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When Looking at Your Business, Do Not Have a Blindfold On!

Welcome to this issue of the Business Excellence Newsletter. Today I’m going to describe an experience from a customer project.

This customer project took place within a municipality in Sweden. The municipalities in Sweden have a large range of responsibilities when it comes to giving service to citizens. They have the responsibility for roads and other infrastructure, education, welfare and a lot of permits. This project was within the area of welfare.

ArbetsgruppThe project team looked thoroughly at the different processes to provide welfare and social support to the citizens. In one process they saw that in order to fulfill the customer expectations, they were very dependent on another organization. Of course this was already known but as they now were in a “vision-mode”, they identified the possible improvement in an end-to-end process.

The other organization was the county council, which in Sweden is responsible for health care. Health care was the main core of the process that they discussed. Those working in the municipality also give health care to citizens, especially elderly people. That is given, for example, in geriatric care.

Despite initial hesitation, the discussion started by making contact with the other organization.  Arguments that came up were that “they have other things to address”, “they do not have time”, “the are already working on this issues”, “we have talked with them before”, and so on. All of these things are line organizational limiting talk.

One very skillful person at the municipality took the initiative and set up a meeting with the county region – and guess what? They loved the contact! They saw the same type of issues, from their point of view, and were very glad that someone had taken the initiative.

They had workshops and designed a much better process flow. The new process decreased the number of hand-overs between the two organizations and it clarified the different responsibilities in the handling. Now they are working more often together than apart.

Doctor Examining an Elderly PatientThose that benefit most from the work are of course the customers, who incidentally have two different names in the different organizations. They are called “user” in the municipality and “patient” in the county region. I wonder if the person is ever conscious of when they change name?

The take away from this story is that it is important to contact other organizations involved in delivering value to the customer, and that other participants are aware of the same issues as you are.

To make contact with other parties involved in the delivering of value to the customer, is to take on the responsibility to see the process from the customers view. It is important to understand that the customer is not an actor in your process – You are an actor in their process! If several organizations are involved to deliver the value, it is your responsibility to highlight the need for cooperation. You do it for the customer.

The other parties see many of the issues that you see. Therefore they are happy that someone takes on the responsibility to make them go away.

The tip of the week will then be to look at your processes, find out who else is involved in the delivery of value, and contact them to make sure that you are even more efficient and customer focused.


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To you and your organization’s excellence.