Business Process Sat Nav – Are you taking the scenic route?

Posted by Emma Newman on July 9, 2015

The trusty Sat Nav – let’s face it, where would we be these days without a bit of Google Maps, or TomTom right? We all put our trust into that annoying robotic voice and almost mindlessly follow it until we reach our destination. It’s great, especially for me given the fact I could get lost in a paper bag!

We feel safe in the knowledge that at the end of a sat nav supported journey, that little annoying voice has managed to get us from A to B without a problem once again. Now I know there will be some exceptions to this rule – but never too many that it would put me off trusting it the next time I need to follow a route that I am not quite familiar with.

These days the use of Sat Nav has become almost ingrained in our day to day behaviour. We would rarely consider ignoring it, even it if looks to be doing something rather suspicious! Come on, we have all done it – ‘where on earth is it taking me, that can’t be right…..’ but because we trust in its ability to understand where we need to be, and the obstacles that may be faced along the way we continue to follow it. It’s considered one of today’s must haves, and it’s accessible to all.

The scary thing that this has made me think about is that an ‘A-Z’ for some generations now is merely the start and end of the alphabet – how old do I feel now!! Let’s quickly get back to my point!!

My point is very simple really. It’s a point that I think validates a nice method we should all try when it comes to creating business processes that work, are optimal, can be trusted and accepted, but most importantly processes that you are likely to adopt, actually follow and rarely question.

We could learn a lot from the ‘Sat Nav’ approach, and here’s why….

  • Information – You trust it, you know it is always kept up to date, and the data that supports its directions are a true reflection of the landscape you are navigating
  • Instructions – Your route instructions are clear and simple, you are always well prepared for the next step
  • Control – You are warned when an element of control is required, for example, is a speed check approaching? Are you driving too fast?

Put the word business in front of those 3 key points, and you can quickly see how they translate into the world of process design.

So let’s think that one through….

  • If the information that supports your business process is not there, you will by-pass the process in order to get what you need and somehow you will muddle through to get things done, albeit in a less streamlined fashion.
  • If your instructions are not clear, you may end up taking ‘the scenic route’ to get to your destination, which can cause frustration, extra fuel costs and no doubt arguments along the way! Yet again, you are creating inefficiencies… it takes longer, you may have gone the wrong way multiple times, or missed vital turnings.
  • If you don’t have a process with embedded control mechanisms, well quite frankly, you could end up in trouble… control is there to uphold your process, and ensure the right things are done in the right way, by the right people. It enables compliance. You won’t get very far if you don’t know the rules, and end up breaking them.

 

The reality is we know we will all get where we need to be in the end, but at what cost?

 

Why didn’t we trust in our route, why did it take so long – and no one told me about those road works?!

We must however be cautious when developing good process. To avoid falling into the trap of following process so blindly that we stop engaging our brains is a tricky balance to strike. We don’t want to create an army of process robots that comply without thought, but build process that takes out inefficiency and creates more time for value-add activities rather than excessive routine.

I think that we can all agree that in order to be successful and ensure cost effective operations, we must be guided correctly by process. Without this everything else will fail at some point, or cost you a lot more money in the longer term. The fact that you may have state of the art technology means nothing without a solid and sustainable process.

 

 Process should be easy, it should be efficient, and something you don’t even realise you are following – just like your Sat Nav.

 

Ask yourself this:

Are your operational business processes being followed? If so, does it get you where you need to be as easily as it should? Could you save your ‘business fuel’ if you were to optimise your operational processes and drive out inefficient working practices?

Improvement is something we all have room for, but sometimes you are almost too close to your operations to see the wood from the trees.

A fresh approach and expert insight could prove to be a very wise investment, one that will get your ‘business process Sat Nav’ updated for the future success of your operations. Get yourself back on the road again, and have a chat with us at Leadent to see how we can help.

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Emma Newman

Emma’s previously worked for Serco, one of the UK’s largest facilities management providers, where she was the Global Rostering Solution Lead. Emma has a keen understanding of the issues faced by facilities management companies in today’s competitive environment, and having worked for us at Transport for London, Severn Trent Water and others, she helps FM companies apply best practice in mobile workforce management.