How to identify and eradicate inefficiencies in your operations

How to identify and eradicate inefficiencies in your operations

1. Poor control of resources
2. Lack of scheduling and planning
3. Poor quality control
4. Lack of clear and robust performance indicators

If you think your operation is immune to these flaws, take a closer look, then consider the impact these factors are having on your business. Often in front office, voice metrics are in place but ill-defined terminology and limited drill down means opportunity is missed. In the Back Office all too often the only metrics used are SLA, units completed and incorrectly calculated productivity. In both instances front and back and office metrics can be flawed as there is often no industry benchmarks in place to measure against and no ability to drill down further than just at face value.

“Quality is everyone’s responsibility.”

W. Edwards Deming
Interior Of Busy Architect's Office With Staff Working

The following areas typically increase capacity by 15% and in some cases have delivered more once measured and optimised

Poor control of resources

Are you actually getting what you pay your staff for?

Are you getting 8 hours work every day, or do your employees have spare capacity or are they working to a prescribed number of items or an SLA date each day?

Do you have too many employees?

If you can’t answer these questions accurately then it’s highly likely that process optimisation will deliver both cost reduction and capacity growth.

Lack of scheduling and planning

Are you able to consistently meet the demands of your customers?

Do you have the correct skill sets in the right places to deliver a consistently high level of service?

Without accurate planning and forecasting you will find it extremely challenging delivering service excellence.

Quality control

Are your staff making too many mistakes?

Is this due to a lack of training, ineffective management or simply poor process design. Mistakes in operations cause unnecessary rework driving increased workloads and costs, while the impact on your customers’ experience can be even more damaging. We often see too little or too much checking being done to give the best result needed for the KPI metrics, this cannot be seen at a holistic level, there is a need to drill down to uncover it and understand why actions are occurring and what is driving them.

Clear and robust performance indicators

In a crowded and competitive marketplace, customer service is an increasingly important differentiator. Yet without external benchmarks, many companies simply don’t know what “good” looks like. By setting KPIs aligned with or exceeding industry standards, you provide your operational teams with a clear roadmap for delivering service excellence. Most importantly managers will know when they are performing and reward in a timely way and when they are under performing and with the right frameworks and procedures can be empowered to drive higher performance from their teams.

“There is a great difference between knowing and understanding: you can know a lot about something and not really understand it.”

Charles F. Kettering
Walking up book stairs

How can I identify inefficiencies in my operations?

The first step to understanding where the inefficiencies lie within your operations is to ask some simple questions:

Can you accurately measure the workload in the operation – what’s received, completed and outstanding?

Do you have defined times for all tasks what’s the range of performance achieved and when were they last reviewed?

How is work controlled and distributed and aligned to skills set?

What are the busiest and what are the quietest days of the week and how are resources scheduled for under and over capacity?

Do servicing transaction volumes seem disproportionate to the in force portfolio?

How many times is a piece of New Business touched / transacted?

Or look for these situations in the operation –

Is work controlled by spreadsheet in the back office?

Is work targeted by SLA date or are staff targeted by volume of items per day?

Is the operation tracking – What the % of hand offs volume from the CC to the Back Office or the level of rework?

Is the Contact Centre Grade Of Service (GOS) being constantly achieved daily – if so what is the hourly achievement each day – is it erratic or is it a consistent 90%+.

High unit times, a wide range of individual performance from low to high output high, transaction levels, lack of forecasting and a poor level of real time active management routines are all key indicators of inefficiencies. This is typically caused by badly designed processes and poor communication, both interdepartmentally and with customers and a lack of definition of the manager’s role.

Yet if poor performance is not immediately apparent via management information dashboards, bad practices will continue unnoticed in the medium to long-term. It’s essential that your management information is clear and understandable so it can be used to make effective decisions that continually drive improvement in performance.

How can I eradicate inefficiencies from my operation?

Operational inefficiencies usually have multiple root causes, and a diagnostic of your operationswill quickly reveal diverse opportunities to deliver improvements in performance and service.

Once you have successfully identified the main challenges, a combination of process redesign, break through thinking in management frameworks and active performance management software will deliver rapid change and sustainable operational excellence.

If you can’t answer any of the above questions or it is unclear how they relate to cost base and profitability why not get in touch with us? It costs nothing to talk and we would be happy to provide you with more information and clarification to help you achieve operational excellence.