Posted by: Knightbird | August 2, 2010

Dual Monitors

The relentless elimination of waste should know no boundaries. One of the areas of waste we have looked at is the use of single computer monitors by employees who often have to toggle back and forth between screens. I know I do as I research information. I will switch between a PDF, my word processor and the internet of a frequent basis. We learned a long time ago that dual (or even triple) monitors return our investment in a short period of time.

It’s amazing that most of our budgets are spent on people, then we deny them the tools they need to be successful. In my first few months at Chugachmiut, I was asked if we could purchase a scanner and OCR software. The price was less than $400, but the person asking had been denied before, and was reluctant to ask again. He asked our HR Department to ask, and I agreed to the purchase. We estimated that we saved about 80 hours of effort on just one project by having the scanner. Then I told the story of the amount of time it was taking to save documents because of our poor server and networking system. It was taking just ONE of my employees an average of 2.4 days a year waiting for documents to save. After hearing dozens of similar examples, I have delegated the purchase of equipment to Division Director, with the only instruction being that they document the waste eliminated by the purchase.

A few years ago we started providing dual monitors to many of our employees. We didn’t really document the waste elimination in a satisfactory way, but we intuitively knew that they were time saving devices. Today, I had a conversation with a Division Director who is documenting the savings by counting and averaging the total number of screen shifts experienced daily. She came up with 96 for herself, approximately the same for another employee, and about the same for another 2 employees combined. Assuming it takes 5 seconds for the shift to take place, the total amount of time saved annually through providing a second monitor to each employee is approximately 13 days annually. This is more than one pay period for a single employee. The cost savings is significant, about $4,000 annually. However, we measure our improvements in terms of value to the customer, in the aggregate.  This improvement is just one of many we have implemented. When we add up the savings from an engaged, empowered workforce that is encouraged to use their creative abilities for making improvements and eliminating waste, the results are tremendous. We don’t really save the $4,000. But we gain the ability to do more value adding work as a result of the improvements, which is even more important.


  1. Dr. Ofelt, I realized that when I chose to blog that I would have to endure negative finger pointing non fact based comments like yours. Essentially, you choose to call me names in lieu of legitimate argument. I was born and grew up in a village until I was pulled away by my family. My life was one of poverty, housing projects, and deprivation. In spite of that, I have the education that my Elders urged me to go get. I returned to Alaska to work on behalf of Native people instead of take a cushy job somewhere down south, which would be easy to do. My board of directors continues to employ me because I am passionate about ensuring that we create great value for them. I do not believe that the “Native Lands Act” was enough for most Alaska Natives. We lost a substantial amount of land for inadequate compensation. Our Native Co-Ops are receiving a small pittance in services for those extensive land holdings taken from us, and it’s not government pay. We do not employ consultants to drain our organization. We train our own employees to do the work that our people ask them to do. I live in Anchorage and am proud to work for the Villages that my fathers came from. We have saved millions in waste and turned them into services for our people. If it’s all dope to you, so what. You have no influence nor are you of any consequence to the people of the Chugach. I haven’t seen any mention of you making any contribution to my Chugach people or my people in Southeast Alaska. It sounds like you choose to be the crab rather than the ladder. If I offend you so much, you have the right not to read what I write.

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