New Articles

The Five Most Common Efficiency Issues and How to Fix Them

efficiency

The Five Most Common Efficiency Issues and How to Fix Them

Undertaking productivity reviews to identify efficiency issues and quantify opportunities for improvement are important. We recommend using a range of work-study and observational techniques that provide diagnostic insights supported by process deep dives.

Work-study options include detailed analysis of a process to measure how long each individual stage takes, giving valuable insights on where to focus to speed up the process and to enable resource planning based on accurate workload calculations. A diagnostic efficiency study can look at teams from warehousing to admin and sales to quantify what proportion of time is spent adding value, undertaking essential tasks and how much time is lost.

We’ve identified the top five efficiency issues:

1. Paper-based processes don’t need measurement to spot them. Paper is slower, less efficient and creates filing and storage requirements compared to digital equivalents. At some stage, paper interfaces with a system and there is a need for data input into an accounting system. Look out for paper in your business and review options to eliminate it and increase your efficiency.

2. Moving to systems from paper doesn’t always mean things run smoothly. Time can be lost due to system delays. This downtime is created when systems don’t work as quickly as the human using them. Typical causes of delays are slow systems and connections that mean colleagues watch the screen loading graphics rather than completing their tasks. Work Studies have found that some contact center teams become so accustomed to working around their slow systems that they instinctively timed their general chat during the call with the delays. Speeding things up would mean a quicker call for the customer and more calls per hour handled by an agent.

Another common system delay issue is dual entry of data as colleagues move between systems that are not integrated at the right points. Colleagues working in multiple systems work most efficiently with dual monitors. Good workstation set up helps too – uncomfortable chairs, missing wrist supports, and monitors at the wrong height are all factors that can impact efficiency.

3. Physical work lends itself more easily to ongoing output measure and monitoring, for example, the number of delivery units handled, or widgets manufactured per hour. Office based activity can be harder to get to grips on and efficiency studies provide a measure of how much time is spent on essential activities and time lost. We’ve worked with a client who found that team leaders in their owned and operated customer services teams spent more time coaching colleagues than their peers in the franchised parts of their operation, which explained the variance in customer experience measurement and business outcomes. Another client found a surprisingly high proportion of time spent on internal emails, calls, and meetings. The route cause was a mix of unclear accountabilities and incomplete customer records that required supporting communication.

Additionally, there was a delay in response times as offices in different parts of the world shut down overnight. We recommended a slight shift in office working hours to give more overlap time between markets and an option to move an offshore support team to mirror the working hours of the team they support. Emails, calls, and meetings can add significant value, yet in many businesess, email and call volume is cited as a significant barrier to getting work done. Efficiency study measures the issue and the opportunity size.

4. Efficiency analysis looks at resource versus demand and shows where a demand peak overwhelms available resources, which in some businesses creates potential lost sales. The opposite of this is where teams are not fully occupied, and work-study observations show a slowdown in the pace of work and increased downtime in ad hoc breaks. We’ve often observed significant variance in downtime across teams within the same business and multi-skilling can help create a more flexible team that can be deployed to better match changing demand. Workload models that calculate how much resource is needed in a team help businesses size their teams accurately and create a global benchmark to eliminate variance.

5. Businesses that move stock have two common efficiency issues. The first is when the volume of stock held overwhelms the storage space it creates inefficiency. Stock needs to be held in an organized way so it can be accessed easily. Too often we see stock stacked behind other lines, making it difficult to find and only accessible if other stock is first moved. And stock in multiple locations, unless all accurately logged in a stock management system, is a recipe for wasted time trying to find stock. To maximize efficiency, measure how many times stock is handled as it goes through your operation. Eliminating unnecessary stock handling will improve productivity and reduce handling costs.

___________________________________________________________

Article by Simon Hedaux, founder and CEO of Rethink Productivity, a world-leading productivity partner that helps businesses to drive efficiency, boost productivity, and optimize budgets.

Sophean Releases Upgrade for Corporate Strategy Solution Platform

In an effort to support the implementation of corporate strategies, Sophean, a leader in Enterprise Innovation Management (EIM) solutions, announced the release of updated version of Accolade® Enterprise Innovation Management. One of the primary features of the upgraded solution is helping companies connect the dots between strategy and execution. Reports detailed in the release reveal only 56 percent of company strategies are successful.

“Companies that do not adopt more interconnected and adaptable operating models will not remain viable in today’s new business landscape driven by digital disruption,” said Sopheon CEO Andy Michuda. “Most companies have some form of digital transformation or other strategic corporate initiatives underway, but many are failing to execute on these successfully. We see a lack of corporate-wide understanding of, and alignment around, strategic priorities to be a primary cause. This is complicated further by a lack of connection and transparency between the corporate entity and the operational execution teams resulting in poor or incomplete data for strategy decision making.”

Additional features  included with the latest and greatest version provide critical insight ranging from increased strategy realization rates to optimizing investment and human resources.

Dedicated Sophean customer, Honeywell, commented on the upgraded solution and how it will impact the company in the near future. Richard Herd, Director of Program Management Tools, Strategy & Deployment explained:

“Honeywell is excited by Accolade’s advances in support of enterprise adaptability, segmentation and product execution. The enhancements in Accolade 12.2 will help us navigate change more effectively as an organization, and streamline our daily work on a team and personal level so we can move the business forward more quickly.”

Source: EIN Presswire

Industry Trends for 2019

GateHouse Logistics Company released information this week predicting changes to come for 2019 supply chain logistics in the form of increased automation and freight data usage, creating key optimizations within the supply chain sector. Through the sharing of information, businesses are more equipped to predict opportunities to strengthen their roles within the industry.

“The year 2019 will see the supply chain become much smarter and more efficient by embracing the freight data visibility era,” CEO Jesper Bennike said. “Increasing the flow of supply chain data through automation between shippers and carriers will become the norm and this will help shorten time to visibility.”

Along with increased automation, the theme of complete data transparency paired with a higher level of selection for supply chains were noted as  major game changers industry experts can anticipate for 2019. If this plays out, shippers will have real-time visibility tracking and ETA updates, minus the frustration previously experienced.

Bennike added, “A gamut of new Industry 4.0 technologies that interact, communicate and create lakes of vital freight information is now entering the supply chain and these will be instrumental in bringing about the smart supply chain.”

Technology and information demands will far surpass what is already in place as seen with temperature control and positioning, shifting into a granular level of information with details surrounding door sensor weight, tire pressure as well as predictive maintenance. Not mentioned is the impact this will have on risk management and the mitigation automation provides by eliminating the human error factor.

This prediction supports the goal of conducting business smarter, creating a higher level of supply chain management globally, inclusive of automation and blockchain technology. The result? Increased networking and partnerships enabled to break new ground.

Source: Gatehouse

 

Singapore Expanding Trade Relations

A recent Memorandum of Understanding signed between COSCO Shipping Ports and terminal operator PSA will increase strategy efforts, ultimately supporting the development of two new berths and substantiating  trade relations between Singapore and China, according to a joint release this week.

TEUs are estimated to increase by 2 million for a grand total of 5 million once the additional berths are successfully implemented.  Automated yard technology will provide efficiencies in operations, as currently seen with the three existing berths at the  Pasir Panjang Terminals.

“The COSCO-PSA Terminal is our major investment in S.E. Asia; with the continuous support from parent company and shipping alliance, volume of the terminal continues to grow. The addition of the two new berths will enable us to secure more volume from the parent company and shipping alliances by providing them with high efficiency services. As our major hub port for transhipment in S.E. Asia, the expansion in the terminal will facilitate us to capture more volume from the new global trade momentum in the region,” commented Vice Chairman and Managing Director of COSCO Shipping Ports Zhang Wei.

Beyond the substantial expansion of TEUs predicted through the agreement, overall support for the Port of Singapore and the global role it plays within the container and shipment hub sectors will be evaluated and increased opportunities for globalization provided.

“PSA is honoured by the trust that CSP has placed in us to serve as their main hub port for container transhipment in Southeast Asia. With their continued support and confidence in PSA, we will strive to augment their strategic presence in Singapore, and we look forward to the opportunities this brings to support global trade,” PSA International Regional CEO Southeast Asia Ong Kim Pong said.

Source: COSCO SHIPPING PORTS Limited

 

 

New Blockchain Technology for 2019

As digitization and technology solutions continue to be the focus for trade experts, IT Solutions company CyberLogitec announced the creation and launching of their new blockchain focused solutions platform. The company, known for its work in providing solutions in the ports and terminals sector, confirmed this initiative will be implemented for all IT solutions in 2019.

The solutions, deemed as FREIGHT9 and OPUS9 pave the way for a purely digital system for maritime businesses, eliminating the hassle of paper-based documentation for all shipping. This is another prime example of the rapid pace of digitization within the trade sectors.

The total elimination of inefficiencies is the goal of many trade professionals, starting with paper-based systems and operations. With global trade shifting at a fast pace, companies must rely on technology-based solutions to keep up and maintain operations on a holistic level, reducing risks and duplicate efforts.

“The company aims to set the highest standards of innovation and excellence in the logistics ecosystem. It is hoped that as the logistics industry players adopt blockchain technology, the full potential of blockchain will be realized, and global trade will be boosted,” commented CyberLogitech in response to the news.

Source: Port Technology