By Daniel Hunter

Customer centric organisations need to look to the lessons and experiences drawn from the manufacturing world, if they are to radically transform the way they manage both people and processes. This was the stark message delivered by Elizabeth Gooch, CEO of eg solutions.

“World class manufacturing has delivered a radical transformation in the way many now work. From the proactive management of end-to-end processes — integrating throughout the supply chain — through to the effective organisation of workforces along the process and in-line with demand, many have transformed their businesses through capacity planning," Gooch said.

“A focus on continuous improvement, based on real-time KPI reporting — has delivered fact based management. This radical transformation in the way manufacturers now work is an example of the way forward many in the service sector could learn from.

“Take a close look at those organisations in the service sector and you see a totally different picture. Many sources of work are uncontrolled. They suffer from fragmented end-to-end processes with breaks and bottlenecks throughout the supply chain. To compound the issue, work has been organised historically around legacy systems and paper-based systems, as well as the organisational structure. The result: silo mentalities that many in manufacturing did away with years ago.

“As for real-time management, for those in the service sector the challenge is that they appear to have lots and lots of data, but no real-time intelligence as to what is exactly going on.

“Let’s not forget that the customer is the lifeblood of the business. But evidence from research shows that they are frustrated, the service is unpredictable, and often errors still occur. Furthermore, the cost to that business remains huge — we estimate that there is typically around 20-40 per cent waste in every back office as a result of increased costs and reduced productivity and profitability. There is only one solution: back office optimisation, or BOO.”

The back office refers to those employees behind the coalface, where transactions are processed that are critical to delivering the customer experience but are often unseen by customers. The work, available resources and skills within each department throughout the organisation need to be matched, and this will inevitably lead to improved utilisation of resources in both the front and back office.

“The customer journey for many is currently broken and disjointed, with many organisations still failing to understand the basic operational controls needed to smooth out processes, making service more predictable. Operational control based on production line management techniques should be seen as a compulsory foundation required to create a baseline on which to achieve sustainable improvements — it is tactical and can be implemented easily and very quickly with minimal outlay. It also delivers strong ROI as well as helping to deliver many strategic objectives,” concluded Gooch.

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