Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Time Is Money

… and yet it’s surprising how much we waste.  Often, it’s without realising it, but if we adopt the “Tim Wood” approach, we may be able to eliminate a whole lot of waste and see, as a result, happier staff, happier customers and increased sales and profit!

“Tim Wood” stands for:
    Waiting and delays

I’m going to focus on the bold italic M, W and one of the Os above, namely Movement, Waiting and Delays and Over-processing.  I’ll include the “To for transport” as we often need to go somewhere to “get things done”. 

I often find myself in situations where I:
1           Arrive
2           ‘Take a number”
3           Wait for it to be called
4           Go to the appropriate desk
5           Have my documents inspected
6           Return to my seat
7           Wait (again)
8           Go to another counter to pay
9           Take the payment receipt back to the first desk to prove I’ve paid
10        Get another receipt to come back and claim my whatever I’ve applied for in anything up to 1 month (assuming all the documents I produced were in order)
11        Return and wait…

The above may be great for organisations dealing with large numbers of people requiring a standardised service (e.g. driving licences), but the waiting time for applicants means they aren't at work producing for the benefit of their own business and country.

It’s a huge economic waste.  One wonders how many millions (or billions) organisations and governments waste every year as they oblige their (tax-paying) citizens to take time off from tax-generating activities to feed the machine. 

Not all are like this.  Many allow one to apply online and receive delivery by post or courier.  Others, however, aren't so endowed. 

It’s all a matter of Process Analysis.  How much economic wastage is caused by people waiting due to ineffective & inefficient systems/processes?  How much of the inefficiency or ineffectiveness is due to poor design or outdated and redundant technology, that have been superseded by new technologies or are no longer relevant?  

There may, often be a “social element” to it.  In places where government or a large business is the main employer, jobs are paramount if they are to avoid potential social unrest arising from unemployment.  The same could apply to private organisations in economically deprived areas. 

How do we change this?  By continually reviewing how we do things.  Are our processes still fit for the modern day?  Are there duplications, “bottlenecks”,and unnecessary checks?  Could we make better use of (say) technology instead of using paper forms?  Has the law changed to make some of our processes redundant?

Above all, we need to ask “Why” and “How”?  Why do we do it this way?  Why is this still necessary?  How could we make it better? These are typical questions we need to address all the time.  “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it,” isn’t an answer. 

We need to get our people involved - they’re the ones who face customers with these processes and understand most what causes delays, annoys customers and could be done better.  Put together a team tasked to look at how things are done and how they could be made better for all.  Remember, happier staff, happier customers and increased sales and profit!

I have spent more than half my life delivering change in different world markets from the most developed to “emerging” economies. With more than 20 years in international financial services around the world running different operations and lending businesses, I started my own Consultancy to provide solutions for improving performance, productivity and risk management.  I work with individuals, small businesses, charities, quoted companies and academic institutions across the world. An international speaker, trainer, author and fund-raiser, I can be contacted by email. My website provides a full picture of my portfolio of services.  For strategic questions that you should be asking yourself, follow me at @wkm610.

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