Thursday, March 13, 2014

SMS and QA Is Processes Management

A Safety Management System (SMS) and Quality Assurance (QA) are systems that are valuable to manage processes in any organization. That it is called a safety system does not preclude it from being applied as an operational tool in organizations that are not regularly and directly exposed to catastrophic property damages or fatal accidents.

A Safety Management System is to manage processes where risks are involved. This could be financial risks, customer service risks, cyber-communication risks, employee retention risks, lawsuit risks, and any other risks affecting the operation of an enterprise.

Let's for a moment take SMS and QA into the Land Registry systems. Simplified, the survey monuments establishes the perimeters of a parcel. From the early days of surveys in North America, properties were surveyed into sections, quarter sections and in urban areas into 5 acres lots. Further subdivisions of these 5 acres lots were established by metes and bounds descriptions.

A 5 acre lot is approximately 521ft by 425ft. When a 5 acre lot "A" was subdivided into two separate parcels the metes and bounds would read for parcel 1; Owner "X" is the owner of the most northerly 313 feet of lot A, and for parcel 2, Owner "Y" is the owner of lot A, except for the most northerly 313 feet. By the metes and bound, and without any survey monuments the property had been subdivided between two different property owners.

An organization with an SMS in place is required to have processes in place to evaluate the level of risk and the tolerable level of risk the organization is willing to accept. A possible risk in a land title system is that the title description could be outside of the established boundaries by the survey monuments. Since the monuments establishes the boundaries, the title must ensure conformance with these monuments. A tolerable risk level would be zero tolerance to title discrepancies of monument locations. When there is a discrepancy the organization needs to implement a Corrective Action Plan (CAP). In addition, an organization must have processes for evaluating the effectiveness of the corrective actions.
Over the years of manually describing metes and bounds parcels, and applying a 20 foot chain for measurements, this process caused several, and beyond tolerable level of non-conforming titles. A CAP would therefore implemented to apply new electronic technology and assign each parcel with an unique parcel number. After CAP implementation, each parcel with a unique parcel number would be sampled in a QA system to find out how effective this new process was, and if it was within a tolerable level of risk to property owners.

By applying Statistical Process Control (SPC) the result showed that the new process was out of control for old parcels, but in control for new surveyed parcels. When going back to the above example of a 5 acre parcel being subdivided into two parcels, this new system had eliminated parcel 2, owned by owner "Y" in lot "A".

Both  SMS and QA systems are practical systems for any organization where risks are involved and where established processes are required for systems to work properly.

When an out of control process is identified, a CAP is developed, tested, implemented and assessed for effectiveness.