Posted by: knightbird | July 22, 2011

Making Appropriate and Necessary Work Tools Available

I was reminded again how important it is for employee’s to have the right tools to be productive. One of my employees joined us shortly after I was hired, and before we began our lean journey. At the time we had 4 tower services. One server handled our network and was sporadically available-maybe 50% of the time. Our computers were also slow with poor connectivity. Talk about waste. It’s an interesting fact of work life that after employees hear enough no, they stop asking. I wrote in an earlier blog about productivity gains that came from some of our staff having 2 computer monitors. I haven’t written about the sheer waste that came from an extremely bad network.

Anyway, I found out much later that our computers were so bad that this employee actually asked her boss if she could bring her own home computer to work. We had to answer no because of the confidential nature of most of the work she did. She then asked her boss if she could save her work to her own hard drive—because of the poor connectivity. Again, she had to be told no because of security issues. And believe it or not, it was this same computer equipment that we ended up sending out to our remote work sites. Bad computers never get better, and we put up with a huge lack of productivity and substantial repair costs because of this practice.

Today, we provide the tools our employees need, and more of them. 20 minutes of wasted time on a computer daily cumulates to over 80 hours annually. 10 minutes of walking to a fax machine cumulates to 40 hours annually. Multiplied by a lot of employees, the cost becomes staggering. Moving from a culture of no to a culture of appropriate tools for employees is the right move.

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