Data Replication

Medical Data Form

These days, not many companies can continue to operate once their entire computer system goes down. All the information needed in daily operations are stored in databases while the interfaces that make use of them all come in the form of software applications.

Software applications can be rapidly reinstalled and configured for as long as the necessary programs are available. Data, however, cannot be reconstructed as quickly even with hard copies available. It is therefore necessary to store your data in a replicated setup so that when one section goes down, operations can proceed without interruption.

For instance, if a category 5 hurricane renders your main office useless, you can simply rent workstations elsewhere, connect to the Internet and continue with your usual transactions for as long as data is readily accessible.

So how do we ensure the accessibility and reliability of your data? Here’s what we’ll do:

  • Activate data replication on your database management system. If your DBMS does not support replication, we’ll migrate all your data to one that does.
  • If absolutely necessary, we can allow modernised systems to run parallel to your legacy systems and prepare both for full modernisation when you’re ready.
  • Implement fail-over technologies where applicable to provide for automatic switching to a backup data server or network from one that has just failed.

We can also assist you with the following:

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Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management (TQM) is another business management approach that focuses on the involvement of all members of the organisation to participate in improving processes, products, services, and the culture in which they work in. It is important that every team member realises how each individual and each activity affects, and in turn is affected by, others.

With the use of combined quality and management tools, TQM also aims to reduce losses brought about by wasteful practices, a common concern in most companies. Using the TQM strategy, business would also be able to identify the cause of a defect, thereby preventing it from entering the final product.

Deming’s 14 Points

At the core of the Total Quality Management concept and implementation is Deming’s 14 points, a set of guidelines on quality as conceptualised by W Edwards Deming, one of the pioneers of quality. Deming’s 14 points are as follows:

  1. Create constancy of purpose for improving products and services.
  2. Adopt the new philosophy.
  3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality.
  4. End the practice of awarding business on price alone; instead, minimise total cost by working with a single supplier.
  5. Improve constantly and forever every process for planning, production and service.
  6. Institute training on the job.
  7. Adopt and institute leadership.
  8. Drive out fear.
  9. Break down barriers between staff areas.
  10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations and targets for the workforce.
  11. Eliminate numerical quotas for the workforce and numerical goals for management.
  12. Remove barriers that rob people of pride of workmanship, and eliminate the annual rating or merit system.
  13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement for everyone.
  14. Put everybody in the company to work accomplishing the transformation.

But if you were to reduce to bare bones the TQM philosophy from Deming’s 14 points, it would all come down to two simple goals:

  1. To make things right the first time; and
  2. To work for continuous improvement.

As with all other quality management process, the end goal is to be able to offer products and services that meet and even exceed customer’s expectations.

Find out more about our Quality Assurance services in the following pages:

2015 ESOS Guidelines Chapter 7, 8 & 9 – Sign-Off, Compliance & Appeals

This is the final chapter in our series of short posts summarising the quite complex ESOS guidelines (click on ?Comply with ESOS? to see the details). This one addresses the legalities to follow to complete your report – and how to appeal if you are not happy with any of the Environment Agency?s decisions.

  1. Director Sign-Off

This is by no means an easy ride. Confirmation of the work at individual or lead assessor level locks the company into the penalty cycle in the event there are significant irregularities. By signing off the assessment, the board level director(s) # agree that they have

  • Reviewed the enterprise?s ESOS recommendations
  • Believe the enterprise is within the scope of the scheme
  • Believe the enterprise is compliant with the scheme
  • Believe the information provided is correct

Having an internal assessor requires a second board-level signature.

  1. Compliance

You report compliance on the internet. This is free and you can do it at any time within the deadline. You can dip in and out of the process as many times as you wish, but must use the link in the receipting email. While this is something a board member must do, there is no reason why the lead assessor should not complete the basics. The online compliance notification addresses the following topics:

  • The ESOS contact person in the enterprise
  • Any aggregation / dis-aggregation during the period
  • The names and contact details of the lead assessor
  • The proportion of energy consumption per compliance route

The Environment Agency will acknowledge receipt. This does not constitute acceptance. You should keep the ESOS evidence pack in a safe place with at least one backup elsewhere.

  1. Compliance & Enforcement Issues

In the event the Environment Agency decides your enterprise has not met ESOS requirements, it may either (a) issue a compliance notice with instructions, or (b) apply one of the following civil penalties:

  • A fine of up to ?5,000 for failure to maintain records
  • A fine of up to ?50,000 for failure to undertake an energy audit
  • A fine of up to ?50,000 for a false or misleading statement

Any enterprise has the right of appeal against government decisions. In the case of ESOS, this is via:

  • The First-Tier Tribunal if your enterprise is England, Wales or off-shore based
  • The Scottish Minister if your enterprise is based in Scotland
  • The Planning Commission if your enterprise is Northern Ireland-based

The notice you appeal against will supply details of the appeal steps to take.

This blog and its companion chapters concerning the ESOS Guidelines as amended 2015 are with compliments of ecoVaro. We are the people who break ESOS data into manageable chunks of information, so that board-level directors have greater confidence in what they sign.

What Kanban can do for Call Centre Response Times

When a Toyota industrial engineer named Taiichi Ohno was investigating ways to optimise production material stocks in 1953, it struck him that supermarkets already had the key. Their customers purchased food and groceries on a just-in-time basis, because they trusted continuity of supply. This enabled stores to predict demand, and ensure their suppliers kept the shelves full.

The Kanban system that Taiichi Ohno implemented included a labelling system. His Kanban tickets recorded details of the factory order, the delivery destination, and the process intended for the materials. Since then, Ohno?s system has helped in many other applications, especially where customer demand may be unpredictable.

Optimising Workflow in Call Centres
Optimising workflow in call centres involves aiming to have an agent pick up an incoming call within a few rings and deal with it effectively. Were this to be the case we would truly have a just-in-time business, in which operators arrived and left their stations according to customer demand. For this to be possible, we would need to standardise performance across the call centre team. Moving optimistically in that direction we would should do these three things:

  • Make our call centre operation nimble
  • Reduce the average time to handle calls
  • Decide an average time to answer callers

When we have done that, we are in a position to apply these norms to fluctuating call frequencies, and introduce ?kanbanned? call centre operators.

Making Call Centre Operations Nimble
The best place to start is to ask the operators and support staff what they think. Back in the 1960?s Robert Townsend of Avis Cars famously said, ?ask the people ? they know where the wheels are squeaking? and that is as true as ever.

  1. Begin by asking technical support about downtime frequencies, duration, and causes. Given the cost of labour and frustrated callers, we should have the fastest and most reliable telecoms and computer equipment we can find.
  1. Then invest in training and retraining operators, and making sure the pop-up screens are valuable, valid, and useful. They cannot do their job without this information, and it must be at least as tech-savvy as their average callers are.
  1. Finally, spruce up the call centre with more than a lick of paint to awaken a sense of enthusiasm and pride. Find time for occasional team builds and fun during breaks. Tele-operators have a difficult job. Make theirs fun!

Reducing Average Time to Handle Calls
Average length of contact is probably our most important metric. We should beware of shortening this at the cost of quality of interaction. To calculate it, use this formula:

Total Work Time + Total Hold Time + Total Post Call Time

Divided By

Total Calls Handled in that Period

Share recordings of great calls that highlight how your best operators work. Encourage role-play during training sessions so people learn by doing. Publish your average call-handling time statistics. Encourage individual operators to track how they are doing against these numbers. Make sure your customer information is up to date. While they must confirm core data, limit this so your operators can get down to their job sooner.

Decide a Target Time to Answer Calls
You should know what is possible in a matter of a few weeks. Do not attempt to go too tight on this one. It is better to build in say 10% slack that you can always trim in future. Once you have decided this, you can implement your Kanban system.

Introducing Kanban in Your Call Centre Operation
Monitor your rate of incoming calls through your contact centre, and adjust your operator-demand metric on an ongoing basis. Use this to calculate your over / under demand factor. Every operator should know the value on this Kanban ticket. It will tell them whether to speed up a little, or slow down a bit so they deliver the effort the call rate demands. It will also advise the supervisor when to call up reserves.

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