The Costs Associated with Not Having Systems and
Procedures in Place AND Using Them
It should be a given that when a company has spent time to create and implement systems and procedures in the workplace that they save everyone time and money, right? WRONG. Don’t agree with me?
Systems and procedures will save an organization time and money when they are used efficiently and consistently. When there is a deviation from the system; time, money and resources are wasted. If it happens on a daily basis, multiple times a day, for months on end, it could lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost productivity and wasted employee time.
Let me provide you with an example of a very small “procedure” that is used by just about every national/international hotel brand. This procedure involves placing a “card” on the bed if you would like to have your sheets laundered. Because I don’t feel the need to have my sheets changed on a daily basis – or create extra work for the staff, costing more in salaries by changing sheets and laundering them, – I tuck that “card” into the drawer next to the bed until the end of my stay.
My expectation is simple…
The bed gets made with the existing sheets and the pillow I brought from home with my “bamboo pillowcase” and placed on the bed with the other pillows. Simple, right?
On a recent vacation, my husband and I both took our pillows; the ones with the bamboo pillowcases, and stayed at one of our timeshares. Until recently, the timeshare was part of a large hotel brand. I am not going to name names here; my point is for you to think about the costs associated with the mistake they made by not following a simple procedure and what it is likely costing on a daily/monthly/yearly basis.
Here’s what happened...
We went for an early morning walk along the ocean. While we were out of our room, the staff made up our room, including FRESH sheets and pillowcases on ALL pillows! I could instantly tell that we had fresh sheets because our pillowcases look and feel very different from hotel pillowcases.
Wonderful – those pillowcases were about $50/pair and I wanted them back.
Off to the front desk I went, because I knew this was not the type of conversation you have over the phone. After politely explaining what had happened to the front reception desk, I was told to have a seat and wait for the manager. Just how I like to spend my vacation time! I waited and waited – for about 45 minutes until the General Manager came and spoke with me.
I explained to him (I am purposely leaving his name out as well) what had happened and I asked:
“HOW could this happen?”
I went on to explain, “You have a procedure in place to keep staff from changing the sheets on beds and therefore avoiding any problems with missing pillowcases that guests brought with them.” He acknowledged that I was indeed correct and apologized for this unnecessary incident.
He then offered to put a $100 credit on our folio which would more than cover the cost of us re-purchasing the pillowcases; to which I graciously accepted. Before our conversation ended, I explained to Mr. General Manager that there are reasons why systems, policies and procedures are put into place – of which he agreed. I think what I explained to him next caught him a bit off guard, but was definitely food for thought that he planned to take back to his staff.
Here’s a few of the things we talked about that may be useful for you to consider at work:
- Is this a procedure, training, or communication issue? Could very well be all of the above! They clearly have the “procedure” in place, but likely someone is not communicating the procedure or it is not something that is being trained on during new employee orientation. This leads to lost revenue. He had not thought of it this way and was going to take this back to their next staff meeting.
- What this ONE minor procedure that is not followed costs this brand: nearly $10,000! And that is if they only make this procedural error per room once a week with only one bed. Keep in mind, several units have multiple beds. I’ll spare you my complicated math formula, which I estimated conservatively. You can do a lot with $10,000 – like invest in training or employee appreciation! I think this was quite an eye opener for the GM. Remember those 45 minutes I had to sit there and wait? I did some quick math for him.
- The GM is now spending his time, dealing with an issue that was completely avoidable! When procedures are followed, things tend to run smoothly; and would have in this case – saving time and more $$$.
So why do I care anyway? I’m glad you asked…
- Because when you work with companies to implement systems and procedures (as we do), it’s important to us to know that the organizations that hire us also provide the needed training to their employees. Employees need to understand why their employer is investing company resources to create and implement these systems in the first place. They also need to understand the importance of using the system and what happens when they aren’t used. Typically it means there is some sort of breakdown in communication or workflow that ends up costing the company money or time, and time is money.
- I also care because I am an owner at this particular property and part of our “maintenance fees” each year go to housekeeping.
We practice what we preach…
At Eliminate Chaos, we have invested thousands of dollars in technology systems for our employees to use as well as a 125+ page comprehensive employee policies and procedures manual. When procedures are deviated from, the systems break down it wastes a lot of time for everyone. When you are a small business, it can be even more noticeable.
We use OneNote in our office to document all internal office procedures and all employees that need access to this notebook have access to this information at their fingertips as a quick reference. I refer to this notebook several times a day for information, and I wrote most of it! This way I don’t have to remember everything.
Q4 is just around the corner...
Kicking off 2018 with a published set of internal procedures that you can use for training is always a worthwhile investment in your employees. If we can be of service to help you define some of those systems and procedure, or just help you get started; give us a call; we’d be glad to talk and see how we can provide our expertise.
While we now have new pillowcases, it was not exactly the souvenirs I expected to bring home from vacation! Ironically, the pillowcases were originally purchased in Hawaii, where we were on vacation, so it all worked out. I believe the conversation I had with the General Manager was truly appreciated and welcomed for the input I offered and when I return again, I hope to see the training/communication/procedure issue resolved.
~ Making You More Productive - so you have More Time for Life®
Laura Leist, CPO, MOS
CPO = Certified Professional Organizer
MOS = Microsoft Office Specialist