Is 'joined-up decision-making' the key to improving productivity and profitability?
As we look forward to recovery and normality in 2021, there are opportunities to change how we do things, for good.
One of our potential contributions to improve productivity and profitability is to support 'joined-up decision-making' at all organisation levels. By this, I mean decisions that consider compliance, customer service and cost, taking into account all the relevant factors and recognising that some things cannot be changed, at least in the planning time-frame. 'Joined-up decision-making' also means challenging some received wisdom or past decisions, made in different circumstances, that have become ingrained and unchallenged. For example, "we always use contractors for this sort of work". Furthermore, the decision-making problem is often 'dumbed down' or fragmented to make it easier for humans to comprehend. For example, consider the allocation of drivers or deliveries from factories determined solely by geographical areas. There are some valid reasons; familiarity with routes and simplicity, but in a world where volumes change daily or seasonally, this is inherently inefficient. Changing workloads with a fixed allocation of resources is a lose-lose; when things are quiet, people slacken off, when they are busy, they look for overtime.
To provide greater productivity, we need to think about how we make decisions at all levels:
Do they consider all the relevant factors?
Do they include all of the available options?
Are there artificial limits or customs and practices that get in the way?
As a final point, even short-term decision-making should include identifying factors that we cannot change now, but that are costing more money than necessary. Relevant factors include fleet composition, working arrangements, inventory location, delivery windows, to name but a few. This sort of insight should feed into decisions at a higher level or over a longer time frame, or both.
Our mission at Opturion is to provide the technology to support decisions, at all levels, in a way that adds value. It's as simple as that.