Mark Paradies, president of System Improvements and co-developer of TapRooT®
In the food and manufacturing industry, ensuring proper food safety is indispensable, as a single food-related recall can negatively impact a company’s growth and success at the cost of human life. Though the food industry was one of the least regulated industries, it has witnessed a drastic change over the years. Governments worldwide have imposed stringent rules and regulations that food chain operators must abide by to ensure the food is safe and of adequate quality. For this reason, the majority of the food manufacturing companies today are looking to adopt best practices to improve food safety and performance. One of the better ways to discover and understand the initiating causes of a food industry problem is through root cause analysis. As most of the food manufacturing companies are drifting away from traditional techniques and emphasizing root cause analysis to improve quality and performance, System Improvements Inc., a renowned specialist in root cause analysis, has played a pivotal role. Having been in the safety and regulation industry for a long time now, the company has researched human factors, equipment reliability and developed the best Root Cause Analysis/incident investigation systems—TapRooT®
. SI also provides unique processes, assistance in designing and improving performance improvement programs and investigating the root causes of accidents, incidents, sentinel events, equipment failures, and quality issues.
Mark Paradies and Linda Unger, co-developers of the TapRooT®
System, crafted this systematic approach to incident investigations without all the technical jargon human factors experts use.
This makes it easily accessible to plant personnel, engineers, and managers to find and fix problems in their facilities without extensive human factors training. “Food industry is very similar to other regulated industries that require root cause analysis to improve reliability and performance,” states Paradies.
However, most of the companies in the food industry have limited knowledge and training on root cause analysis. So, they assume that root cause analysis is more or less common sense, and they use something like fishbone diagrams or other traditional techniques to find the cause of the incident. “But what they don’t realize is those techniques don’t get them past their current knowledge,” emphasizes Paradies. SI has built TapRooT® to help the user analyze human performance and human error issues and give them the kind of questions a human expert might look at or dig into without requiring extensive training. The TapRooT® System is also integrated with Root Cause Tree®, a robust diagram that helps users understand where to ask questions, what questions they need to ask and what areas they should dig into to look at why the human error occurred.
All in all, the TapRooT® tool helps users understand and organize evidence about what happened while reducing investigator bias and ensuring the facts make sense without developing hypotheses. Once the cause of the incident is identified, users can develop effective fixes for problems using the Corrective Action Helper Guide® and Safeguard Analysis to stop repeat incidents or significantly reduce their consequences. “Our ultimate objective is to help food manufacturing and other industries to improve performance by analyzing and fixing problems to prevent major accidents, quality issues, equipment failures, environmental damage, and production issues,” asserts Paradies. TapRooT® also offers training modules and a worldwide network of experienced instructors/facilitators with extensive real-world experience. This helps them answer tough questions in TapRooT® Courses and provide expert assistance when facilitating difficult investigations.
With vast experience and robust tools, SI has helped many companies in many different industries to achieve improved safety. Paradies sheds light upon how SkyLine Mine used TapRooT® to enhance investigations, stop fault finding, reduce injuries, & cut workers’ compensation costs. Skyline Mines is an underground coal-mining operation that was looking for ways to be better-than-average, reduce lost-time injury, reportable injury rate and be an injury-free workplace. They had problems with regulatory (MSHA) findings and workers’ compensation cases. Also, they were struggling to control injuries and accidents in the mining sites. Upon partnering with SI and using its dynamic root cause analysis tools, the coal-mining company was able to identify the cause and reduce mortality rate and injuries like never before.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, SI successfully adapted to the new norm by replacing classroom training with virtual training sessions. Now, the clients can attend the training from anywhere at any time. Two interesting future events, SI is organizing a Global TapRooT® Summit in Knoxville, Tennessee, from June 14th to 18th, 2021. Interested participants can learn valuable best practices to take their team’s performance—and that of the whole organization—to the next level and meet like-minded people to share thoughts and enhance knowledge.