In this article we’ll discuss software and investigate how it supports your operations. It’s a broad topic, so we’ll focus on the benefits and highlight issues facing operations, from frontline and back office staff, right up to senior management.
Still using spreadsheets to plan your operations?
Many operations still administer core work, key customer and financial data from a collection of spreadsheets. This can lead to a variety of issues and problems. Spreadsheets do offer flexibility but instead of being retained for their original use for accounting and book keeping they are now highly utilised in roles they’re not designed for – like operation workflow management and tracking.
Spreadsheets cannot deliver operational excellence
You wouldn’t ask your accountant to plan your internal workflows and track efficiency. But if you’re using spreadsheets to manage your operations, that’s essentially the same thing. A big problem with spreadsheets is they are one dimensional – designed to capture volumes – they don’t have the industry best practice calculations so it’s impossible to benchmark the operation. Reports are often manually constructed and not driven from a single source data. Critical frameworks like Quality and Forecasting which need consistency and robustness are often done in silo and do not holistically link up.
We know thousands of operations staff are required to work off spreadsheets, we know how frustrating this is . Staff often show us problems where spreadsheets can’t be accessed by multiple team members, they load slowly and frequently crash, they have to access multiple spreadsheets in different places to capture many different elements.
“In almost every job now, people use software and work with information to enable their organisation to operate more effectively.”
Spreadsheets also make for a very disjointed operation. Data becomes fragmented, and aggregation of data sourced from multiple sites frequently leads to errors and inaccuracies.Aggregation of data also takes time, and we’ve spoken with to a great many managers who have come to feel lack of respect for their employer because they’ve inflicted such outdated and inefficient working practices on them. The length of time it takes to pull together reports also creates a lag, which means there’s no real-time data, and only a limited ability to provide accurate forecasts.
We see a lack of industry best practice calculations. We often find productivity being reported at 100% but based on incorrect definitions and wrong calculations – it’s usually significantly less. And it’s very difficult to manage effectively when you’re living in the past and looking backwards rather than forwards this is further compounded by a lack of confidence in the management information
If you have spreadsheets in your operation there are some key questions you need to ask:
- Is your operations data focused on the past?
- Are your managers being proactive or simply reacting?
- Are you spending more time producing information than you are acting on it?
- Can your spreadsheets tell you if your efforts are focused in the right place, at the right time?
- What robustness issues are you already aware of?
- How confident are you?
You can’t have a single view without a single platform
Front Line Managers through to Directors and CEO’s need a single view of their operations, and they must have confidence in the data that’s being presented to them – because without clarity and consistency an entire career can be jeopardised. When you have only limited data, or you’re not confident in your data, we see a tendency to shy away from making bold decisions. When the front line managers data isn’t accurate, or it’s fragmented, it becomes impossible to answer the day to day management questions.
This also means the leaders that set the tone are unable to answer critical questions such as, “How do you implement your strategic plan to deliver growth without increasing your costs?” or “What capacity exists in the business?”.
When your data isn’t accurate, or it’s fragmented, it becomes impossible to answer the big questions at all levels.
“The goal is to turn data into information and information into insight.”
The solution: a single centralised software system
Nexus is dhp’s proprietary software system. It’s unique because it’s been designed by operations managers.
So it eliminates all the pains and frustrations shared by operational teams, and it offers all the features and functionality on their wish lists
Nexus enables back office and frontline managers to enhance customer service, improve quality and reduce costs. Managers can do “The right thing at the right time, in the right way and for the right reason” with Nexus. With historical, real time and predictive management information all in one place, managers can say goodbye to multiple spreadsheets and plan and manage their teams’ performance more efficiently and effectively. Reporting is quick, easy and accurate, providing greater clarity and enabling mangers to behave proactively.
Nexus provides the definitive KPI dashboards for all levels of staff, providing your teams with the right information, and making sure the right people are doing the right things and that you make the right decisions. Integrated Risk Based approach to Quality and Capacity Management are particularly valuable features providing in-depth insight into the Right First Time indicators and future workloads enabling efficient allocation of resources.