Friday, 7 July 2017

Don’t Let Efficiencies Pass You By

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One of the primary laws of efficiency is do it once, do it right., have the information available to all who need it. Ask yourself, does this always happen in your organisation? If not, you are clearly doubling up effort, or creating waste during the delays created around hand-offs and hand-overs that inevitably happen.

The ultimate handover was in use between about 1920 and 1990, when many organisations had a concept called the ‘Typing Pool’. It was quaint, I will give you that. Also, because of the gender politics of those places, sexist. Here’s one below:

Staff (most likely men without an ‘assigned secretary’), would bring in handwritten notes, or a Dictaphone tape, for typing up, or from the early 1980’s consumption as ‘data entry’. Commonly this latter phenomena was known as ‘Key To Disk’. In my technician apprenticeship, I encountered this at GEC at Higher Openshaw Manchester. Actually, lord Arnold Weinstock’s fiefdom was the ‘General Electric Company’, although to many it was colloquially known as the ‘Go Easy Club’, sitting out another decade or so for a decent pension. But I digress…

I often encounter many processes where person A, takes notes on site, brings them into the office a day or more later, putting them in the tray of person B, who eventually does the original promised task, such as logging a workflow task, repair or initiating some other action.

Now just imagine if that was a note of rubbish to be cleared and it took three, maybe four days to action. That might cause the original resident who raised the image, to create a waste call into our service centre asking why your organisation is not on to it. There’s £6-10 of waste.

Now what if someone else had logged that request to clear the waste between those 3-4 days and it had been cleared already? Then in 4 days, we logged it again and on the Works Order, there was nothing to do. There we have  wasted probably another£30 on travel and time the operative or contractor, could have completed a more productive job.

By now the penny might have dropped, dear reader.

Empowering the original person in the chain to record the ‘transaction’ or ‘interaction’ as early as possible, is the way to grab those potential efficiencies by the nuts. Now that might mean giving those staff the right technology. In an ideal world, it might be a dedicated mobile forms solution. At worse it might be a full office solution (like access to a full Housing Management System), via Citrix or Thin Client on a 3G/4G connected laptop/tablet. Now the latter is clunky, needs an always on connection, there’s lots not convenient with it. However, the extra perseverance of that user, in logging that issue early, on that kit, may save 100-2,000% of that effort in follow-on costs.

Motivation needs to be provided, to that front line end user. Communication and training. Perhaps performance can be measured based on a number of the factors below:
•    Speed of logging issues directly into the system (i.e. logging WO’s, tasks etc)
•    Reduction in mileage claims
•    Increase in scheme/close visits
•    Increase in satisfaction levels in those schemes/closes
•    Decrease in complaints
•    Decrease in waste calls, coming into service centre etc.

There may be many more metrics you could dream up, in addition to these, I am sure.

To change cultures, it needs setting of targets, monitoring of performance, then use of carrots or sticks. Could these metrics be linked to bonus or annual salary increases? If not could they be linked to an organisational culture change, based on a well-coordinated communication plan?     

Is it time you stopped your internal efficiencies, passing you by chum?

Getting data correct is more a cultural than an ICT challenge. If you think I can help you with that challenge, please be in touch.  

Related Post: How up to date is your self-service? 


I would be pleased to connect with you on LinkedIn - Message me with any issues or queries, you would like to be explored in this blog. We generally receive a couple of suggestions each month.

UB40 – Don’t Let It Pass You ByUB40 – Don’t Let It Pass You By.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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