Jumping to Conclusions

Today there was a news article about the Student Loans Company.  If you remember there was a scandal last year when they failed to get students their loans before the start of the academic year.

The National Audit Office has stated that they believe there is a “substantial” risk of delays again this year.

The reasons given for last year’s failure to process loans in time were:
1.  A new document scanning system failed.
2.  This lead to a backlog of paper that wasn’t filed properly and some forms were lost.
3.  Consequently half of all students had to resubmit their applications.
4.  Then (oddly) lots of students phoned to find out where their money was, so many in fact, that the company could only answer half of the calls.

It is a very nice case study in how things can spiral away from you when it starts to go wrong, cause and effect.

The actions taken to rectify the problem this year are:
1.  Increase the number of people taking calls.
2.  Improve training.
3.  Hire a firm of accountants to check it will all be OK.

All of this and ask the Student Loans Company to process twice as many loans as last year.

Personally, I think a little operations analysis might have suggested they started by fixing the scanner.

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Image by Ecstatic Mark

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