As a Senior Enlisted Leader for a large division, one of the most tedious task I have to complete every other week is recommending and approving watch bills. The current process is not effective, however, limitations in current funding and higher authority rules & regulations complicate the process further. This process impacts operations, and personnel on a daily basis. The current system can be improved by utilizing information systems, and implementation of current technology, to efficiently complete the process.
Currently all watch bills are completed manually via an excel spreadsheet. In order to verify qualifications a separate spread sheet is provided with information manually typed in. Watch bills are then printed and routed in a folder up to myself. To paint the picture further, we have over 300 personnel who qualifications have to be tracked, over a myriad of watch stations, and annual/semi-annual qualifications. To manually input each qualification, human errors will exist. Additionally, due to the current environmental conditions, we must rotate personnel, our current system do not allow space to properly document and track.
Current questions I’ve asked about the current process are, what instruction, reference dictates the current approval authority? How do we know a Sailor is actually qualified to stand a position or carry a weapon, without seeing the actual qualification? Who input the data onto the spread-sheet, and what is the metric to ensure the data is correct?
In order to improve this process I would solicit feedback and buy-in from the actual watch standers, and supervisors currently creating the watch bill. I would eliminate the manual insertions of data, and create an electronic format. With the electronic format, and the additions of checks, and balances created while building the program and software, the potential for mistakes would be non-existed, allowing for the system to not allow for someone not qualified to stand a position. With the implementation of this system, it would empower the senior personnel over the section to be the approving authority, vice having someone outside of the immediate chain of command.
The electronic version would allow for each watch bill to be approved within 3-5 minutes of reviewing, based on all information required to approved would have been automatically vetted, and/or flagged if personnel are not qualified to stand a position.
The amount of time saved reviewing and approving a watch bill, building in a rotation to where you can visually track the movement of personnel, and providing proof of qualifications prior to approving the watch bill, would provide an immediate improvement to the current process.
The overall verification would be after the system is implemented and the man hours saved and the verification of the right people, in the right positions, eliminating mishaps, and infractions would be the metric used to ensure the process was indeed improved.
I work at American Forces Network (AFN) Bahrain. According to Funk & Wagnall’s New World Encyclopedia, “The core of the U.S. broadcasting industry is the local station. Apart from news, local radio stations do not produce much original programming; they generally broadcast prerecorded music or talk shows, local or network.” At AFN we conduct two live radio shows, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The current process requires someone to be in the studio for 3-4 hours a day only to talk for 10 minutes each hour. I believe that this process could be improved by pre-recording the shows and airing them through an automated process. An organization needs “to understand that their existing ways of doing things may not be the most effective or efficient.”(Bourgeois, 2014, p. 89) By pre-recording the show, personnel would have more time to complete their other duties and expand AFN’s reach through other means.
Many people would be involved in this process, from senior leadership at AFN Headquarters approving the decision to automate radio shows, to leadership at each AFN command implementing the new process and IT. Some questions about the current process and transitioning to the pre-recorded shows would be: (1) How would we conduct interviews? Live or pre-recorded? (2) How would we participate in audience interaction through a pre-recorded show? (3) Is the current process the most effective? (4) Does the current system provide a higher quality show than the new system?
We would know if the process was improved by reviewing our shows, receiving feedback from listeners and tracking how much more productive AFN would be with the new system in place that would free up several hours of time for personnel attached to AFN.
Broadcasting, Radio and Television, Funk & Wagnall’s New World Encyclopedia, World Book, Inc, 2017. Retrieved from https://www.umuc.edu
Bourgeois, D. (2014). Information Systems for Business and Beyond. Retrieved from https://www.saylor.org
I choose to improve Fashion Nova’s customer compliant process. From my interaction with this business their customer compliant process is a drawn-out process. I would like to see them automate their customer complaint process from start to finish. Chapter 8 states that,” Business process reengineering is not just taking an existing process and automating it. BPR is fully understanding the goals of a process and then dramatically redesigning it from the ground up to achieve dramatic improvements in productivity and quality”. Complaint forms should be received, tracked, commented on, approved and resolved all via an electronic, web-based system. Customer satisfaction is vital for a business-like Fashion Nova. To find the value for their money, consumers demand customer satisfaction. This means that Fashion Nova should be able to respond to customer complaints promptly to avoid possible backlash whenever their demands are not addressed. Therefore, there is need to establish a complaint system to address various matters and reduce the number of customer complaints. The system should be designed in a manner that allows customers to file an electronic complaint. It should be user-friendly and offer enough time for customers to be able to engage with business staff. The system should also be accessible from any electronic device, and organization staff should be required to address or resolve customers concerns with 48 hours. To improve this process, each level of management will be involved in this improvement of Fashion Nova’s customer compliant process. Due to funding, the initial design of the system and testing of the system, the executive managers on the strategic level, middle managers on the managerial level, operational managers operational level will all provide pertinent information on what the system should include and guide the development of the system. Once the system has been developed it would be appropriate to train staff members on its usage. Maintenance personnel should additionally be involved to ensure that the system remains functional. Questions that should be asked about the current process include, what is not effective about the current customer complaint process, and who is currently responsible for complaints that arise due to this ineffective process? Lastly, Fashion Nova’s Customer Satisfaction reviews will reflect whether or not this newly implemented customer complaint process improved the current process.
Hammer, Michael. “Reengineering work: don’t automate, obliterate.” Harvard Business Review68.4 (1990): 104–112.
Chapter 8: Business Processes 89
Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/courses/bus206 Attributed to: David T. Bourgeois, Ph.D.