Streetwise: Revisiting Processes and Procedures

May 22, 2020

From our friends at Eure Consulting:

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended a lot of businesses. Very few companies are still operating as they were on January 1st. That drastic of a shift naturally created a lot of challenges, but it has also created some amazing opportunities. Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing with you what we see as the opportunities that organizations can take advantage of now in order to be prepared to take off when we eventually come out of all of this.

This week we’re taking a look at rebuilding processes and procedures.

The switch to working remotely put a lot of businesses through the ringer. There were quite a few weeks of working out the kinks before most employees were able to settle in to a new routine. They got into daily and weekly rhythms that let them get back to being productive.

The continued need to work from home, however, has brought new issues to light. The longer you and your team have to work apart from each other, the more strain is placed on your company’s systems and processes. What used to work, or at least seemed to work, just isn’t cutting it any more.

These processes and procedures that are starting to break down with the weight of distance working were probably not that efficient to begin with. There’s an old story of American automotive executives visiting a Japanese auto manufacturing plant back in the 70s. They toured the facility and were very impressed, but had one question. Where was the guy with the rubber mallet? In American factories, once a car reached the end of the assembly line, the doors were put on and then someone used a rubber mallet to pound them into proper alignment. The Japanese manufacturers said they didn’t need that person because they had reengineered the assembly line to fit the doors on properly earlier in the process.

Where have you and your company been using a rubber mallet? Chances are those areas are becoming more and more apparent as you continue to work from home. Use the time you have now to reengineer those processes and procedures so that work can be done more efficiently and effectively once you’re back in the office. That way you can stop wasting your time hammering away at the symptom and not the real issue.

Stay safe and stay healthy.