When I was 18 years old I worked a summer at a well-known entertainment and amusement destination in Orlando, FL. Of all the amazing and magical things they do there, what stuck with me most was experiencing the elaborate network of corridors that could take you anywhere in the park, underground.
There were maps and signs on the walls, but no single way to get to each end-point, so my manager took me on a walkthrough every day for the first two weeks. He said there would come a time when I am running late to get to my post and I would need to have reference points organized in my mind.
When I later went on to a career working with compliance, quality and safety professionals and organizations I had a similar experience when I was taken on a confusing journey through a maze of above and below-ground corridors at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology. Similarly, the pathways were marked, but it seemed that you only found your way around efficiently through time, trials and experience.
I recognized that quality and compliance assessment is a maze that could be made less complex with consistent compliance walk-through exercises. While everyone involved (organizational self-assessment personnel, surveyor/auditors, overseeing bodies, management, etc.) is trying to get to the same place they often all use a different map, approach it a different way, and have different frames of reference.
Here are the elements of an effective compliance walk-through:
- Try to organize the compliance criteria or standards, as well as materials that support compliance in a single place — perhaps a shared drive or even a notebook.
- Don’t try to write everything out, just keep your eyes and ears open and make lists. There may already be documentation that addresses certain elements.
- Use the lists to find gaps in evidence of compliance — if you are self-assessing, create reference materials to fill in those gaps.
- Also use your lists to make note of any non-conformities that need to be addressed
- Identify reference materials that show evidence of corrective action and store them all in the same place
To learn more about the utilization of mobile-ready software technology to simplify compliance assessment procedures for all parties involved, view this detailed diagram of how CompWALK works.