Wednesday, 26 November 2014

We always do it like that...

A consultant was asked into a manufacturing company to help and advise them on the efficiency of their procedures and to look at ways of improving them.  As he was reviewing all the paperwork he came across a daily report which was used as a record of absentee rates, machine failure, down time, etc.  The form that was used was manually filled iin on a copy of a copy of a copy which was a long way from the original!

The photocopied forms were particularly fuzzy at the top right corner, where a small box had a heading that was not clear at all.  The consultant was interested to note that the figure '0' had been written in every daily report for the past year.  On questioning the members of staff who completed the report they told him that they always put a zero in that box, and when he asked them why they looked at each other blankly.  "Hmm.., not sure really." they said "We always do it like that."

Intrigued, the consultant visited the archives to see if he could find a clearer version of the form, to be able to see what was originally being reported on and whether it actually held any significance now!  He went back through the decades of records and found that the zero return had continued uninterrupted for as far back as the records extended - at least thirty years!  None of the forms were any clearer than those currently being used.

A little frustrated, he packed the boxes back up and turned to leave when another folder caught his eye.  It was titled 'master forms'.  Sure enough inside it he found the original daily report master copy in pristine condition.  In the top right corner was the mysterious box, with the heading clearly shown... 'Number of Air Raids today'

If you are finding yourself saying 'we always do it like that' more often than not then it is time to step back and look at what you are doing and to see if it is still what is needed.  If not then you need to take ACTION to change old processes! 

You will need to change your 'thinking' processes as well as the 'practical' processes.  If you are looking to grow and evolve your business make sure you look at the whole and that includes you.  If you want understand how this will work for you then get in touch.

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