Which reports are necessary and which are legacy and redundant, across the organisation?
As a multinational chemical company with plants across multiple continents, ChemicalCo’s reporting practices vary widely. In order to mitigate time wasted in reporting, it decided to take steps to harmonize reporting across sites and eliminate redundancies and inefficiencies in reporting. This would allow ChemicalCo’s employees to focus their time and energy on value-adding activities instead. The result of the SprintlyWorks team project will act as a baseline in assessing the severity of the reporting problem at ChemicalCo and as a guideline to where the reporting changes can do the best.
Complaints from multiple site managers have been registered, that they are overburdened with too many reporting duties. However, ChemicalCo does not have aggregate information about what reports are created at its plants. The SprintlyWorks team was hired to carry out the initial analysis of this problem in a sample of plants and the results are to be used in finding a way to mitigate the reporting issue.
The SprintlyWorks team conducted a data collection process and analysis to provide the client with a comprehensive list of reports generated at the sample sites. The project consisted of 3 phases:
- Collect data about reporting done at sample sites
- Carry out interviews to understand redundancies and good practices in reporting at the sites
- Summarize the results and abstract the findings
Phase 1: Collect data about reporting done at sample sites
A survey was created and sent out to the sample plants with multiple reminders and with a number of validations of the comprehensiveness of the answers. The survey included these key data points:
- Name of the report
- Creators and recipients
- Number of hours spent on creation and creation frequency
- Data points covered in the report
Phase 2: Carry out interviews
Based on the persons identified for each site as the key stakeholders in the reporting process, the interviews were set up. The main discussions and data points from these interviews were regarding:
- Clarification of the data provided in the survey. E.g. what formula should be used to calculate the time spent on creation of each report on a per annum basis, or the use of SAP at the plant.
- Understanding what redundancies there are among the reports, which reports can be gotten rid of and which can be done more efficiently, e.g. via automation.
- Best reporting practices implemented at the plants.
Phase 3: Summarize the results and abstract the findings
The plants reporting times were compared across plant size and then across all plants. The findings about reasons for inefficiencies and best practices from the interviews were abstracted into final recommendations. The final deliverables included:
- A comparison of reporting time at all plants, as well as based on plant size, presented together with top most time-consuming reports and top report categories. The list of redundant reports and the reason for redundancy was created.
- For each site, visualizations of the relevant survey data were added along with insights and information from the interviews.
- Conclusions about possible company-wide improvements and best practices were included in the final presentation.
- An Excel file was created with the survey data.
The SprintlyWorks team was able to create a comprehensive list of all reports created at the sample sites with an indication of which reports are redundant and inefficient.The list helps ChemicalCo understand its reporting issues and is a good first step in making reporting at ChemicalCo more efficient. By showing the large differences between the plants, the potential savings associated with that and the best practices to achieve the goal of more efficient reporting, were made clear. The management of ChemicalCo is now in a more informed position to tackle its reporting issues.