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The Power of Checklists

Checklists play a vital operational role in many businesses, particularly those which involve regular repeated processes and which require strict compliance under legal or regulatory oversight.

It’s tempting to think that only simplistic processes can benefit from the application of checklists but this is far from true. Pilots are well known to use checklists to guide crucial and complex safety processes before take-off, and one of the world’s leading thinkers in professional medical care – Dr. Atul Gawande – noted in his 2014 BBC Reith Lecture that systems and checklists would play a vital part in the future of medical care and reduction of practitioner failure. Checklists can help guide best practice, ensure process consistency, drive quality, reduce cost, and align operations to compliance requirements.

In many industries, including the catering and foodservice industries, front-line employees are using checklists to guide their activities. Frequently, these checklists are still pen-and-paper however, leading to an unfortunate level of inefficiency. Pen-and-paper is labour intensive due to the amount of manual processing involved in record creation, management, and storage. It’s also hard to verify that the right person has created records at the right time in the right way, and there is nothing to remind staff to create them. The data generated by paper-based record keeping is also highly difficult to leverage or analyse in any meaningful way.

With this in mind, there is great potential to replace pen-and-paper checklists with a technology system that can boost productivity, visibility and compliance. The minimum set of requirements for such a system would be that it is at least as easy to use as pen-and-paper, that it uses practical and robust hardware, that it records and stores data with integrity, that it provides alerting and feedback to users and managers, and that it allows for rich reporting and analysis. These requirements go beyond conventional ERP and process management applications, requiring a bespoke system that tightly integrates hardware and software.

The Checkit system has been purpose-built to power digital checklists, simplify record creation, provide central storage and management of records, and provide powerful reporting and analysis. Its key features are as follows:

  • A centralised cloud-based management system allowing management to define checklists and processes to groups of employees. Management can determine what process needs to be done, who should do it, when they should do it and where they should do it.
  •  Checkit Memos – practical and robust touch screen devices, which allow staff to easily work through process and record completion. The Memos also alert staff members when tasks are due and will escalate to supervisors and managers if completion is not recorded. This helps to minimise process failure unless there is failure at all levels of management.
  • Automated measurement devices such as fridge temperature monitors or food probes, which communicate wirelessly with the Checkit Memos for automatic data recording with integrity.
  • Management alerting when checks go uncompleted or exceptions arise which require remedial action.
  • Centralised and secure data storage for all records.
  • Simple data retrieval – ideal for demonstrating compliance to, for example, an Environmental Health Officer.
  • Customisable dashboards and analytical functionality to provide meaningful and actionable insight.

Adopting the Checkit system has the potential to deliver significant return on investment for food service and catering businesses, whilst also making a tangible difference to the efficiency and quality of key processes performed.  To find out more get in touch on 01223 941 450 or contact us.

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