The Efficient Organization
Move it or Lose it
years ago, I remember handling a multi-copy "request for service" form
that contained an area for four signatures. One of the signatures was
required twice, at two different steps in the form's process. This meant
that one manager had to see the form twice, at two different times. Now
think about this. Here's a form that is initiating a service, but it is
being transported between different offices multiple times. You can
certainly see the problem with this process, but at the time, not a
single manager thought this form or its process was flawed. Nor did they
consider how this process was impacting their customer.
today, many people still go through their work days completing
forms or other tasks, passing on the task to the next person in the
process without questioning the process itself. But the movement of
information, parts, and materials around an office (or facility) can be a
tremendous source of waste. Excess email and email attachments take up
storage space and take more time for the user to search and retrieve,
multiple approvals of documents take up time, files moving between
offices take time, and moving boxes from one end of the office to
another to free up space is also wasteful. This unnecessary
transportation is usually paired with unnecessary motion, product
damage, loss of product, and more systems to track the movement.
frequently overlooked fact in wasted transportation is that people
often have to make round trips and this adds to delays. If you're
working in an office that keeps you moving often, you may consider
yourself lucky because the movement keeps you fit; but consider what
this is doing to the organization's efficiency. If you're walking 100
feet to get documents or other items 20 times a day, you're walking
about 170 miles (274 kilometers) a year. This is about one wasted hour
per day. Fit? Yes. Efficient? No.
product between processes is a cost that adds no value to the product
or to the customer. Determine which processes should be next to each
other by mapping the product (information) flows. This makes the process
easier to visualize and correct.
to streamlining your processes with minimal movement within and
between processes. You may just save yourself and your staff one hour
each day. Instead of wasteful walking around the office, why not use
that time more efficiently for a workout in your favourite gym?
Pursuit of Profit
Time is Money
American Time Use Survey reported that on the days that they worked,
employed persons spent an average of 7.6 hours working. More hours were
worked, on average, on weekdays than on weekend days - 8.0 hours
compared with 5.7 hours (source: 2011 American Time Use). This is up 11
minutes from the 2010 survey. In total, the average American worker
spent 56 hours per week on work and work-related activities.
in 2010, 82 percent of all workers worked on the average weekday, with
35 percent working on weekends and holidays. This total significantly
exceeds 100 percent, since many worked on both weekends and weekdays. In
addition, the survey found that men worked significantly longer than
women (an average of 8.4 versus 7.5 hours daily - compared to 8.2 and
7.4 hours in 2010), for a total of 47 minutes more per day. (This trend
is similar for workers in Canada - in 2011, on average, men spent almost
six hours more per week than women - 39.3 compared to 33.0 hours).
However, women are more likely to work part time and take a more active
role in family care and housework, so this accounts for the difference
and points to women actually working longer hours than men, overall.
survey does not answer why people worked longer hours in 2011 compared
to previous years, but one plausible response could be that the economic
slowdown has prompted those with jobs to work longer. Another reason is
that work processes are becoming increasingly inefficient, so it takes
longer to do the same tasks and it costs more, as a result.
takes less time to implement efficient processes than it does to
maintain inefficient ones. Simply put, efficient organizations have more
money. If your organization is not efficient and is laboring away its
money, efficiency measures need to be taken seriously. Take time now to
streamline processes for the sake of all your workers and your money.
For more information on the American Time Use Survey, go to: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/atus.nr0.htm/. For Statistics Canada work survey results, go to: http://www4.hrsdc.gc.ca/.3ndic.1t.4r@-eng.jsp?iid=19.
In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)
I spent an hour on the phone with a wonderful mentor who helped me
reset my thinking. It was time extremely well spent and the value I
gained is immeasurable. I think that many of us too often get into a rut
that sucks our time and drains our energy without purpose. Stop doing
things just because you've always done them or because you've always
done them in a certain way. Talk to a mentor or coach who can help you
see things from a different perspective, so that you can be more
efficient, more productive, and, as a result, a much happier person.
is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you
can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people
spend it for you."
About MNC Consulting Group
Our goal is to help you to dramatically increase efficiencies that immediately boost your profit margins.
Profits is a monthly electronic newsletter discussing how leaders can
be more efficient and areas where organizations can save more
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