What does it cost the people downstream in terms of time, money, productivity, morale, and opportunity costs when an upstream person can’t take an extra five minutes to complete a task, activity, or deliverable to defined quality standards? The impact is staggering in magnitude.
Example No. 1
When a salesperson conducts a shoddy site survey, leaves the client out of the process, and doesn’t go over the scope of work in terms of assumptions and the change-order process (five minutes), he/she leaves the PM and technicians at risk when it comes to the true scope of the project and an inability to forward a change order for “disputed” items.
Cost = several hours of time, $400, massive frustration
Example No. 2
When a lead technician doesn’t redline the drawings (five minutes) so the as-builts don’t reflect reality and the service technician has to spend extra time correlating the documented drawings with reality and then ultimately solving the problem under the watchful eye of an unhappy client.
Cost = 3 hours of time, $300, embarrassment and loss of reputation
Example No. 3
When a salesperson cuts/pastes old equipment information into the quotation without checking it (five minutes), causing procurement to have to re-look up the part numbers and prices, and then ask engineering to verify the correct parts – some of which are now unavailable. As a result, the drawings must be modified.
Cost = 2 hours of procurement’s time spent checking for errors (causing delays to another project’s equipment order), 2 hours of engineering time (causing delays to the estimation of another project and, this, irritating that client), $300, and mistrust/loss of confidence among sales, procurement, and engineering
I’ve found that, when true costs or poor quality are measured, it helps to show the true value of downstream people – and the ramifications that the misuse of their time has on other projects and the company as a whole.
So when people say that they’re good – maybe they need to ask the people downstream – and when they say they’re too busy to “do it right” – maybe they need to understand the exorbitant “costs” they just pushed onto someone else.
Have you experienced examples like these in your company? What can you and others do differently today? Need guidance? Let us know at email@example.com. –Brad Malone, Partner, Navigate Management Consulting
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