In my last post, I talked about the potential waste in systems and processes in the service industry, call centre, and processing centres. So I’d thought I’d add another simple example.
I was helping an HR Director with one of her Payroll Managers and teams. The team just seemed so busy - twice as busy as the felt they should be.
So, we got stuck in and looked at the flow of work:
Timesheets : about 10,000 were received each month, with half arriving from outside the UK. We soon found that many were coming through with errors - incorrect cost code, no signature, can’t read the writing. Many had to be returned. And then even some of those were sent back with further errors. Back and forth, back and forth. The total number of touches was closer to 20,000. Literally doing all the work twice.
Expense forms : same again.
New starters : often not enough data to process the first payment in time, resulting in re-work, chasing telephone calls, and an unhappy new member of staff.
Leavers : a complicated process, often resulting in the continuation of payment of the employee had left, resulting in difficult additional work to collect he over payment.
Literally, doing everything twice. Everywhere. Every day.
And it’s worth remembering:
- everyone was trying to do a good job
- and if you’d walked through the office, everyone would be looking busy (probably a little frazzled)
It takes different thinking to stop, look at purpose, the value work, the waste work, the flow - and to start thinking about a different way.
I’ve seen the same in banking, billing, debt collection, payroll, HR, ‘man and van’ systems.
And automation isn’t the answer - without the right approach, it’s very easy to think these working practises are ‘normal’ and end up embedding them into a new automated system/process.
So, doing everything twice - costing twice as much as it should, or half as efficient as they could.
Need a hand taking a look…
- email on firstname.lastname@example.org
- about Matt Arnold