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Seek Cost Reduction and You Shall Find Process Automation

There are two main obstacles to cost reduction in many organisations.

  1. The project approval process - which (rightly) seeks to control the calls on shared resources by making sure that those projects with the best returns are delivered first.
  2. "Empire Protection" - where people seek to protect their teams "for the benefit of the organisation" (Do you know people who still work in organisations where team size is a key power metric?).

Is there another way? There could be. You might want to empower "day job" teams to seek out process automation with the provisos that:

  1. Their projects pay-back in less than 12 months;
  2. The cross functional team that normally runs the process implements the project without external help;
  3. The KPI's that the team normally work to (each process team does have its own metrics in your organisation - doesn't it?) are maintained in the short term and improved in the project lifecycle.

If all this seems radical to you, then you may need to work up to the more risky projects, but there may well be cost reductions that teams in your business can deliver without a major project being created. Then you might start to see incremental benefits without bogging down your precious shared resources.

Next time you sit down with your management team, try asking them what they consider to be the obstacles to cost reduction in your organisation. You may be surprised to learn that you sit on the tip of their obstacles iceberg.

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