Being applicable to any type of a business, the gap analysis, being also known as needs analysis, need-gap analysis and needs assessment, is an effective tool in the hands of a business management for making a comparison between the current performance and the desired performance level of a business organization. Quantifying and comparing the gap existing between the current functioning state of a business entity with that of a future state business requirements, the gap analysis leads to add value to the business.
Gap analysis aids greatly in determining the performance disparity or a significant difference between two situations as to how safety is being managed in an actual manner and what should be the expected level of performance of safety to be attained. Not only that, it helps in identifying the areas of in safety that do not meet the desired stage of performance. This will not only enable a business to improve its current functioning state, but will also lead it to performing better in the future provided that the related activities are constantly being monitored.
Considering an area where there is a complete or partial absence of something, that is, data, information, audit NC, inspection, observation of UA/UC, is one of the most important things to do for a business management. It’s also of great significance for safety management to identify the gap between the aspects, where we are now and where we want to be in the future, a business management employs the gap analysis technique to bridge that gap. In this way, comparing the actual performance of safety with that of desired potential performance can lead a business to reduce incident level and build string safety culture. It’s through the gap analysis that the improvement in any safety process ranging from a training to audit can be made in successful manner.
Allowing business leaders to quickly diagnose the problems and enabling them to find the ways for strategies or action plans to be implemented accordingly in order to bring changes and developments in the areas that need to be improved, gap analysis can be applied to a variety of situations. In fact, the correct gap analysis can help safety to perform better in terms of return on capital.
Gap analysis facilitates greatly in understanding the safety priorities and needs by helping the business leaders to identify deficiencies or shortcomings to be eliminated, as such, the results being associated with gap analysis depend upon the people’s willingness to implement the changes having been identified. However, it must be noted that in the absence of gap analysis, the situation of a business is as though it is not performing better or it is doing something miss, that is, making best use of current resources, investments, capital or technology.
Here are some of the things that are required to be considered before going for gap analysis –
- Clearly agreed indicators of overall corporate safety performance; it is highly desirable that that the indicator of overall corporate safety performance should be traceable through a range of business performance metrics, in the form of simple cause and effect relationships, sometimes called a value driver tree.
- Sound data feeding the results measured by the key performance indicators (KPI) used in the organization, including data on the safety performance of the organization for the past few years.
- An agreed time span for the strategic planning exercise for comparing forecast performance under different assumptions. These various sets of assumptions may be trialled in a process of scenario planning.
- Before performing an analysis the strategic planning team needs to undertake target setting. The targets for desired future performance of the organization need to be set using the corporate safety performance indicator mentioned above.
With all of these things in place then the analysis consists of addressing two questions, and measuring the difference between the two answers.
- Where do we intended to be in X years, where ‘X’ is the planning horizon, say usually at least 3 years for corporate strategic planning? This is the target setting question.
- Where are we likely to be in level of corporate results, in X years if we do not do anything different to what we currently are doing? This is the business forecasting question.
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