Better information means better management
Better information means better management
By Mark Anderson
Businesses continually strive to “break down the silos” and allow their people to communicate in a seamless workflow. Essentially, management is asking, “How can we make the information we pass back and forth between departments flow faster and easier, with more benefit for everyone in the company?”
For most transit agencies of any size, this dilemma typically involves more meetings that invariably leave the staff yet to accomplish the work they were hired to perform. A meeting alone is not enough; nor is the “old way” of managing the flow of information and data – maintaining personnel records on Excel spreadsheets and perhaps a hard copy folder for each employee.
In an attempt at innovation, a company might go so far to put all the collected information into one comprehensive file. Still, in this scenario, critical data is often omitted or goes missing, making for an incomplete report that leaves it unclear as to the next step, who must be contacted or the person ultimately responsible. The work day ends up having more to do with tracking a paper trail than understanding and managing the actual performance of employees.
The goal is to work together more effectively and more efficiently, and may ultimately require the organization to take a “giant step” into new technology that eliminates most of the paperwork.
“The goal is to work together more effectively and more efficiently.”
Trackit Manager is one such application that connects people electronically within every department through the use of tablets and one all-inclusive cloud-based database. While adhering to their assigned responsibilities within their silos, their use of Trackit Manager makes their work more transparent and accessible as information. Data and directives flow easily from one individual to the next.
As supervisors and managers fill out their reports, observations and activity reports, others can tap in and add to the files with regard to their own responsibilities and functions. A person at each stage or department can attach additional documents, take photos with the tablet and attach, and forward it all directly to the correct individual.
Using the Trackit Manager safety module as an example, an agency has the capability to electronically track every accident, incident and safety issue, and establish a comprehensive record for purposes of risk analysis and human resources; providing management with the information to make informed decisions concerning policies and costs for training, safety and service.
Managers and assigned personnel collect and enter all critical data and documentation in the database at each step in the workflow. For example, supervisors charged with interacting with bus operators in prescribed safety contacts and performance observations use their tablet on-site to document and notate all they discussed, in order to help drivers perform their duties with safety in mind.
In this case, management can then search the safety-related data for trends that they determine high risk, such as the locations of frequent accidents or incidents of unsafe operator behavior.
If in the course of such a field visit, a supervisor observes another questionable situation or circumstance, he can immediately record photos and details and submit a quick memo for the record. That same information becomes part of the employee’s personnel file; accessible by everyone with permission, who, again, can then make their additions and direct the file for appropriate action. A safety supervisor can notify the training department that a driver involved in a preventable accident requires additional training. The training department would then tap into the app to assign that driver to the training list; and then send a notice he or she has come off the list when the training is complete.
An auditing component running in the background ensures the company as a whole is following its prescribed process and procedures in every operational area; and is able to readily demonstrate the process and verify everyone is in lockstep.
Trackit Manager ensures all prescribed activities are reported and maintains metrics on the matters discussed, such as repeat infractions and their corrective actions. All is transparent once it is entered in the system. Every supervisor can easily call up the entire record and dig deeper into the information needed to promoting more accurate and effective supervision.
Mark Anderson is president of Trackit LLC, La Mesa, CA. Trackit Manager provides paperless digital tools to systematically collect – track – analyze —and allows managers to act on the personnel data generated by transit agencies.