:


New Session in the Safety Track at the 2016 TapRoot® Summit – What Can You Learn from Criminals???

May 26th, 2016 by

Screen Shot 2016 05 25 at 10 51 12 PM

What can you learn about planning a high risk business activity from the planning for a high risk criminal activity?

Probably much more than you might think!

The Global TapRooT® Summit is all about learning from other industries and disciplines and it certainly is different learning from criminal activities and criminal investigations. This talk is based on Alan’s first hand experience with a murder investigation that will keep you riveted to his every word. Don’t miss it.

We have just scheduled a new talk in the Safety Track at the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit.  “Risk Assessing the Perfect Murder” will be held on Thursday, August 4, 2016 from 12:45 p.m. to 1:35 p.m.

Alan Smith, a former Detective Superintendant with the Grampian Police in Scotland, is now a TapRooT® Instructor and a Director of Matrix Risk Control in Aberdeen, Scotland and is leading this intriguing course.

See the complete 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit schedule by CLICKING HERE.

Register for the Safety Track at the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit (August 1-5 in San Antonio, Texas) by CLICKING HERE. Or add Alan’s talk to another track to customize your Summit experience.

Kevin McManus receives distinguished Fellows Award

May 24th, 2016 by

Kevin McManus

All of us at TapRooT® would like to extend our warmest congratulations to Kevin McManus who received The Fellows Award among 250 leaders in education and business at the 2016 IISE Honors & Awards Dinner held at the Disneyland Resort.

The Fellows Award recognizes outstanding leaders of the profession (IISE – Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers) who have made significant nationally recognized contributions to Industrial engineering. A Fellow is the highest classification of IISE membership, and has been given to only 400 individuals globally.

Kevin was nominated and selected for his contributions to Industrial Engineering through his volunteer activities. He has been a supporter of IISE for more than 35 years.  He has written 200 articles for the IISE monthly publication; held workshops; spoke at their conferences; and taught as a guest professor at universities globally.  Kevin is an examiner for the National Baldrige Performance Excellence Award (previously the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award), a position he has held for 16 years.

Kevin will be co-teaching Advanced Trending Techniques during 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit week (August 1 & 2, San Antonio, Texas) with Mark Paradies, System Improvements’ President.  He will also be presenting “What’s Holding You Back – Common Barriers to Process Excellence” and “Who Really Owns a Quality Defect” at the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit August 3-5, 2016.

Congratulations, Kevin, on your incredible contributions and hard-earned accomplishments!

Connect with Us

Filter News

Search News


Barb PhillipsBarb Phillips

Editorial Director

Chris ValleeChris Vallee

Six Sigma

Dan VerlindeDan Verlinde

Software Development

Dave JanneyDave Janney

Safety & Quality

Gabby MillerGabby Miller

Communications Specialist

Ken ReedKen Reed


Linda UngerLinda Unger

Vice President

Mark ParadiesMark Paradies

Creator of TapRooT®

Steve RaycraftSteve Raycraft

Technical Support

Success Stories

Our ongoing, sustained effort is to make jobs safer and to reduce (and eventually…

Otis Elevator, Russia

Our Acrylates Area Oxidation Reactor was experiencing frequent unplanned shutdowns (trips) that…

Rohm & Haas
Contact Us