Procedure Required for Measuring a Process?

F

FrameReader

#1
Hi everyone.

I'm going to use a Fire Department analogy to frame this question.

Suppose that a fire department has made a commitment to the municipality that it serves that a maximum of 17 minutes will pass between

a) the fire alarm going off in the station
b) the first fire truck arriving at the scene of the fire

I think I'm right to believe that the Fire Department would need a corrective action procedure to deal with those instances when we fail to arrive at the scene of a fire within 17 minutes. We've got that.

I'm unclear, however, as to whether we need to actually define a procedure outlining how we go about measuring our response time.

It seems to me that measuring the response time is a cut & dry affair - basically, we start the clock when the alarm goes off, and we stop it when we arrive at the scene. That's it. Then we hold ourselves accountable for the results.

I'd rather not write a procedure detailing how exactly the response time is measured if I don't have to.

So I'm thinking, wouldn't it be sufficient for the quality manual / quality policy / quality objectives to specify the 17-minute response time, without getting into the details of how we determine when to 'start' and 'stop' the 'response time' clock.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts,

FrameReader
 
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Randy

Super Moderator
#2
You've got response time pegged pretty good, I (we) did the same thing 30 years ago with our response time (I was a police officer) and we made money from it with the community.

Your question is whether or not you need to document the method by which response will be measured, as I understand it. Unless there has been some dramatic change in dispatching use what has historically been done and accepted...Note the time of the call being received, note the time that the unit is dispatched, and note the time they state they have arrived. More often than not, even in this day of electronic everything, there is going to be a written log...this is your record. So basically...NO, you already have a procedure that may have been working well for years.

As you noted, any deviation from your planned time of 17 minutes will be addressed by a CA, but have you considered Preventive Actions as well? Your 17 minute time is an objective, but is it realistic based upon your circumstances and is it an actual objective defined by you or is it a requirement defined by others?
 
#3
A procedure is defined as a specified way to carry out a process. So every process should have a procedure. The question is does the procedure have to be documented? To answer that look at 4.2.1, specifically note 2. If you need the process to be documented to avoid unwanted variation in the process, then NECESSITY requires documentation. If the procesess can be repeated without unwanted variation, then no documentation may be necessary.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#4
Hi everyone.

I'm going to use a Fire Department analogy to frame this question.

Suppose that a fire department has made a commitment to the municipality that it serves that a maximum of 17 minutes will pass between

a) the fire alarm going off in the station
b) the first fire truck arriving at the scene of the fire

I think I'm right to believe that the Fire Department would need a corrective action procedure to deal with those instances when we fail to arrive at the scene of a fire within 17 minutes. We've got that.

I'm unclear, however, as to whether we need to actually define a procedure outlining how we go about measuring our response time.

It seems to me that measuring the response time is a cut & dry affair - basically, we start the clock when the alarm goes off, and we stop it when we arrive at the scene. That's it. Then we hold ourselves accountable for the results.

I'd rather not write a procedure detailing how exactly the response time is measured if I don't have to.

So I'm thinking, wouldn't it be sufficient for the quality manual / quality policy / quality objectives to specify the 17-minute response time, without getting into the details of how we determine when to 'start' and 'stop' the 'response time' clock.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts,

FrameReader
Without knowing what you mean by "need," (is it terms of conformity to a standard, or just what makes sense) a couple of thoughts come to mind. First, you should be careful about defining absolutes like this because our old friend Murphy is always lurking in the shadows. Better, I think, to define a target of some sort and then measure your continualous ability to meet it. In order to do this, you have to understand the variation in the system, and what the system can reasonably be expected to do.

The other thing is that you're dealing with a measurement system, and in order for measurements to be meaningful, they must be reasonably consistent. This means that everyone who measures must use the same system and method. To define such a method and then not capture it as a written requirement wouldn't make much sense to me.
 

yodon

Staff member
Super Moderator
#5
I'm reminded of the airlines' measurement for "on time." If I understand correctly, airlines measure "on time" by the time they back away from the gate. The plane could sit on the tarmac for hours and hundreds could miss connectng flights. But if they backed away from the gate at the prescribed time, they were on time.

So from a consumer, that measurement doesn't mean all that much to me. I realize there are a lot of factors that are out of the airlines' hands; but it's not a meaningful metric to me.
 
#6
Typically, measurement of the process is included in the process description documentation, since it's required to show if the process is performing as planned. As Randy says, it's not necessary to have 'yet another' document.
 
#7
Hi everyone.

I'm going to use a Fire Department analogy to frame this question.

Suppose that a fire department has made a commitment to the municipality that it serves that a maximum of 17 minutes will pass between

a) the fire alarm going off in the station
b) the first fire truck arriving at the scene of the fire

I think I'm right to believe that the Fire Department would need a corrective action procedure to deal with those instances when we fail to arrive at the scene of a fire within 17 minutes. We've got that.

I'm unclear, however, as to whether we need to actually define a procedure outlining how we go about measuring our response time.

It seems to me that measuring the response time is a cut & dry affair - basically, we start the clock when the alarm goes off, and we stop it when we arrive at the scene. That's it. Then we hold ourselves accountable for the results.

I'd rather not write a procedure detailing how exactly the response time is measured if I don't have to.

So I'm thinking, wouldn't it be sufficient for the quality manual / quality policy / quality objectives to specify the 17-minute response time, without getting into the details of how we determine when to 'start' and 'stop' the 'response time' clock.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts,

FrameReader
Assuming that this scenario was developed with the intention to apply it to ISO 9001, keep in mind that there are only six topic that require a documented procedure. Determining response time, or for that matter documenting how to monitor your processes is not one of them.

So there probably is no "need" to have a written procedure for this. That doesn't keep you from having one if you think it would be beneficial.
 
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