Just as naval aircraft carriers, nuclear power plants, and air traffic control systems successfully avoid disasters that would be expected to occur with great regularity, research providers and CRAs must strive to become highly reliable.
High reliability organizations (HROs) are able to avoid catastrophes while operating in environments where accidents and errors can be expected due to significant risk factors and complexity. As we described in our last blog post, “Can the Background Screening Industry Achieve Near-Perfect Quality in the Face of Complexity?” important decisions are made every day based on background screening data. When the quality of this data is unknown or known to be poor, the risk of bad decision making is great.
At Wholesale Screening Solutions, we strive to be highly reliable. To do so, we follow a Six Sigma approach, maintain a culture of quality, and we subscribe to five core principles of HROs. These principles are:
1. Preoccupation with failure
High reliability organizations look deep into mistakes to find the true underlying cause.
At Wholesale Screening Solutions, we look at outliers over averages. We want to see the extremes especially if they related to failures or defects in our processes. Our goal is to mistake-proof our systems, attacking the root cause not just the symptom of any problems or defects.
2. Reluctance to simplify
HROs do not apply generalized terms to describe sources of failure.
At Wholesale Screening, our quality team looks at every defect for patterns to determine if it occurred as a result of systemic issue, a training issue, or other issue. Defects are pinpointed and addressed through corrective processes and actions.
3. Sensitivity to operations
HROs continuously evaluate outcomes to determine if they are in fact meeting the operational goals of the organization.
At Wholesale Screening Solutions, we are obsessed with metrics. Through historical and predictive analytics, we are able to see at a given moment and even predict into the future whether we are meeting our operational goals. Monthly “Current State of Quality” meetings are used to recap our current quality scores across many dimensions in order to identity for trends and patterns and opportunities to improve.
4. Commitment to resilience
HROs can weather the impact of a failure, continuing to operate under degraded conditions while marshalling resources to restore capacity.
At Wholesale Screening, we pride ourselves in maintaining a large nationwide network of highly trained researchers. On top of this, our operating system is setup to anticipate and quickly scale up and down to meet client needs. We also operate with a risk management mindset, with processes in place to handle a wide range of possible failures. In these ways, we are equipped for resilience.
5. Deference to expertise
HROs defer to the true experts in each situation, knowing that the expert involved is the person with hands-on knowledge of the operation at the point of a failure, not the “expert” as defined by hierarchical authority.
Since our processes are well documented and defined, we know where to turn for answers and solutions when we identify a defect. The culture of quality we have built is one where people along the chain of workflow are invested in becoming highly reliable.
With lives and livelihoods at stake, we can’t think of a better reason to continue to strive for high reliability. How would your business improve by working with Wholesale Screening Solutions? We invite you to give our services a try.