Experience from the manufacturing sector in the area of preventative maintenance can help cut costs and improve outcomes in the Office/Services area.
Lesson #1 : “Don’t wait until something breaks” – fixing things costs more than carrying out periodic preventative maintenance.
Let’s start with “Best Practices” (BPs). BPs give organizations competitive advantage. The reality is you cannot use BPs all of the time and if you try to impose them you get resistance. Technology and good management help to solve these issues.
You may have noted in some of my rants that a picture of a best practice workflow is a poor substitute for a “workflow that works”, unless you have a simple, mostly linear workflow.
If you have a set of BP workflows and you put them in-line and you have compliance controls at key process points, then you don’t have to stay up nights worrying about whether these are being followed – your software system will take care of things.
Staff that follows BPs run along open tracks, staff that does not has to jump over hurdles ever few yards. Let them figure things out on their own.
Software can highlight evolving problems to allow managers to take advance evasive action so that many problems never actually develop.
. . . . .preventative maintenance, things won’t break, you won’t have to fix them.
Lesson #2 : “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”
On now to the notion of not fixing things that aren’t broken.
This is not about incompetence where you try to fix one thing, only to break three other things (I could write a book about this).
My focus here is on Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI). I have nothing negative to say about CQI, except when the timing is wrong.
Change is necessary, change is good, but continuous change over short periods of time is not good. Simple logic – change requires investment, investment requires ROIs, ROIs detail benefits, benefits take time. If you don’t let an ROI run its course, chances are you may not get the benefits of your investment. CQI over short timeframes is almost an oxymoron.
The other thing is change is disruptive, almost always. It’s like buying and selling stocks. Too much activity, unless you are a successful day trader, usually results in losses.
. . . . . don’t take things to extremes.