Data Quality Control
JSI processes files and quality controls output using procedures developed over the three decades during which we have handled complex direct-marketing jobs.
Ensuring that a job is done right begins with JSI’s staff who are highly trained, exceptionally skilled, and pay attention to detail. But despite our confidence in their skills and motivation, our data quality control procedures are all built on the assumption that a job may be "wrong" and not "right."
All of JSI’s processing is run using "job scripts," printable computer instructions that comprehensively display the processing steps that our production coordinators build to run your job. We do not rely on commands entered exclusively "on screen" on a "one-time" basis. The job scripts that enable processing are always printed and reviewed as part of the quality control we undertake on each job. In addition, the job scripts are permanently stored and provide "recoverable" instructions to our computers on the processing implemented on each job.
These job scripts allow us to do three things.
- The printed job script is reviewed in a quality control step to ensure that it appropriately executes your instructions for the job. This review is performed first by the person directly responsible for building and running the job, and second by another person who’s role is to verify the work done by the first person. For complex jobs, the same quality control step may be repeated by a third person. Our production coordinators are very skilled and pay a great deal of attention to detail. However, our quality control procedures assume that they are fallible.
- The job scripts provide complete documentation on the execution of a job. Printed, and stored in job files, they allow us to determine after-the-fact what was done. If you question our procedures after a job is complete, we are always able to review the execution of the job step-by-step from our job files and determine exactly what we did. If, despite our data quality control procedures, we make a mistake, after-the-fact we will be able to determine what we did and where things went wrong.
- These job scripts are permanently stored and therefore provide "recoverable" instructions to our computers. If you ask us later to repeat the job, or perform a modified version of the job, we will start from an exact map of how we ran the job on the last occasion. Stored job scripts are therefore a crucial part of our "corporate memory" allowing us to remember how we did your previous jobs.
The mechanisms by which we report and store job-instructions are integrated in all the software that we write. Indeed, we continue to write all our own software because this gives us control over procedures that are essential to ensuring quality.
Extending Our Quality Control Procedures
Our quality control procedures extend much further than printed and stored job scripts:
- Where jobs involve a sequence of steps, the "intermediate" file created at the end of each step is stored. If, during quality control, we detect that a step was run incorrectly, we can "back up" to the intermediate file immediately prior to the incorrect step and re-run from there.
- In addition, the stored intermediate files allow us to examine given records at any step along the way. All of the files, the original input files, the intermediate files, and the final output files are stored at the end of the job and form part of the "audit trail" that we can use afterwards to demonstrate exactly how the job was done.
- For every job, we review printed samples of records from the file or files handled. These samples ensure that we are handling the file appropriately - "moving out" required fields and moving them completely. Review of actual name/address records offers another level of quality control.
All of the processes we run report "numbers" that help us to detect data-quality issues or to identify processing steps that have been run incorrectly. For example, where Address Correction processing is run on each of the lists "in" to a merge-purge, JSI’s Correction software provides comprehensive list-by-list reports on the number of records associated with each "type" of change made. If we see excessive numbers of postal codeOM changes, or city changes, or street number errors, or we see large numbers of uncorrectable records we will re-examine both the incoming data to review possible data quality issues and we will examine our handling of the file to ensure that our procedures are correct. Review of numeric reports on processing steps provides yet another level of quality control.
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