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Automation for the People: R.T.M. (Real-Time Matters)

Published on 23 August 2017

Automation for the People: R.T.M. (Real-Time Matters)

Everybody hurts when Real-Time management fails, yet “sweetness follows” when there is a unified approach with pre-agreed reactive decisions.  The Forum’s Standards Benchmarking programme has identified that best-in-class behaviour happened when the planning function has a fundamental aim to be the “nerve centre” of the operation through giving increased coverage, increased capability whilst improving operational control.  Another critical factor was that mechanism are in place to ensure that feedback moves through the planning cycle so that issues/good practice are addressed or replicated as required to deliver constant improvements in their businesses.

Real-Time is definitely back on the agenda with more and more organisations realising this critical part of the planning cycle.  More importantly the “old enemy” of the operation, finance and even marketing are realising the importance of working collaboratively.  Due to this renewed enthusiasm for Real-Time our September workshop has already sold out, with 40 delegates registered. Our National Planning conference (28th November) will host a Real-time workshop where we can explore best practice principles and the future best-in-class behaviours.
Taken from our Standards Best-in-Class report I wanted to start exploring some of the key principles of Real-Time planning and operational effectiveness.
  1. Improved understanding of staffing availability.  We aspire for visibility of not only where people are, but also of what they are doing.  This can be time-consuming and an administrative burden as well as unreliable and in accurate.  In an ideal world, we would have a live view of our people along with the trust that their time is being used in the most effective manner.    
  2. Reforecasting contact volumes and expected service levels.  On the day reforecasting is planning best practice, understanding how on the day events and demands are against original plan and making revised decisions.  The phrase adopted for our Real-Time workshop is “reforecast, review and refocus”.    
  3. Identification of shortages and surpluses along with appropriate solutions.  The better our understanding of the day to better our decision making.  The reforecast will support our judgements and whether we can push or pull activities.  A fundamental of planning best practice is to have pre-agreed push and pull factors, to aid our decision making and improve our reactions.  The future of planning of best practice is to automate this “push and pull” of activity.  The characteristics identified through the Standards programme are having agreed plans with stakeholders on how to deliver extra resource or extra time away from the phones as required.
  4. Be the “nerve centre” of the operation supporting all operational decisions, providing intelligence.  It is important to note that this doesn’t mean sending out regular status reports or update wallboards, as these routine numbers will become wallpaper.  Insight is telling people what they can’t see, and what they need to react to.  Best practice is to provide alerts throughout the day, where appropriate.  The future of best practice will be to automatically provide the analytics of the day, summarising performance and reporting what really matters.   The characteristics identified through the Standards programme also include that reports are never just developed and then cascaded to the stakeholders. In all cases reports delivered are built in conjunction with stakeholders.
 
Ask yourself how much does Real-Time matter? How could automation of Real-Time processes support your business? 
 
Date Published: 23/08/2017
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Author: Leanne McNamee

Categories: Library, Planning & Resourcing

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