Some time ago I talked about Peak Productivity Ideas - ways to increase your productivity. You can even use technology to increase productivity and if you’re a manager – use it to manage more effectively.
I’ve always been a technology freak. The more tech I have, the better. I have two laptops – one which is mine, and another which is my young sons – why two? I really feel that technology will benefit people and the sooner my son learns the benefits of technology and how to use it the better off he will be. He’s also got a Nintendo DS – and we BOTH love it!
On top of having a laptop, I have a PDA, a couple of MP3s (sorry, no iPod, iTouch or iPhone — but only if iCould) plus my work has given me a BlackBerry that I can’t live without! Oh yah, my wife also has a cell phone.
So you can tell, I love technology (and toys).
But technology can also help you manage better, by optimizing how things get done. Most recently, I’ve been able to use “everyday” office technology to improve my teams effectiveness by keep them close to their desk and able to answer calls for more hours – remember, I manage a pretty busy Customer Service center so it’s imperitive for my team to stick close to their phones and not be wandering about.
So what is this wonderful piece of technology that allowed me to save over 12 man-hours per day? The photocopier. Yup, but not just any photocopier – it’s an “all in one” and it hooks up to our corporate LAN so you can print directly from your desktop. But the all-in-one also has a built-in fax which is how I was able to use simple, everyday technology to save 12 man-hours per day (that’s 1 hour per person, and with roughly 12 people working daily).
Many of our customers will call in asking for specific information – maybe an invoice reprint or other information and most want it faxed. Previously the agent would print it out – head over to the printer, then fax it out. But now, they can print directly to the fax and they’re done. No printing it, walking over to the printer and then faxing it out.
Now you might be thinking – so what!? Now consider in a call center, you need to keep your customers happy, you need to answer calls within a certain time frame (within 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes…) and you need to complete those calls just as quick.
If I can cut down the amount of time that my team spends on activities that take them away from the phone, then I can get to more calls, and keep my customers and clients happy.
But there are also other gains that are made by making this one small change:
- The printer is not used, reducing wear and tear
- Less toner used in the printer
- Less paper used, which is ultimately thrown away
- Less energy is used to start that printer
The printer is a heavy duty, workhorse that is built to handle tens of thousands of pages per month – so any savings that can be made extends the life of the printer even if that is only a small change.
When managing you don’t always need to look to make BIG changes, sometimes the smallest changes can result in big gains.
In the next couple of days we’ll go into smart ways and good ways to make good decisions.