Once upon a time at a remittance (mail) processing facility there was a third shift worker who came to work to find twice his normal workload. A quick meeting with the management revealed that the first and second shifts had learned of their recent company-wide record-breaking process and accuracy figures and elected to start leaving their work behind for the third shift to complete. It was as if they were saying, 'We're bad at managing (completing) these things, here -- you manage it for us'.
So today's discussion is about responsibility dumping as this problem is not particular to remittance processing facilities but occurs in all walks of life.
Instead of developing strategies for improvement lots of people simply look around for someone who already has it 'together' to dump the responsibility off onto.
It happens everywhere. Try and remember the countless requests like this: 'Here -- watch my kids.' Or let your mind drift to memories of searching in earnest at your local grocery store for a clerk only to find them all huddled together in some corner near the front (or back).
For some the first and foremost place to look for process improvement initiatives should be wherever your best and brightest resources are being overworked with responsibilities from other areas. The easy answer is to place the blame on laziness. A more thorough study may be in order to identify the source of the trouble and make changes accordingly.
What type of changes you ask? In a laboratory setting if you do not have a LIMS or are building one you may need to start thinking about some kind of work apportionment tool like perhaps a worksheet generator that assigns work to individuals. Whose task is it to clean out and reinventorize the contents of the lab refrigerators? Whose job is it to recalibrate instruments? Don't know? If it is actually getting done an investigation may reveal that the same people do it week in and week out.
It is one thing to have the capability to assign work to different individuals in the lab. It is another thing entirely to actually use such functionality to resolve problems. In order to do that you need to ask several important questions:
- A) What are we trying to accomplish? In this case you have asked around and find that the same people are responsible for 80% of all laboratory responsibilities. If they get sick or quit your lab may stop functioning as a business.
- B) How will we know that a change is an improvement? In this case you should see certain backlogs lessen or vanish because when the workflow evens out chronically missed tasks will suddenly become routine.
- C) What changes can we make that will result in improvement? This is a different question than the last one. The previous question asks *how* you will know that a change is an improvement. This one asks *which* changes are you planning to implement. Here we are planning to implement worksheets and some form of monitoring to ensure that the work gets done. Every aspect of your plan must have some kind of measurement/tallying cycle so an easy rule-of-thumb would be to tabulate results and schedule a weekly review.
Now employ the Plan/Do/Study/Act cycle (also known as the Plan/Do/Check/Act cycle) and research the changes.Go Back
Citation: I'm bad at this, you manage it. (2013). Retrieved Wed Mar 22 22:14:28 2017, from http://www.limsexpert.com/cgi-bin/bixchange/bixchange.cgi?pom=limsexpert3;iid=readMore;go=1376409861