Documenting and following up on issues that we identify at the laboratory is a key part of the issues management process. iTrack is the database the laboratory uses to track issues from activities and events such as reviews, assessments, inspections, and incidents. To continually improve our issues management process, iTrack has recently been enhanced! Responsible Parties for Findings, Nonconformities, and Management Concerns will now be required to complete an effectiveness review of their actions taken 90 days after implementation.
Why is this important? Because it forces us to look back at the actions we took to resolve an issue, and determine whether or not the actions were effective. If you are a Responsible Party, questions you should ask include:
- Were the actions effective in resolving the issue?
- Did the actions remedy the true root cause(s) of the problem?
- Will the actions help the issue from recurrence?
Performing an effectiveness review helps us close the loop on the entire issues management process, helps us to ensure that we took the most effective actions possible to resolve issues, and to help prevent those issues from occurring again in the future.
If you have been identified as a Responsible Party in iTrack for a Finding, Nonconformity, or Management Concern, you can expect to receive an automated email from iTrack 90 days after you have closed out your item. The email will contain a link to a form in iTrack for you to complete. You will determine whether or not your actions were effective and then submit the form. If your actions were not effective, the item will be re-opened. You will be given another opportunity to revise your initial action plan and implement further actions that should effectively address the issue.
Another exciting iTrack enhancement includes the introduction of an escalation process for overdue items. The escalation process helps to ensure that items are proactively being addressed within the completion timeframe indicated in iTrack. This is important because the longer an issue goes unresolved, the higher the chances for recurrence. The overdue escalation notation process is as follows:
- 1 Month overdue – normal notification email to Responsible Party (RP)
- 2 Months overdue – notification email to RP + cc Manager
- 3 Months overdue – notification email to RP + cc Manager + cc Division Head
- 4 Months overdue – notification email to RP + cc Manager + cc Division Head + cc Chief / COO / CSO
If you have any questions, comments, or require assistance with this any aspect of these updates, please do not hesitate to contact ESHQ-QA@fnal.gov.