Policy Works blog | Commercial lines bliss

Workplace inefficiencies - Are you the river or highway?

Written by Kathleen Kotchon | Aug 2, 2016 3:03:24 PM

The river—full of twists and turns that seem never ending. The highway—straight as an arrow with clear vistas and one destination in mind (at least in Western Canada). How much time and money do you think “rollin' on the river” is costing you? In an age where we grumble, “the system is slow” when we haven’t received an email sent two seconds ago, things like repetitive tasks and duplication of work squander precious time and resources.

If you’re looking to trade in that river boat for a race car, here are three things you can do to reduce inefficiencies in the workplace and covet that checkered flag.

Go paperless wherever and whenever you can

With a postal strike on the horizon, how much of your business will come to a standstill because you depend on snail mail? If you’re still mailing the majority of your invoices, avoid a traffic jam by sending invoices via email. Think about how much time and money you’ll save on:

  • Paper, toner cartridges and envelopes.
  • Employees getting paid to stuff envelopes.
  • Postage.

There are preliminaries involved like creating a list of names and email addresses plus the cost of PDF creation software; but after that it only takes a couple of clicks to get an invoice out the door! Best of all, you don’t have to worry about postal strikes or your invoice getting lost in the mail.

More meeting awesomeness

In the book How to Create Awesome Meetings, author Gord Sheppard says, “when you add up the hourly wages and the room costs, most meetings cost at minimum a whopping $1,000 per hour, which is something most managers don't realize.”

Always prepare a solid agenda complete with a timetable and stick to it. If your meetings tend to go into overtime, designate a time keeper. For example, minor topics 10 minutes, major topics 30 minutes. Afterwards, brainstorm with attendees on how your meeting workflow improved. You’ll be surprised how much time and money you’ll save when meetings start and end on time and contain clear objectives.

Eliminate roadblocks and bottlenecks

There are some unavoidable roadblocks that result in a screeching halt, like when your best CSR takes a leave of absence and all that knowledge goes with them. To avoid this roadblock, cross-train employees so everyone in the brokerage is familiar with Commercial Management System (CMS) basics like printing pink cards or issuing certificates to keep day-to-day tasks moving forward.

When it comes to bottlenecks, you first have to identify exactly where the buck stops, per se. A bottleneck is not always staff related. You may have a printer that constantly jams and that means pink cards or binders are not printed immediately. Be proactive and arrange to have all office equipment on a scheduled maintenance program.

Think of how much money you’ll save by not having reams of smeared and crumpled paper going straight to the bin. And think of how happy the client will be with your fast and efficient service. However, there’s not much you can do about “that producer” who always leaves the copier jammed and never tells anyone. That is one bottleneck we all know too well.

To learn more about how inefficient workflows are hurting your business, this eBook, Using lean methodology to build better processes, may give you more ideas on how to revaluate workflows at your brokerage.