A Double-Touch Is Too Much

When I lived in Saskatchewan, the government amended the law to permit automobiles to have only one license plate on the vehicle instead of two (front and rear). Their advertisement said:

It costs more to do things twice.

It costs more to do things twice.

We recently reviewed our processes around degree audits, and one of the ways we analysed the work was to do a “touch analysis”. We took the above advertisement to heart and asked how many times we touched student files in the graduation audit process. In other words, how many times did we have to open a file and physically do something from the time the student applied to graduate until we issued the diploma?

What we found was a little scary. The average number of times we touched a file was 46!

That’s not very scalable! No wonder our staff were feeling overwhelmed. So, we started with the next logical question: how many times did we do things twice?

We discovered costly double-touches. For example, we would audit a student’s academic record and write down what we found on a piece of paper stapled to the file folder (yes, paper) (I know, I know – what happened to the paperless office?). After writing it down on paper, the staff would type the information into a spreadsheet so they could mail-merge the info into an email sent to all graduation applicants. Then that information would get entered into a database so it could be stored securely and retrieved in a report.

It costs less to do things once.

That was an easy fix – low hanging fruit – and the stress (and carpal tunnel syndrome) of our staff has eased substantially. What are you doing twice or thrice?


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