When renewal forms were sent out in the mail to the members of the Australian Football League, they naturally contained personal information including the name, address, phone number and birth date of the recipient. Unfortunately, an error resulted in printing the same data for a different member appearing on the reverse.
Although nobody at the AFL offices caught the error, over a hundred people reported the problem to the organization. This figure should discourage the league management, because it is probably a tiny percentage of the number of people who were actually impacted by the issue. This is a basic principle of feedback: far more people are affected by a problem than bother to report it.
The Age quoted the media manager of AFL, Patrick Keane:
“We are extremely concerned about it and we apologise unreservedly and we are following it up as to how this has occurred. At this point, we think it is restricted to a couple of batches. I couldn’t give you the exact number of how many have been mailed at this point.”
The creation of mailings is a common business function. It’s likely the case that the AFL sends out batches of letters on a regular basis. Although a mistake was made in this instance, the volume and impact of the problem indicates that the mailing process workflow may have serious flaws.
Experts in business process modeling, such as the business consultants at AccelaWork, can help prevent these issues and provide maximum value for all stakeholders. The key is comprehensive review, a structured approach, and true employee engagement. And of course, making things right when mistakes are made.