Didn’t we already do this?

cost of duplicated effortIn the last Opportunity, we discussed the need to look at processes as a whole before descending into the activities of individuals within the process. One of the benefits of analyzing organizations in this way is that you can occasionally catch something we refer to as “duplicated effort.” Duplicated effort is when two (or more) people within an organization effectively do the same thing just at different stages of a process or in different processes. This kind of wasted effort can go unnoticed for extended periods of time, particularly when the activities are in different functions.

One example that we see fairly often in a wide variety of industries revolves around forecasting. In one client we found as many as seven different forecasts used by various departments to manage their staffing complements. In these cases there are often subtle and not so subtle reasons for the variance, usually related to how much one department trusts the forecasts provided by another department. Sales, finance, production and procurement often view forecasts from a different vantage point. Here are a few more examples of where organizations can duplicate effort:

  • Capturing customer information
  • Checking and cross-checking customer or supplier information
  • Building management tools outside the company IT system
  • Multiple handling due to non-integrated IT systems
  • Creating sales tools
  • Multiple same company entries in CRM systems
  • Marketing/selling to the same customers
  • Creating method changes for the same process across divisions
  • Multiple meetings tackling the same issue
  • Management reports that are largely the same information

Taking a holistic approach to analyzing processes can help identify where duplication could be occurring. Some organizations try to implement knowledge or best-practice libraries to try to minimize duplication, but like most IT-based systems, they are only valuable if they are accessible, easy to use and if the information is kept up-to-date.