Tom Bevington and XeP3

There appear to be two key reasons for the fact that noise has largely been ignored. The first is that until comparatively recently it has been below the radar and received little attention from top management, researchers, business schools or top tier consultants. It is only comparatively recently that the importance of the way staff do their work has been recognised by senior management by the use of BPR, Lean and Six Sigma.

The second reason is that the opportunity lies hidden in plain sight in the largely undocumented interface activities required to bridge between the functional work steps.

It is embedded in interfacing activity noise, that is, the activities which staff routinely need to undertake to correct, chase and complete transactions before they can be processed, plus the time spent dealing with the downstream consequences such as the work needed to deal with enquiries about delayed transactions, reprocess, deal with complaints, etc. We call these causes the 4 Cs of interface activities noise (correct, chase, complete, consequences). Middle managers and teams have traditionally been left to struggle with this interface activities noise, something they don't have the authority to tackle, or the tools to analyse or measure, because the corrective action is often needed in teams in other parts of the business. Nor do they have the ability to harvest the untapped capacity at the interface activity level in the many teams scattered thoughout the end-to-end business processes where the impact is felt.

Solutions to the problems of inefficiency are both possible and feasible. Most of the interfacing activity noise can be eliminated by addressing the major causes, leading to significant cost-reductions, faster completion rates, and improved client satisfaction, in many instances, higher than previously thought possible.

Once business processes are interface mapped, the spotlight can be shone on the many work-arounds and time-consuming unnecessary adjustments that staff make every day just to achieve the basic desired outcome of the activity.

XeP3 identifies the interfacing activities and the interfacing activity noise quickly. The tool accumulates viral noise by cause to allow management to set priorities and justify change initiatives.

Tom Bevington, Co-author 'Implementing Strategic Change: Managing Processes and Interfaces to develop a highly productive Organisation'