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What is Operational Resilience?

Operational Resilience begins with a philosophical change in the way we approach the human element of our operations.

The basic pursuit of operational resilience is to form, measure, sustain and improve a system involving human beings interacting with equipment in an environment that responds predictably and reliably in order to achieve its designed function or objectives including efficiency, profitability, quality and safety.

Iceberg and RCA


The term resilience has various meanings depending on context, but generally refers to the ability of a strained body to return to its design. It can be used to describe elasticity in material to retain its shape, people to recover from misfortune, ecosystems to respond to climate variation and cultures to endure through clashes with other belief systems. In industry, it is most often used to describe an organization’s ability to alter operations in the face of changing business conditions in order to remain competitive.

In an operational setting, resilience effectively illustrates a system’s ability to respond to anticipated and unanticipated disruptions and operate within its designed parameters. When we add the socio-behavioral component to that functional design, a resilient operational system becomes one that can absorb human error and retain or reshape to its predictable and reliable state.

Operational resilience is the product of managed risk of human error. Resilient operational performance illustrates the ultimate aim of finding the balance between safety and productivity. The solution begins with leadership’s commitment and peaks when everyone in the organization, especially supervisors and front line operators, understand the influence of human factors in their operations.

Learn more about the different methodologies of Vetergy here.

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