One of the things that is integral to a systems thinking approach is the use of data, but not in the command and control way of thinking. I have already heard from many of you moving away from traditional (and destructive) call center management measures like talk time and other productivity related measures. Instead now using failure and value demand measures and the type and frequency of these calls that John Seddon outlined for us in Freedom from Command and Control.
We also need to understand the data on a service organization’s ability to perform against customer demand. These are better measures regarding the performance of the system as a whole and not the performance of a unit or department. A systems thinker understands that if the customer expects to get something within a time frame (say a week) and the service isn’t performed during this time frame it will create failure demand (chase calls).
The data from the customer expectation is typically “end-to-end” and crosses (potentially) multiple units or departments. In a command and control organization the measures are by individual, unit , or department and not “end-to-end.” These end-to-end times have a nominal value (what matters to the customer) and in command and control organizations are often ignored.
The new SPC for service needs to be Service Performance Capability using statistical process control. What is the customer expectation around a service and how well does the service organization perform around it. This “outside-in” approach is key to the systems thinking organization. The command and control organization will pass down financial and performance metrics from the top-down and never consider the customer perspective.
The measures needed to achieve business improvement are concerned with the demand and flow:
Demand – The type and frequency of demand that customers put on the system. The predictability of failure and value demand.
Flow - The capability of the system to handle demand in one-stop. If customer demand has to go through multiple hand-offs what is the capability of that demand as defined by the customer.
In future blogs I will walk through the statistical definition of capability for our new SPC system.
Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public). He is focused on exposing the problems of command and control thinking and terminating bad service through application of new thinking . . . systems thinking. Download Understanding Your Organization as a System and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about our intervention services at firstname.lastname@example.org.