Always faster, better, cheaper?
Tom's job was becoming ever more stressful: more information, more work, more appointments, more tasks, more customers, and more requirements. You know how it is ... and with permanent flux: what had just been established, was in the next moment obsolete again. He had the feeling he was losing control while doing less, and instead getting pushed around more and more.
When I met Tom for the first time, he was under stress again: his next appointment was in 5 minutes. His third - and it was not even noon. "How can I help? I have a minute!" he said impatiently. "I believe we can help you achieve your objectives better, for example, to have more time - for the important and strategic things," I replied with a wink.
"Do you want to sell me time management training? I already had that - it didn't work," he said rather brusquely. "No, no, I want to free you from your routine and coordination tasks - systems can do that significantly better nowadays. You will be focused on where your skills are really needed," I explained, totally in my element.
Tom looked at me incredulously: "So I get about 80 emails a day, write 30, have 8 appointments with maybe about 40 people and work with 6 different programs on different devices - a machine should do this for me?" - " Exactly!" I replied, being delighted with his precise enumeration, "That's what our workflow software usually does - for over 13 years now!"
The minute was almost up and Tom gave me his card: "Call me; I want to look more closely!" A brisk handshake and he was gone.
Clearly faster, better, cheaper!
That was almost 3 years ago. Since then we have built several workflows together and brought his resource planning into proper order. Last week I visited him with a partner. Full of verve, he greeted us and told us with sparkling eyes of his current project. "We want to extend the workflow to directly involve our customers."
Tom works in a group that develops and manufactures products according to specific requirements, currently for online platforms. Speed and quality are the critical factors. While he and his people had spent endless hours of overtime with emails, Excel spreadsheets, and online apps, today a range of workflows helps with the coordination.
He introduced his project manager to my partner: "Linda coordinates the requirements of the customer." I noticed here that the task list in the system was completely empty. When I asked whether the workflows were working, she said: "Yes - today's jobs are already through! We are often done by 2 o'clock nowadays, whereas before we used to mostly work through to 6."
And Tom gave his view: "For me to get an overview of all current projects, I normally used almost half a day - today I get that with one click from the system. We now want to give this transparency to our customers." Linda added: "Like online tracking with UPS. We actually just have to define what the customer should see and how."
I am meeting the pair again in April at the NAB in Las Vegas. Then we want to talk about how their IT department can build the extended functionality for themselves.
CEITON helps companies to stay efficient and organized in an ever more complex and faster world. With the motto 'Workflow + Scheduling for People & Systems', an unmatched customizable software platform plans and controls all types of business processes. The term CEITON, is derived from a Japanese management theory and means orderliness (Seiton): automatically the right information in the right form to the right resource at the right time (the 4 R's)! Learn more at www.ceiton.com.