Most companies have departments that are set up vertically – sales, customer service, purchasing, marketing, accounting, credit, etc. Most transaction processes run across departments, like order to cash. Attention to the process is keen when it is clearly within the parameters of a department, but how about the hand off between one department and the next? This is usually a gray area and so ripe for your examination and potential wonderfulness.
Think back over the last few weeks, months and try to bring up memories of issues. Identifying one or two that happened because of a process gap between departments is your next step. Exactly what went wrong? Talk to the people that were involved (who) and find out the steps that they took to research and resolve the problem. Did the situation get resolved without addressing the underlying problem, which in this case is the lack of clear process in the gap? (So where is the gap?) When does the problem pop up?
Depending on the severity of problems that the gap is creating, you now have to decide if you are ready to bring this to someone’s attention. Calling out the gap at this stage will get you a pat on the head, but not quite the wonderful kudos that you were looking for because you haven’t gone to the next step – solving the gap with the How and Why.
Providing value is in this next step, even if your proposed solution isn’t used, the powers that be now know that you have critical thinking capabilities. But let’s get back to the how and why and your solution that you want to develop.
Why are issues created at this stage of the process, and is there a pattern to the kinds of issues that are created? Why do some transactions make it through the process successfully and others falter? These are questions for you to dig deeper and find potential answers. Again, if this starts to look like a big deal for your company (lost revenue, loss of a customer, etc.), you should bring your findings to the attention of a supervisor, but try to stay in the loop by offering to participate in a solution.
How can the process be altered or improved to avoid this type of issue from occurring? How can you best affect a solution?
When you are ready to present your findings, try to think about the questions that might come up and be prepared to answer them. Enlist the assistance of co-workers to provide a complete solution (and to show your team spirit). Time to be wonderful!
© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations