As I’ve mentioned, my wife and I are in the process of moving from suburban Fort Worth to San Antonio. As we have potential buyers coming through the house, one thing I have to be mindful of is NOT turning on the home alarm system when leaving. As with many process improvements, it’s tough breaking an old habit of always hitting the “ON” button on the way out the door.
Being a somewhat forgetful chap, how can I avoid turning on the alarm? If I turn it on, we might have a false alarm and it might annoy a real estate agent and potential buyer (something that seems like a bad idea). How can I error proof this?
The picture below shows the best I could come up with in limited time: a piece of packing tape with the word “NO” written on it.
It’s by no means perfect error proofing. It doesn’t absolutely prevent me from hitting that button when leaving before a scheduled showing. But, it was “quick and easy” and it’s been effective so far. The first time I was about to leave after putting that up, I did a double take between the visual and the tactile feel of the somewhat-raised tape. I didn’t set the alarm. I can, however, still set the alarm when going to bed at night.
I’ve seen similar situations where hospital labs or similar settings have actually placed a tiny cardboard or plastic box over a button to prevent it from being pressed accidentally. That would be more effective error proofing, but it would have taken more time (and time is a luxury when preparing to move). If this error proofing proves ineffective (if I tune out the NO and set the alarm someday), I could escalate to better error proofing (or I can do it proactively, given the time).
What other ideas do you have for handling this or other home error proofing situations?
About LeanBlog.org: Mark Graban is a consultant, author, and speaker in the “lean healthcare” methodology. Mark is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as the new Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. Mark is also the Chief Improvement Officer for the technology company KaiNexus.