1. Did the Titanic Follow ISO 31000 Risk Management Guidelines?

    April 6, 2015 by ahmed

    Originally posted on Master Control by David Patrishkoff

    ISO 31000 (Risk Management) and its supporting publications encompass an impressive and useful “to-do” list of risk management guidelines to create and protect the value of an organization. However, if an organization selectively pursues some of the ISO guidelines and ignore others, highly undesirable events and tragedies can occur. This is what happened with the Titanic.

    ISO 31000, section 4.2, suggests we align risk management efforts to our objectives. White Star Lines, the Titanic builders, fulfilled this requirement. Their objectives were to create a luxury liner at the lowest costs, in the least amount of time, and maybe even break the speed record for an Atlantic crossing. These were admirable goals but they ultimately led to tragedy. The Titanic also followed ISO 31000, Section 5.5.1.b., by “taking or increasing the risk in order to pursue an opportunity.” They did so because they believed their risks were not extraordinary and could be controlled. This is a common judgment error.

    The Pursuit of Opportunities Sank the Titanic, Not an Iceberg
    The individual risk opportunities that Titanic pursued were not terribly unusual, but collectively, they created an unforgiving perfect storm fueled by three main linked cascading risks:

    • Ship design shortcomings influenced by cost cutting efforts
    • Rivet material quality flaws
    • Vessel operation and evacuation mistakes.

    ISO 31000 Warns of Cascading and Cumulative Effects
    ISO 31000, Section 5.4.2, warns us that “Risk identification should include examination of the knock-on effects of particular consequences, including cascade and cumulative effects.” Although ISO lists thirty-one potential risk assessment tools to support risk assessment efforts, their warning about cascading cumulative risks is stronger than their suggestions of how to address these specific challenges.

    The World Economic Forum Warns of Cascading Risks
    The World Economic Forum, in its 2014 Annual Global Risk Report, highlights cascading and interconnected risks many times as a serious threat. They also stated the need for better efforts to deal with such threats by supplementing traditional risk management tools with new concepts, methods and tools.

    What Are Cascading Risks?
    Cascades can be either beneficial, neutral or destructive. We define Cascading Risks as a series of interacting risks that emanate from Leadership (Aces) through the work culture (Kings) and work processes (Queens) that create bad performances (Jacks) and negative feedback loops (Jokers) back to leadership. Leaders then either apply learning’s in creative ways or ignore the cascade signals, which can lead to failure and disasters. Detailed Cascading Risk Analysis can aid in minimizing such risks.

    Cascade #1 That Threatened the Titanic: Inadequate Design
    Titanic’s design was not unsinkable as was widely publicized at the time. It had many so-called “watertight compartments” but they were open at the top, like an ice cube tray. It had far too few lifeboats, a result of cost cutting efforts during the design phase. It had a double bottom but it did not extend up to the waterline, which would have provided protection against a side-swiping iceberg. This was a design flaw that was quickly corrected on Titanic’s sister-ship, Britannic, which was still under construction at the time of Titanic’s sinking.

    Titanic’s builders claimed that it was constructed considerably in excess of the Lloyds registry safety requirements. Therefore they never saw the need to seek Lloyd’s registry approval. However, Lloyds disputed that claim publically after Titanic sank and made a statement that the Titanic did not meet their safety requirements.

    Cascade #2 That Threatened the Titanic: Bad Quality Rivets
    Titanic required 3 million rivets to hold her together. Archives tell us at that time there was a shortage of riveters and the necessary materials to create high quality wrought iron rivets. White Star’s competitors converted to 100% steel rivets, which were much stronger than wrought iron rivets.

    Titanic used steel rivets in the straight hull section but not in the front hull sections, the area impacted by the iceberg. Wrought iron rivets were easier to rivet by hand than steel rivets in those sections. Recovery of Titanic’s wreck from the sea floor confirmed the low quality and brittleness of the rivets in the impact areas. Higher quality rivets would have kept Titanic afloat longer which would have saved more passengers.

    The Final Cascade #3 That Sank the Titanic: Vessel Operation and Evacuation Errors
    Titanic was cruising near top speed, which was very risky on a moonless night with no waves through an area with active iceberg warnings. Just hours before the disaster, a Lifeboat drill was cancelled by the Captain for no apparent reason. It was suspected that they were attempting to break a cross-Atlantic speed record. That recklessness and the collision with an iceberg sealed Titanic’s fate. Her brittle rivets in the impact area popped off and allowed water to rush in the hull at a very high rate. The Titanic sank in less than 3 hours. 1,502 people perished after a disorganized evacuation event filled the far too few lifeboats to just 61% of their total capacity.

    Conclusion
    Although ISO 31000 attempts to protect us from ourselves and the outside world, we cannot be selective in what we implement. We need to follow all of the guidelines and even test areas that we believe are safe. We must also heed ISO’s challenge to examine cascading and cumulative effects. Effective Risk Based Thinking must include Cascade Effect Thinking. Over the last 11 years I have developed patent pending Cascading Risk Management (CRM) techniques and tools that can further contribute to this effort of identifying and mitigating cascading and cumulative effect risks.


  2. Toyota Leadership Changes Signal New Direction, Analysts Say

    April 18, 2013 by ahmed

    Toyota motor is the largest car manufacturer in the world, Toyota name is associated with quality and reliable cars. Unfortunately, its image was badly hurt by a safety-related recall of more than 7 million cars.

    The incidents raised questions about the company’s quality control and customer service. The company was criticized for its slow response to react and manage the crisis, which was due to the management structure that prevented quick decisions.

    The company also suffered from a supply-chain disruptions post to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, but in spite of the difficult years Toyota has returned to No. 1 largest automaker in 2012 for the first time in two years.

    So, how has Toyota managed to achieve this?

    For the first time in its history Toyota started a series of promotions and appointments of senior managers and board members from outside of Toyota. Is that an indicator of culture change in Toyota? It could be.

    To know more about the new appointments, read Industry Week article below.

    Note: Industry Week magazine is one of the leading magazines in the industrial sector, it’s is available in full-text up to date as part of BPIR membership, join now to and get access to 600+ periodical.

    Ahmed
    BPIR.com


    Toyota’s management style has been criticized in recent years as too parochial for a global business, and its shortcomings were highlighted by a slow response to the recall of millions of vehicles since 2009 over safety defects.

    A management shake-up at Toyota heralds a new era that will force the firm to look beyond the narrow confines of corporate life in Japan and help it in the global marketplace, analysts said on Thursday.

    The world’s largest automaker said it had appointed three outside board members for the first time, and would appoint non-Japanese CEOs in the U.S., Africa and Latin America, in addition to Europe.

    It marks a huge shift for Toyota (IW 1000/5), which had always followed traditional Japanese management practices, with most of its executives and senior managers picked from people who had risen through the ranks.

    But its management style had come in for criticism in recent years as too parochial for a global business, and its shortcomings were highlighted by a slow response to the recall of millions of vehicles since 2009 over safety defects.

    Analysts said they hoped the changes would lead to a new management approach.

    “Toyota’s leadership changes portend a new era,” said James Post, an expert on corporate governance at Boston University School of Management.

    “New directors, drawn from beyond Japan’s shores, will help develop a truly global view at the top,” he added.

    The overhaul includes the appointment of Mark Hogan, an American who used to work for arch-rival General Motors, who will become the first foreign businessman to sit on the Toyota board without having come from the ranks of the company.

    The two others appointed to the board are Japanese – Ikuo Uno, executive adviser for Nippon Life Insurance, and Haruhiko Kato, president of Japan Securities Depository Center.

    The leadership shuffle came after a few difficult years for Toyota, which included the huge recalls that were both expensive and embarrassing.

    “Toyota has always been criticized on its quality of corporate governance,” Koichi Sugimoto, a senior analyst at BNP Paribas said. “We expect something positive to come out of this new system.”

    Critics have also said the traditional Japanese management style practiced by Toyota focused on team spirit and consensus, and produced bosses who tried to avoid making waves and were unprepared to take risks.

    However, previous attempts to bring international members onto Toyota’s board have not gone well.

    The first foreigner promoted onto the board was American Jim Press, who was given a seat in 2007 after nearly four decades with the company. However, he resigned from the post after just five months and went to rival carmaker Chrysler.

    President Akio Toyoda said he hoped the shake-up would cement Toyota’s recovery from the quake-tsunami in 2011, which hammered production and sales, as well as floods in Thailand that hit key suppliers.

    Industry Week, 7-Mar-2013


  3. Green buildings: is it solving one problem and creating another?

    July 17, 2011 by
    GreenBuilding

    Everyday more and more designers, builders, and building owners are becoming interested and involved in green building. There are various variation for the green buildings but generally, to build a green building the structure should be designed, built, maintained and sustained in an environmentally responsible and resource-efficient design to reduce environmental impacts, lower electricity and water usage and lower the operating cost.

    A recent report from Institute of Medicine brings to light how the integration of green building practices on typical commercial building can present new hazards that must be identified to protect building occupants such as poor indoor air quality.

    Below the media coverage of the report.

    Ahmed Abbas
    BPIR.com


    The buildings commonly referred to as "green" could actually be hazardous to your health, according to a new report. (AP)

    That's one of many warnings out of a new report from the Institute of Medicine, which tracked the potential impact of climate change on indoor environments.

    The report cautions that climate change can negatively and directly affect indoor air quality in several ways. But the scientists behind the study warn that homeowners and businesses could also be making the problem worse by pursuing untested or risky energy-efficiency upgrades.

    "Even with the best intentions, indoor environmental quality issues may emerge with interventions that have not been sufficiently well screened for their effects on occupant safety and health," the report said.

    To save costs and cut down on emissions, building owners typically find ways to seal off potential leaks and conserve energy. But in "weatherizing" the buildings, they also change the indoor environment.

    By making buildings more airtight, building owners could increase "indoor-air contaminant concentrations and indoor-air humidity," the report said. By adding insulation, they could trigger moisture problems. By making improvements to older homes, crews could stir up hazardous material ranging from asbestos to harmful caulking — though that problem is not unique to energy improvements.

    The report did not dissuade homeowners and businesses from making the energy-efficiency upgrades. Rather, it called for a more comprehensive approach, urging organizations to track the side effects of various upgrades and minimize the "unexpected exposures and health risks" that can arise from new materials and weatherization techniques.
    Source: FoxNews


  4. The Importance of Ergonomics

    June 17, 2011 by
    Ergonomics

    People are the most important assets in the organisation and ergonomics is the science of making sure that people maximize their productivity through the use of equipment that is designed to match their mental and physical needs. Ergonomics applies to almost any physical human task, from operating machinery to using cutlery.

    The use of ergonomic design can include the use of ergo tools, furniture, lights and can even take into consideration noise, space and air quality of the environment.

    It is important for us to be comfortable while doing our task in order to attain the best possible result for example in jobs done by sitting for long hours it is important to be sitting in a comfortable chair, the table and computer need to be at the correct height, with adequate lighting. See the clip below to see whether you are sitting correctly in front of your computer.

    As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, we sit all the time. Whilst  the shift towards computer-based work has increased productivity, it has, unfortunately, contributed to  an increased risk of heart disease and obesity in the long term. The negative health effects of sitting are starting to weigh heavily against the benefits. Below an infograph from MedicalBillingAndCoding.org shows some worrying statistics about the effect of sitting for long hours.

    Sitting is Killing You
     
    So what can you do about it? Well, some ideas are shown in  May’s issue of Gulf Lead Consultant’s newsletter. GLC are BPIR’s partner in Kuwait. In this issue, Dr Tariq A. Aldowaisan and Basma Bargal talk about  ergonomics and why it is important. Tips are provided on how  SMEs can implement ergonomics programmes.

    You can download the full newsletter from here:
    Time to Seriously Consider Ergonomics

    Ahmed Abbas
    Benchmarking Researcher, BPIR.com


  5. Occupational Safety – Take a Break!

    September 10, 2010 by

    Jessica Jeppsson [1] from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University writes that the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health reported that 50% of all employees in office settings are often so engaged in computer work that they forget to take breaks.

    This can lead to headaches, wrist pain, back discomfort and eye strain. To eliminate this, and to prevent repetitive stress injuries, ergonomic software can be installed on workplace computers to prompt users to take regular breaks. The frequency of the breaks can be based on mouse clicks, keyboard strokes, the duration of breaks taken, and the frequency of the prompts given.

    When a break is triggered a software window pops up on the screen, the user can then choose to activate the break or to ignore it. When activated, animations display hand, neck and shoulder stretches which are designed to interrupt the repetitive nature of computer work, increase circulation, relieve tension and give the user an energy boost.

    [1] R10853 Jeppsson, J., (2009), Workspace comfort, Industrial Engineer, Vol 41, Iss 3, pp 58-59, Institute of Industrial Engineers-Publisher, Norcross

    Neil Crawford
    BPIR

    Members may read the full article here