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Printing Errors Violate Trust

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When renewal forms were sent out in the mail to the members of the Australian Football League, they included key information. But they also presented a serious mistake.

What does on a renewal form? Naturally, these documents contain 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 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.

Process Improvement - Australian Rules Football

© Flickr user stepnout

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.

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Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter is a workflow and productivity expert. He is a nationally known speaker on topics related to personal productivity, corporate efficiency and employee engagement. Robby is the founder of AccelaWork, a company which provides speakers and consultants to a wide variety of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, regional non-profits, small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Robby has written numerous articles for national magazines and has over one hundred published pieces. He is also the author of several books, including Failure: The Secret to Success. He has also been interviewed by international news outlets including the Wall Street Journal. Robby’s newest book is The Battle For Your Email Inbox.
Robby Slaughter


Troublemaker and productivity/workflow expert. Slightly more complex than 140 characters will permit.
Hey. Does anyone else remember having a five year plan? I just thought about that. Life was different then. - 4 days ago
Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter

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