Hello, this is Hayashi from the Marketing Department.
Suddenly, not many people like to work overtime, do they?
If it is also wasted overtime, even more so.
At my former company, long hours of overtime work were the norm. It was common practice to stay at the office until late at night just to check in with your boss or wait for the return of circulated documents. Looking back on it now, we wasted most of that overtime. There were many people who worked overtime to make up for their low base salary, and there was even one particular person who spent all his time at his desk making origami “turtles” to kill time (unrelated to his work, of course).
This is an extreme example, but even though sweatshops and death from overwork have become social problems, the reality is that there are still many company employees in Japan who usually return home late at night. Both workers and companies should not want to work overtime if possible.
Therefore, in this article we will explain how to reduce overtime work by improving business processes, using actual examples. Even the turtle maker in the above example, would not have to do this kind of overtime work if the company’s operations were made more efficient, leading to higher salaries.
What is the best way to reduce unnecessary overtime?
Operations need to be optimized to improve efficiency and reduce wasteful overtime.
The meaning of the word “optimization” varies depending on the situation in which it is used, but when used in the context of optimizing business processes, it refers to:
- reviewing and improving business flows and procedures
Below are some examples of operations that we would like to optimize if possible.
- Time-consuming approvals, applications and requests for approval
- Past cases that are difficult to refer to
- Obviously wasteful work, such as duplication of work or duplication of effort
- Where only the person in charge knows about the work
- Where it is time-consuming to communicate with external parties
These are issues and problems that we see a lot in our operations.
So how can we review these points?
In the next section, we will provide examples of how we have successfully optimized operations and reduced overtime.
A Case Study of Reducing Overtime Work by Optimizing Operations
(From a case study of Ichijo Sendai Corporation)
A custom-built housing manufacturer, Ichijo Sendai Construction Co., Ltd. had a problem with excessive overtime work by site supervisors.
FAX Communication Becomes a Major Burden
In general, various types of construction work are outsourced to outside subcontractors for the construction of custom-built houses. In addition, these subcontractors are subject to a wide variety of procedures, such as requests, inspections, and payments.
The company’s business process involves reporting, communicating, and confirming these procedures by fax, so it was necessary to improve efficiency in the following areas.
- Burden of documentation (site supervisor)
- Too much time and effort required to send faxes (both site supervisor and subcontractors)
- Need to return to the office only to check the faxed documents (site supervisor)
- Burden of follow-up confirmation when faxing errors occur (both site supervisors and subcontractors)
In addition, fax communication not only caused excessive overtime for site supervisors, but also delayed construction work due to the difficulty of checking the status of the work.
Automate, Digitize and Optimize Operations
First and foremost, in order to optimize operations in this case, it was imperative to make the fax-based operations paperless. Therefore, the company decided to introduce Questetra BPM Suite to automate and digitize operations.
Specifically, construction plan data is input into Questetra BPM Suite, and PDF files of documents such as request forms and notices are automatically generated accordingly. These files are automatically sent to the subcontractors via email, greatly reducing the workload of the site supervisor in creating documents and communicating with external parties. The subcontractors can also simply reply to the email with a simple comment, and the work proceeds more smoothly, as they can report the completion of construction and notify the client of the billing process.
Files generated by Questetra BPM Suite are also automatically saved to Google Drive. This means that the foreman can now check the contents of documents on his smartphone or tablet while on site. There is no longer a need to return to the office just to check an incoming fax.
※ For more information on the case study, please click here.
Challenges Solved by Optimization
Ichijo Sendai Corporation has succeeded in drastically reducing overtime work for site supervisors by optimizing operations.
As many of you may have noticed, the company’s case study included issues such as:
- More efficient communication with external parties
- Easier reference to records and tracking of progress
- Improving inefficient operations
This applies to the operations we mentioned at the beginning of this article, which we would like to optimize if possible. We have already mentioned that the company solved these issues by utilizing Questetra BPM Suite and Google Drive.
Although not directly mentioned in the company’s case study, the problem of time-consuming approvals, applications, and requests for approval can also be solved by eliminating paper documents through automation and paperless processes, thereby eliminating the need for a rubber stamp. In particular, cloud-based BPM tools and workflow systems can speed up the application and approval process, as they can be used anywhere as long as there is an Internet environment.
※ Click here for examples of successful optimization of paperless application and approval processes.
Questetra BPM Suite to Support Business Optimization
Questetra BPM Suite, introduced in the case study above, is a cloud-based BPM tool.
To begin with, BPM tools are software that supports the progress and improvement of business operations in accordance with the concept of BPM (Business Process Management). BPM is a business management concept that aims to keep business processes constantly optimized through the PDCA cycle.
※ Read our blog about the PDCA cycle here
In other words, it is inevitable that Questetra BPM Suite, a BPM tool, was used for business optimization in the case of Ichijo Sendai Corporation. Business optimization is the process of identifying problems and issues in business processes and improving them, and BPM tools play an important role in this process.
For example, with Questetra BPM Suite you can draw a business process diagram on the computer screen and proceed with the business automatically according to the diagram. In addition, it is easy to refer to past cases as data related to the business is accumulated. Such convenience in business visualization and data reference makes it easy to identify issues and problems latent in the business and strongly supports the optimization of the business.
Optimization of operations has a direct impact on improving the workplace environment, such as reducing overtime work, and leads to improved corporate performance. Why don’t you take this opportunity to take the first step toward optimizing operations to reduce wasteful overtime with Questetra BPM Suite, which you can try for free?
▼ You can also apply for a free trial here ▼