Episode 011: Workforce Optimization with Paul Moynagh
One issue that plagues businesses, particularly at the enterprise level, is disorganization. With so many people and departments trying to work together, there are so many opportunities for communication to fall through the cracks.
In the corporate world, disorganization can lead to downtime and higher costs, but for Paul Moynagh, he knows that there can be a potentially destructive element to it as well. Paul is the CEO of Commit Works, an Australian-based company that sells software solutions to industrial sites like mining operations. When things aren’t planned out correctly, or workers go off plan, people can get hurt.
In this episode of the SaaS CX Show, I talk with Paul to find out how enterprise planning can have such a powerful impact on the job sites he visits, and how that can translate to other industries as well. Here are a few highlights of what we discuss.
Breaking Down Silos – the Excel Spreadsheet Problem
Don’t get me wrong – Excel is an excellent tool for many purposes. However, it’s meant as a calculating tool, not as something you use to store and spread information. All too often, people will make changes to a spreadsheet without understanding the formulas and coding involved, which can render the whole thing useless.
For Paul, he was discovering that so many of these mining operations were using spreadsheets to develop plans. Unfortunately, each department was creating its own spreadsheet. For that information to get to the men in the field, they had to copy the details onto paper or a whiteboard. To make a long story short, the information would get missed, plans would go awry, and the business’ bottom line would suffer.
That’s where SaaS comes into play. By developing software that can break down these silos and eliminate the need for spreadsheets, everyone can have access to the same plan at all times – from the manager to the work supervisors to the miners. From there, it’s so much easier to implement a strategy and follow through, which creates a more productive (and safe) environment.
Looking at Problems Fourth-Dimensionally
Another issue that Paul found at mining operations was that supervisors weren’t looking at how one process fed into another. For example, they knew that they had to run a specific machine for a specific time every day to achieve the results they want. However, they weren’t considering all of the extra elements required to make that happen. Infrastructure has to be put in place, crews have to maintain the machine, paths have to be created to help people get from one point to another, and so on.
Because these supervisors weren’t looking at the problem from that perspective, it led to a lot of downtime and setbacks. Rather than being proactive and building a plan that accounted for all of those pieces, they had to fix them on the fly.
The same can be said for enterprise-level companies that don’t blast and drill into the earth. It’s so easy for managers and supervisors to focus on one problem that they don’t realize the cause is actually three steps back (or part of a different department altogether).
Influencing Change for Long-Term Success
Finally, coming up with a plan is the easy part – implementing it and following through for the long run is incredibly hard, particularly when everyone is used to doing things a certain way.
One example that Paul illustrated was that mining supervisors had to report tons of data after a shift by writing details down on a whiteboard. These guys would be down in the mine for 12 hours at a time, so trying to figure things out afterward was almost impossible – something would get missed. Also, the environment isn’t conducive for success – if the whiteboard pen goes missing, how can they record the data?
So, for enterprises to ensure that changes happen and continue to move forward, they have to influence their workers and supervisors accordingly. They need to make sure that everyone has the skills necessary to complete the task, the desire to do it, and the tools to get it done. Without those elements, it’s too easy to fall back into old habits.
We talk about a lot of other stuff in this episode, so be sure to check it out here. Also, you can find out more about Paul at commit.works.