Quality Tools to Cope with the Pandemic
The COVID pandemic has changed the way we work.  As part of strategies to prevent infections, many organizations have adopted remote working to maintain social distance.  However, for many organizations this has not been the case.  For sectors such as health care, the food industry, and certain manufacturing sectors, to name a few, workers have continued to work onsite.  This has led us to establish new protocols in work areas to minimize the risk for workers by ensuring physical distance, hygiene, among other measures.  

Quality tools and lean principles have been of great help in this new reality.  The principles of risk management help us to review our operations and identify areas where there is a risk to workers, operations, and the quality of the product or service we provide. In this way, we have taken action to mitigate those risks.  The development of Standardized Work helps train work teams in the use of new standards to ensure safety and agility in our operations.  It also serves as a guide to observe the process and ensure adherence to these standards and enforce them when necessary.  Visual Management helps us to share work instructions clearly and visually.  For example, in areas where there are multiple people interacting or sharing equipment, visual instructions help perform sanitation and disinfection tasks consistently. Color codes show the correct direction of flow of people and maintain distance between workers.  

How have quality tools helped you manage the pandemic in your workplace? What quality tools or principles have you applied? We would like to hear about your experiences!
1 Replies
As I am working remotely from home, the safeguards relate to the steps taken as an individual citizen and household.  These include wearing suitable masks, maintaining social distancing, and frequent washing and santizing.

The HACCP (Hazard Analysis - Critical Control Point) methodology incorporates multiple practices to identify, prioritize, and mitigate physical, chemical, and biological risks and hazards within a process.  Although typically associated with food safety, these practices can be benchmarked toward COVID prevention and controls.

I also experience controls when I visit the local YMCA.  Members who use the facilities have to register in advance (Contact Tracing), sanitize frequently when entering and using equipment (cleaning themselves and the equipment before and after use), and acknowledge if there is the presence of any symptoms (monitoring).  There are floor markers for positioning patrons, which visually enable social distancing.  The areas are monitored by staff who frequently interact with patrons while supplementing the efforts to clean and keep items organized.

It is important to be mindful and considerate of others.  The mental state of people should be conducive to communicating and collaborating in a respectful manner.