Now that the business has been computerized (Phase Two), it’s time to get the most out of that system. This is achieved by being more efficient in the way data is stored, shared and used.
The first step is to eliminate data re-keying as much as possible. Data should be entered only once and then be available to all departments which may need it. Data re-keying is time consuming and serves no productive outcome, making it a big waste of time and money. It also increases risks, with every re-entry providing an opportunity for an error. Compounding the risk is peoples’ tendency to take less care when it’s the 3rd, 4th, or 10th time entering the same data.
Phase Three also requires a change to in how physical paperwork and supporting documents are handled. Having a mixture of electronic and physical documents increases the chances of something being lost or forgotten. The same problem exists with emails, they get buried in an inbox and forgotten about. Where possible documents are scanned and attached to the job they relate to, thereby saving them in the database. When all information is in the same place a user can be sure they are looking at all relevant information.
Reporting is an important activity but in many cases overly time consuming. Gone are the days where you spent hours compiling data, or waiting until the first of the month for a new report to be circulated. With proper enterprise integration all information is accurate and in the system, making reporting faster and more reliable. In fact, most reports should be available at any time at the push of a button.
The system should not only keep track of the data, it should be a reference point for how to process the data. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) should be up to date and in the system. This means that staff have a clear guide on how to proceed if they encounter an issue or new situation. This will reduce errors and guesswork, leading to fewer problems, fewer upset customers and less rework.
Being properly integrated means that when a job status or deliverable changes, it is clear to everyone. The next person to work the job is aware of the updates and proceeds appropriately. There is no need to remember how each job is different or rely on a certain person to pass on the message. This will reduce the number of internal emails and phone calls, making for a more productive and less disruptive workplace. It will also reduce the all-too-common “I didn’t know” or “Nobody told me” excuses.
EXAMPLES OF PHASE THREE
Below are some examples of how this phase is supported.
- All physical documents scanned and attached to jobs
- All emailed documents attached to jobs
- People handover a job number, which when opened contains all relevant job information entered from all departments
- Automated reports delivered to Managers each morning/week/month.
- Reduced data entry errors and rework
- Fewer lost or forgotten documents/requirements
- Information is more readily available and more reliable
- Reporting is faster and more effective