Open For Business As Usual
Now that we have started to come to terms with the changes that we have made in our daily lives to deal with Covid, I keep hearing about a “new normal”?!
I’m still not sure any of us know what that really looks like as we are still in an evolving and reactive state as we try to get back to “normal” and accommodate new advice being shared by medical experts.
Many businesses are trying to get back to where they were pre-Covid, but without employees back in the office, they are not operating in a BAU (business as usual) setting.
Businesses need staff working because it is the only way to start to bring back income that has been lost. However, most jobs have processes and tasks that need to be followed and executed.
Does it make sense to continue how you were pre-Covid as if nothing has changed or is now the right time to re-assess your processes to understand if the way of working has now changed?
They went from 6 people being in the office at the same time to just 1 at a time.
Instead of them all being in the office and scanning their work into the system, 1 person was doing it for everyone on the day they were in and ensuring correspondence was being sent out to customers.
Whilst this is process is still far from perfect it identified waste in their process that was easy to remove without impacting the process downstream and thought about the roles and responsibilities of the employees when dividing up the tasks.
So, the question is should they go back to “normal” from their “new normal” or properly think about what they have learned from this experience and think about what their BAU should look like?
They understand that properly considered and managed changes are not scary or risky as they have done it and it has benefited both the staff and the business.
Would now not be the perfect time to dig into their processes and think about are they doing things the right way or can they look to adapt their way of working so that the new BAU is more efficient and think about whether the tasks they are doing are Value-Adding and necessary?
Once you have done this exercise you will be able to clearly see what you are doing and why. You will also be able to see whether it is cost and time-efficient to be doing simple and repetitive tasks manually or can take advantage of current technology like RPA to do these tasks quicker and more accurately whilst saving the business money?
When you get into a project like this and start to dig into what you do and is it necessary you will then think of other things. Do we need to be scanning documents? Can we not do this electronically so that we can save more time, reduce our exposure to GDPR breaches and allow us to further automate tasks to benefit from money and time saving as well as increase accuracy.
But going back to the big question. I understand that companies will be looking at their bank balance when thinking about the costs involved. However, would it not be more cost-effective and easier to do this before you go back to BAU?
Should you stick with inefficient processes because “it is how we have always done things” or twist to try and take some positives out of this difficult period and invest in changing the company for the better to either adapt the way of working to a smart “new normal” before we get back to doing things that we know are imperfect.
Process evaluation is an exercise that is only beneficial. It will give you validation that you are doing everything that is necessary for a smart and efficient way, or it will highlight areas for improvement.
Once you know your process and have removed the waste (non-value add activities) you are in a position to optimize your operation to make things faster, more accurate and cheaper all at the same time!