Prompted by a comment on an earlier post I pondered this for some time, not wanting to be close-minded, as the opinion that Max Pucher expressed frankly astonished me. I spoke to a number of other people and they were all of the same opinion as me so I thought, what the hell, let’s start an argument, they’re usually good fun and can elicit some really good discussions that can move the thinking on.
Skirmishing over here’s the first salvo:
“Standardization is fine for manufacturing, but you can’t standardize people and how they interact.”
Oh Max, you couldn’t be more wrong. You absolutely can and more importantly you absolutely should. Let me however add a disclaimer: I’m not suggesting that we impose rigid, unchangeable processes with no flexibility or required variance for locality, product etc., simply that there is a best way to accomplish anything and that operating efficiency demands that we implement it.
It is true that “there is more than one way to skin a cat” however – ask any sheep shearer – there are only one or possibly two most efficient ways. Just because we’re talking about human interaction does not mean that we can’t standardize how things should happen.
As an example, we have a client who, prior to Nimbus’ involvement, had a huge problem in their complete customer service operation, ranging all the way through the customer journey from retail to contact centre to back office, (100% human to human interactions) with lack of standardization. By standardizing their operations based on the Nimbus Control platform they now have:
- saved hundreds of £millions in costs
- removed uncertainty of operation therefore increasing the amount of time sales focused people can sell, increasing sales by tens of £millions
- increased customer satisfaction scores in direct proportion to usage of the system
- dramatically increased the buy-in and involvement of the more than 7000 staff involved
This does not remove the requirement for humans to act as humans, is not making them robots, it is simply removing the basic problem that all companies have which is getting the right information to the right people at the right time. If you can solve that problem you can gain massively as evidenced above.
To push the argument further: how do you ensure compliance with external regulation, manage operational risk and business controls unless you have standardization of operation? Briefly; you can’t, and this is driving wholesale uptake of this thinking in heavily regulated industries as getting this right isn’t simply a matter of money saved or earned, it can make the difference between (company) life and death. I’ll deal with this in a later post.
Comments please, the more vehemently expressed the better!!