Every company that I have ever worked for has had processes or systems that seemed to be completely inefficient to everyone that used them. This is a given in every company with no exceptions in sight. Most just don’t have the time or resources to fix issues as quickly as they can arise and others aren’t aware that the issues exist.
These inefficiencies are a problem for two main reasons.
The first is that many problems do not get bubbled up to top level management or to a high enough level to correct the problem. The new individual contributors ( new hires ) that are hoping to make an impact will raise the most issues because they are not blinded by years of burden. It is standard that the longer an employee stays with a company the greater the likelihood that ineffective processes have become standard operating procedure. What happens with the new individual contributors is that management doesn’t pay to much attention until they get to know the systems and the employees with tenor cease to raise issues. Therefore they problems continue and are never captured for later discussion.
The second is the loss of productivity across the teams affected coupled with loss of margin. When a process is broken it generally creates problems across multiple teams. For example: Sales distributes a package made for a subject matter expert to a standard user. The user has problems and pulls in sales engineering. Sales engineering spends countless hours assisting to resolve the problems. Now the customer feels comfortable buying so they do. Next the problems transition from sales engineering to support. After a few of these arise, the per user support costs and metrics also start to rise. Now your company has just lost huge margins when a well thought out process would identified the problem at the first or second level. The last question is, if these processes aren’t in place then how do you know that it is a problem?
These types of problems and loss of margins is why I suggest an internal system that accepts suggestions or inefficiencies from everyone in the company that can also be voted for. The internal system that I suggest as a starting point is Pligg. Pligg is an open source clone of Digg.com that is easy to install and configure. This solution not only provides a way to gather suggestions but also allows the users/employees to determine what they want to fix the most. With a little employee encouragement and close observation from management this system can assist executives in overcoming inefficiencies in order to raise revenue and margins.
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