I used to walk into annual engagements and discover that clients weren’t prepared. They hadn’t been doing the activities they were supposed to do throughout the year, and they had to answer tough questions in front of an auditor about why items weren’t completed. It’s a dreadful situation for everyone to be in.
I didn’t want my clients to be in that position, and I didn’t want to get caught off-guard either. That’s why we built Operational Mode into TCT Portal.
Operational Mode takes an overwhelming compliance standard and breaks it up into manageable tasks. Every task is accounted for, so nothing slips through the cracks. Each person is assigned their own items, so no one is overloaded. And because the management is automated, your compliance point person gets to enjoy an incredibly reduced workload.
Here’s what Operational Mode in TCT Portal looks like.
Level Up with Operational Mode
The inaugural compliance cycle with TCT Portal we call First-time Mode. This is when you enter all of your evidence into the compliance software for the first time. It may also be your initial attempt at achieving compliance under that certification.
In First-time Mode, each item in the certification will flow through the process once. Here, you’re trying to prove that you have everything in place at least once. Once you’ve made it to the end and you’ve thrown your compliance party, it’s time to move to Operational Mode in TCT Portal.
It’s one thing to achieve compliance — it’s completely another thing to maintain your compliance. Depending on your certification, there are tasks that need to be done every day, week, month, quarter, semi-annually, and yearly. Operational Mode keeps you on target to complete all of those periodic elements that should be done throughout the year on a regular basis.
Using Operational Mode in TCT Portal
Once you’ve achieved compliance, the TCT Support Team helps you set up Operational Mode. We’ll set a date one year out from the date you first completed compliance. For example, if you achieved compliance on September 30 of this year, Operational Mode kicks in on October 1 and goes through September 30 of next year. The system then automatically calculates all of your periodic tasks for the year and organizes them for you by quarter.
Everything is organized for you in TCT Portal’s Dashboard. The Open Items list is your quick-glance display of upcoming (or overdue) Operational Mode tasks. You can organize it however you like so that you get the information you need with just a glance. View all items, or just those that are assigned to you. Sort by due date, status, section, priority, team member, and more.
From here, select the item you want to work on. TCT Portal takes you to that item. Here, you’ll see several tabs for viewing and working in the item. Let’s say you have a Quarterly submission item you’re inspecting:
- Operational tab shows the tasks, broken out into quarters. It provides an overview of the Operational Mode periods, coverage periods, and when each submission for that item is due.
- Explanation tab provides four rows for explanations, one for each quarter. You can add an explanation under the current quarter, as needed.
- Attachments tab lets you load evidence under the appropriate quarter.
When you’re done, click on the Complete button. From there, the task goes to your Consultant (if you have one), then to your Assessor — all within the TCT Portal. When the Assessor is done reviewing it, the task is assigned back to you for the next quarter.
It’s as simple as that.
Now you can move on to the next item assigned to you, and continue on down your list until you’re done with this quarter’s tasks. Thanks to Operational Mode, you’ll always know how much is remaining, what it is, and when you’ve completed all your tasks.
Never Forget a Task
But what if you forget a task? It’s easy to get distracted with other work, and it can slip your mind to keep checking on your tasks in TCT Portal. That’s the beauty of the compliance software’s automation engine.
Two weeks before the operational elements are due, the system wakes up and sends automated reminders to the people assigned to each outstanding task. From the email, they can log into the system and view the filtered list of items they own. Each team member will continue to get personalized reminders until they clear the items from their queue. When all of the tasks are done, the system’s reminder function goes back to sleep until the end of the next quarter is two weeks out.
Automated reminders give you three gigantic benefits that can’t be overstated:
- Your compliance team stays on track with the things you should be doing all the way through the period. That means you’re going into the annual audit fully prepared. There’s no need to dread an uncomfortable conversation about why you didn’t keep up with tasks.
- Your Consultant or Assessor can go in from time to time and see if you’re taking your compliance engagement seriously. It’s a tremendous relief for them to know that clients are actively maintaining compliance, and it can transform the nature of the relationship.
- Your Assessor can take a look at the evidence you’re submitting early on and verify that you understand what they’re looking for. You might be mostly on track, but there’s this thing that needs to be tweaked a little. Problems are caught early on, creating a much higher level of consistency for the end-of-year audit. It’s almost like a live training exercise.
What if you miss the deadline for the quarter, anyway? After two weeks, the item is marked as overdue. Overdue items are highlighted in the Dashboard, and you can filter the list by overdue items. This is a handy feature for team leaders that need to hold people accountable for their tasks.
Say Goodbye to the Chaos of Compliance
Organizations that use Operational Mode have waved good-bye to the four or five month sprint before their annual audit. There’s no more rush to gather up evidence that should have been completed months ago, or track down missing documents. They save time, effort, operational costs, and wasted anxiety.
Ready to say goodbye to the chaos of compliance? Get started with a personalized demo of TCT Portal compliance management software.