The Myth of The Efficiency Expert

When the phrase “efficiency expert” first appeared in American business in the 1920’s, there was a certain modernity about it, that an expert must, by sheer definition, be a positive impact to companies and their employees.   By the 1990’s, however, authors like Michael Hammer gave it a more draconian meaning—if a job is not bringing value to a company, it is neither worth automating nor worth keeping.  In short order, an efficiency expert became a synonym for a job cutter.

And business process consulting became a synonym as well.  “You have to interview with this consultant. They call them efficiency experts but what you’re really doing is interviewing for your own job!”

But there is a better view out there of what in business process and workforce efficiency can do.  It’s not about cutting but optimizing.

We understand the difference.

Clockwork has developed a series of workforce optimization tools helping businesses large and small do a better job with the resources they have—not with fewer, not with more, but with what they have.   (To our knowledge, anyway, it’s not a tool to lay off anyone. )

Instead, by understanding the time commitments of workers and their jobs, a better path can be offered and refined to manage the needs of the employees with the needs of the work at hand.  Properly positioned, workforce optimization provides for efficient work, efficient down time (and every employee needs some of this), and the ability to more easily reallocate resources without incurring the higher marginal costs of attrition, losing experienced workers, or having to recruit, train, or reeducate others to do the same job that was competently being done by employee(s)  that were variously burned out, run off, or just too discouraged to do much more than what they are already doing.

Some Clockwork tools are fairly straightforward:  a company has a certain number of employees, a fixed set of work, and a need to use them where it is most effective.  Other situations are more complex but ultimately more valuable for a company—how to balance work, personal time, corporate training and development, peer education, and volunteer opportunities, all within the context of a vibrant and forward-moving corporate environment.

Workforce optimization is, at its core, a function of logistics—the right person at the right place doing the right thing at the right time.  It’s not guesswork.

Of course, you can take a guess and a guess is all you’ll get.  You can hire an “efficiency expert” and realize that the half of what’s left of your office will now be expected to do twice the work, which will inevitably leave the office with much left undone in the process.

Or, you can enlist the support of a comprehensive workforce solution such as what Clockwork can offer.  We’re not looking for someone to justify their job—it’s a poor use of their time and of ours.  With technology, just as with teamwork, everyone can achieve more.