Critical control management

Issue 5 2020 Integrated Solutions

We have been very active with essential service delivery for a large corporate client during the lockdown period. In particular, when performing bowtie risk analysis methods from remote locations with multiple team players, proving that we can be as effective with this process despite the lockdown.

The critical control management process is an excellent practical approach to ensure effective controls over potentially catastrophic events. Often these events are referred to as a main event or Material Unwanted Event (MUE).

A bowtie summarises the main controls that companies should have in place to prevent unwanted events. Bowties are popular processes that are captured in an illustrative format to show the links between causes of an incident or risk and the controls which serve as barriers to prevent an unwanted event. A further step includes mitigation factors if a main event should occur.

The bowtie follows a typical Plan, Do, Check and Act (PDCA) approach with ten key steps.

The benefits include:

• Focus on smaller and more manageable number of controls.

• Bowties provide a readily understood picture of the associations between a MUE and controls.

• The process answers the 5W and H approach, but sets clear performance metrics.

• Provision of a proactive ‘health check’ for improved governance.

• Summarises the critical controls in a register format across the entire enterprise.

• Meaningful discussion due to the layout of the bowties.

Kevin van Zyl.

An ‘X Matrix Template’ was used successfully during the bowtie process to achieve the desired outcomes. Usually the matrix is applied to lean policy deployment for strategic, tactical, and coordination efforts across people and an organisation. The X-Matrix also ensures there is ownership at all levels as well as accountability.

This approach to the critical control management process also encourages organisational learning, faster course corrections, and cross-departmental coordination. A truly successful and effective outcome during this time.

For more information contact Kevin van Zyl, Horizon Risk Management, +27 76 801 5639,,

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