In many large organizations, there’s a duplication of functions across departments. For example, in a large financial company, there may be printing unit run by Administrative Services, another printer run by the Trust department and yet another in the Marking department. In an insurance company, there may be a scanning unit in Central Services, another in Claims and another in Human Resources. At a university, there may be a courier service in Central Administration, more couriers in the Law School and another courier unit run by the Library.
The organization as whole could save money and improve services, if the individual departments came together and shared resources. However, that means being open to radical changes, including sharing responsibility or transferring people or equipment to another unit.
For example, a large bank had print units in multiple departments. Each of these units had large production printers with similar capabilities. None of the printers were at maximum production capacity, and each required at least a part-time operator. In most cases, it meant extra duty for someone with a different primary job. And much of the work from all the printers went out of the same centralized mail operation.
An operations review showed that much of the work could be moved to the printing facility closest to the mail operation. This meant that two of the printers in the other departments could be eliminated saving lease costs. The part-time operators were able to focus on their primary job responsibilities. Plus the work got processed quicker.
Because one department was located in another city, they needed a production printer for work that stayed in their building. Instead of making the business unit provide someone to run the machine, the central print facility took responsibility for the operator. This meant there would be a qualified back-up if the operator was sick or on vacation. Having a remote printer in another city meant the central facility now had a disaster recovery site in case there was an emergency at their location.
In other cases, there have been different outcomes. One review indicated that the number of couriers in place was the right amount to meet the needs of the organization. However, by changing the reporting structure, and improving communication between departments, the units were able to support each other more effectively.
The most important element to success in both cases was the focus on the big picture. What were the needs of the organization as a whole? What was the best use of available resources? How could the departments work together to provide the best service at the lowest possible cost?
By working together and sharing resources, departments can create high-value solutions for their companies.