May 27, 2020 | Mark Paradies

Are Your Safety, Quality, and Equipment Reliability Improvement Initiatives Falling Behind Because of COVID?

Falling Behind

Safety, Quality, & Equipment Reliability Improvements Fall Behind

Are you falling behind implementing your improvement initiatives?

We all know what has been going on since March. People have been focused almost exclusively on COVID-19. Therefore, we have been distracted from almost everything else. I’m not saying that the distraction isn’t justified. I’m simply saying that the distraction from work, especially longer-term improvement initiatives, is a fact. Therefore, your efforts to improve safety, quality, and equipment reliability may have slipped off-track. They may have fallen behind.

You may not have thought much about this because the focus has shifted to:

  • essential workers
  • social distancing
  • obtaining hand sanitizer and masks
  • measuring employees temperature

These are important things to keep your company operating. But there are other ways people can be injured or worse at work. There are other mistakes that can impact the quality of your product or service. And a virus can’t reduce equipment reliability but it may distract the people working to improve equipment performance.

Falling behind implementing performance improvement initiative can cause consequences in the future because:

  • workplace significant injuries and fatalities won’t be prevented,
  • quality programs can slip and cause significant harm to the company’s reputation, and
  • equipment performance can falter and cause expensive downtime and missed product shipment.

But, am I sure that people have stopped thinking about improvement? Read on and see…

Another Measure of Interest in Improvement Initiatives

Measure your goals

When I started being concerned about the lack of focus on improvement, I started looking for ways to confirm this distraction (or lack of follow up on improvement initiatives). Sure enough, in the Root Cause Network™ Newsletter statistic, there was a sign. Since the start of March, we have seen a very noticeable reduction in the number of clicks on articles about improving performance. This reduction is outside the normal variation that we track. Once people started working from home, the number of clicks on articles about improvement decreased by more than 1/3.

This proves that at least some people weren’t reading about potential ways to improve. They were distracted. Perhaps by the tumult over the virus. Maybe because they were laid off when the economy fell flat. Or maybe they were working from home with their kids and were overwhelmed.

Should You Be Concerned?

If you are still employed, how can you tell if your improvement initiatives are falling behind?

Well, you could wait for lagging indicators to tell you that safety, quality, or equipment reliability are getting worse or aren’t improving. But by the time you see these stats change, you will be months or maybe even a year behind in your improvement initiatives.

You could look at proactive indicators. For example, are you falling behind on scheduled improvement initiatives? Are folks performing audits and assessments or have they been canceled because people are working from home?

Finally, are you reading about ways to improve performance? (You are reading this article, but what about those who aren’t reading?)

My bet is that many people should be concerned.

My bet is that by next year, we will be able to clearly see that people took their eyes off the ball. People let their improvement initiatives fall behind. In some cases, because of the economic downturn, experienced employees were let go and inexperienced employees may be hired to replace them.

Be on the lookout for signs that safety, quality, and equipment reliability are getting worse. If you see them, you need to be very concerned.

What Can You Do?

It is time to RESTART your improvement efforts.

If you attended the 2020 Global TapRooT® Summit and returned to work only to be distracted by the COVID-19 pandemic, review the ideas that you brought home (see your Roadmap to Success) and get back on track planning and implementing your improvements.

If you have a proactive audit/assessment/evaluation program to help you improve safety, quality, or equipment reliability, make sure that the audits are being performed. If they aren’t, get them restarted. And if they are being performed, review the results to check that the audits/assessments/evaluations are being rigorously performed. Make sure they aren’t just going through the motions or, worse yet, just gun-decking the evaluations to say they are complete when they weren’t performed while people sat at home.

sitting at home working

Start reading more about performance improvement and start implementing NEW ideas to improve safety, quality, and equipment reliability.

Start with the articles in the Root Cause Network™ Newsletter.

There is an even more extensive source of knowledge … the NEW 10-book-set of TapRooT® Books.

The NEW 10-book-set of TapRooT® Books

Order yours by clicking on the link below:

The last two books were released at the Summit (in March) and the complete set became available in April. Find out more about the books by watching this video…

Or see this blog article:

Finally, save the date for the 2021 Global TapRooT® Summit on June 14-18. The Summit will be in Knoxville, Tennessee. We are finalizing the speakers this month and we should have the Summit website updated by the end of June. But for now, know that you should be there to learn performance improvement best practices and hear from some great keynote speakers. Watch for more information in the coming weeks.

Have Additional Ideas?

Do you have additional ideas that people should use to restart their improvement efforts? Share them by leaving a comment below.

We all need help getting our workplaces back on track as the economy restarts and our companies get people back to work. (Yes – some of you have been designated as essential … so you never left work.) Everyone should be thinking about the improvements they were considering BEFORE COVID-19 and getting their improvement programs back on track.

Thanks for your help and your efforts to improve:

  • Safety
  • Quality
  • Equipment Reliability

We will be sending more ideas your way on this blog and in our newsletter.

Get Back On Track!

Now isn’t the time to blame people for lack of progress due to a global pandemic.

NOW is the time to get back on track with your improvement initiatives.

Don’t be left behind!

falling behind?

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