Efficiency improvement is something that every organisation struggles with. And one of the key factors of improvement of efficiency is to improve methodology. Tried and tested methods can sometimes fail you, because of some small glitch, identifying that and modifying the method is important, points out Preeyan, in the weekly column. A Different Truths exclusive.
Many times we are caught up in a situation where we follow simple steps but we are unable to get the desired results. The outcome of any process is not in the time we take to do different steps but the method in the way we do it. With the fear of repeating myself, I again quote what my boss used to tell me, “If you did what you did, you will get what you got.” There is always the scope for improvement, but to identify the same you will have to go back to the drawing board.
Citing an example of software programming. My friend was program manager of the team that programs for an international bank, they were upgrading the online banking and ATM systems. For a particular option that the customer had to select, the whole system performance was slowing down, they redid all the steps but were unable to identify or pinpoint what the exact problem was. Then my friend decided to do a method study of each routine that was programmed into the system. What he realised in that study was that one of the search options, the programmer responsible had used a large “if” based query which was actually the culprit, in a place where he could have used any other more optimal function the programmer had used “if”. The query was not wrong but the method was not efficient.
This is what happens regularly in our workplace. I come from a background where reports and analysis have been the mainstream of the deliveries expected by the client. And we had to do so many improvements in our method just to see how we could save time and meet delivery timelines. When it comes to reporting on sales the busiest time of the month is the first three days, and the busiest time of the week is a Monday or a Friday. And we almost tend to miss delivery of at least one or two reports.
This generally happens because we miss out on certain basics, such as a method. Work out a way to study the method that you use for your important deliveries. Study every method, look at it from a third person’s point of view and you will be able to correct the small glitches and improve efficiency.
Efficiency improvement is something that every organisation struggles with. And one of the key factors of improvement of efficiency is to improve methodology. Tried and tested methods can sometimes fail you, because of some small glitch, identifying that and modifying the method is important. There was a time when searching a contact used to take 30 seconds on our phone. Today, we just ask ‘Siri’, ‘Google’ or ‘Alexa’ and she takes just 5 seconds. This is the effort of all the method study they have come up with.
Here is how I would do a method study.
Break the task into the smallest step possible, literally like an algorithm of a computer program. Every single detail has to be mentioned in that. Do not miss out even small step such as movements of the body required to accomplish the task. Once you are satisfied with the breakdown, study each step thoroughly.
Make notes of the study and analyse each step. List out all the ideas of what you want to change, such as system you use, formulation, tools, body movements, objects, materials etc. like, if you want to reduce the amount of power you are consuming at home first start with checking the wiring.
After you have identified the changes you will implement, get the changes done and do a study again, if it works continue else get back to what you were doing till you come up with a plan B. But you will realise that 8 out of 10 changes you made helped you improve the efficiency a little more.
Always document all the changes you are doing, the result of your study, the proposed changes and what has been implemented and the outcome with a difference of before and after.
These are just a few easy steps that I would take to do things, we all are fighting to improve efficiencies, but get stuck somewhere or the other. If you think with time efficiencies will improve by practice then you are wrong, because with the wrong method in place you may be making things worse for you. It is important for you to ensure that the methods used are absolutely correct and efficient. The wrong method leads to wrong practice and wrong practices cannot get corrected easily.
We work to ensure that we do things right, there are many times we don’t realise that the efficiency is not good enough because the timelines are easy or just enough. It is important to improve efficiency at work because if you can get tasks accomplished fast then you are happy, the resources you have are happy and not overstressed, this will show in the results you get.
Hope this helps, have a productive week ahead.
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