And there’s a simple way to safeguard against errors, according to Atul Gawande’s book, “The Checklist Manifesto,” which follows the story of the difference checklists made in a hospital ICU.
Dr. Peter Pronovost, a critical-care specialist at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and his colleagues decided to try to combat line infections by simply making a checklist of five steps and having nurses monitor doctors to ensure they were done correctly.
After monitoring results for a year, they found dramatic evidence that the checklists were working — the 10-day line-infection rate went from 11 percent to zero. They continued the procedure and calculated that, in this one hospital, the checklist had prevented 43 infections and eight deaths, and saved $2 million in costs.
As Pronovost continued the experiment, he found that checklists had two main benefits.
1) They helped with memory recall, especially with mundane matters that are easily overlooked.
2) They explicitly stated the minimum, expected steps in complex processes. The checklists established a higher standard of baseline performance.
So what can retailers learn from Pronovost?
No matter what industry we work in, we can apply the checklist principles to our jobs. By clearly stating the steps to repetitive, but important, jobs and empowering team members to hold each other accountable, companies can ensure that all jobs are done correctly — decreasing mistakes and boosting the bottom line.
Source: BAKADESUYO, February 2011