Business: Design Production

A design team where "requests" from in-house come in one after another.

By improving the "Request form" (Starting step) of design creation, it has become possible to handle requests more stably than before. (Reference: "Episode 574: Business Improvement in SaaS Vendor Operation (Part 1)")

As we also prepared an automatic start event (Message Start Event), cases where the Process of "Designing request" is used as "sub-process" have increased as well. In other words, cooperation between business processes has been automated with API POST communication, by placing "call event" and "standby event" in the Business Process diagram (main process) of Sales department or Manufacturing department. (In short, the Process is started with data such as "title of requested item" or "details of requested work", and data such as "design report text" and "deliverable file" is returned at the same time when the work is completed.)

Furthermore, as we also opened to in-house the sample of the main Process to call out the "sub-process", designing work in various departments are to be integrated into the Process of "Designing request" in the future.

Challenge: Skills do not Improved

"Number of Issues been in charge" and "total amount" have been visualized for each designer. In addition, since veteran designers now control on work progress of "designers" as "receptionist", young designers will not commit "no-check delivery" (delivered without checked by anyone).

However, intrinsic? measure of value in designing is "quality".

With this Business Process as it is, I feel worry that the degree of satisfaction for designs in-house will be going down.

Is it impossible to become a Business Process capable of improving skills of the team as a whole a little more? Since we are improving its independency as a "Design request handling process", we would like to think about a mechanism that leads to skill improvement, not just a Business Process for simply to handle numbers of work.



Example of Business Process to call out [Designing request]

[Designing request-Reviewing]


Operation: Design work

The work of a design team is extensive.

There may be small projects such as "changing icons in SaaS products" and adding them, and there may be also major projects such as "interface development of new SaaS functions".

However... in addition to those, there may be a case where they are requested publishing of a "Customer story article" written by the sales team on the Website, and furthermore, to create a flyer containing the story. Moreover, for an exhibition planned by marketing team, there might occur project of Web contents production, and creation of posters , and so on...

After all, it can be said that it is "a team that continuously being asked for helping hands?" from the entire company.

Challenge: Efficiency Improve on Work that Occurred Passively

It is true that the design team is certainly demanded by everybody.

However, it is inevitable to be said that what they are doing is unobtrusive compared to the fact that the direct division "product development division" and "sales and marketing department" are acting on a daily basis. For example, it is like gift wrapping service counter in a department store. They are keep on giving decorations on outputs of the store as they are asked to do so. And when they notice, "passive attitude" has ingrained on themselves.

Even if they grumbled that if it was the architectural industry, rather, the "designers will move actively, and the engineering group such as "structural" or "environmental" would be passive, "demands from internal company" won't be gone... First of all, I'd like to consider a way to do this passive job in a handsome manner. (Since, even in accounting, human resource department, or IT department, they are handling these "passive job" brilliantly...)

Business Template: [Designing Request]


Operation: Web Article Production

I changed the Workflow of the article writing. (Reference: Episode 571: Business Improvement in Website Operation (Part 1), Episode 572: Business Improvement in Website Operation (Part 2))

It has become a flow leading to the skill improvement of "writers" as well as improving the quality of "articles" by this, I suppose.

In any case, a series of "article creation flow", starting with "Setting of provisional title" and leading to "output of web article", came to be smooth. It can be said that useless communication such as "going to check progress" or "going to ask for reviews" is completely eradicated.
  • Editor-in-chief: Launch the planning such as seasonal series
  • Editors: Determine provisional titles of individual articles
  • Writers: Write articles
It would be better to be expressed that the editor-in-chief, editors, writers have become able to concentrate in their own original role. (Though "rework" or "educational guidance" are not completely eliminated...)

Challenge: Problem of Out of idea

On the other hand, it has become to be discussed on the quality of "provisional title" which is an input to "article production flow".

That is, (though this might be an everlasting challenge for those owned media,) there would be a case where a mood which they are running out of idea for "provisional titles filled the atmosphere... such as "recently wrote a similar article", or "nobody would like to read"...

In this occasion, I would like to make it being able to suggest from the entire company about the ideas of articles (provisional titles) and plans of series.

If there are plenty of ideas, they will be a help for editors and the editor-in chief. And the quality of setting "provisional title" should increase.

[Article Idea Acceptance]


Operation: Review / Proofread

I changed it to work flow that "other writers" also participate in article review. (Reference Episode 571: Business Improvement in Website Operation (Part 1))

The writers interact each other "comments that lead to skill improvement" such as "opinion on the structure" or "alternative idea for headlines or title", while "point out mistakes to be corrected" such as typographical errors or errors in names or dates.

"Editors" has reduced the time spent on reviewing articles or instructing to writers, so that he can have time to think about "ideas for new feature" and to hold "study meetings".

At those "study meetings", actual mistake examples are reported, and discussed. actual mistake examples are reported. The steady improvement in skills will lead to 'productivity improvement'.

Challenge: Holding for Long Period

However, for the writers, it may be a problem that chances of reworking on sent back work are increased, rather than jobs of proofreading are joined.

In particular for a rookie writer, cases where multiple articles simultaneously come back to the Step of "2x. Rework" also occurred. And, in such a case, it becomes a situation that "time to review articles written by other writers" can not be taken...

Hmm, I think that it is better not to allow staying, by setting a deadline date and time on "3. Check" so that forcibly advance to the next Step.

[Article Proofreading-Time limitation]

Operation: Creation of Articles for Website

In some companies where they publicate a Website, it seems they practice "Proofreading on their articles".

It is not limited to commercial based "Curated contents site" such as medical & health sites or fashion sites, as well as in "Owned media" that is for outgoing information related to company's own, efforts for raising reliability on its articles are put.

For us, 'Editors" carry out some sort of "Proofreading and Fact-checking" through the Workflow as the following
  • "Editor-in-chief" launces projects such as seasonal series, etc.
  • "Editor" determines the temporary title for each article
  • "Writers" write the articles according with the title
  • "Editor" checks them
  • "Web designer" posts the articles and photos on the website
However, it is not in a system that we can assert that "all the outgoing information is proper".

Challenge: Quality of Primary Draft

Although there were various discussions, I decided to consider "improving the skills of writer" first. In particular, for the writers who are oftenly told to "rework" by the editors, I want to straight them up.

Although there are various ways of improving skills, what I chose is to make a policy that "writers themselves proofread articles written by other writers." It may seems kinda rough, but people say "One man's fault is another's lesson". Anyway, it is a strategy that to have the writer notice the point he or she should reflect on themselves by reading articles written by other writers daily.

I suppose that as the secondary Effects in the medium to long term, the sense of burden of proofreading which "editors" feel will also decrease.

[Article Proofreading]



Operation: Information Sharing to Multitasking Full-time Employees

"Overnight front desk work", "work related with Check-out in the morning", and "housekeeping on checked-out guest rooms"...

By visualizing internal information using Workflow, a full-time employee has become capable of various work operations. (Multitasking) That is, information that there was a complaint from a guest is shared with the morning front desk clerk from the night shift staff. And from the front desk clerk who deals with checking-out, information of "guest has checked out" is smoothly shared with housekeepers.


Consequently, full-time employees are now capable of joining works such as for "overnight front desk" or "guest room housekeeping", which used to tend to count on part-timers. And at the same time, phenomenon which part-timers to get "a chance to work as a full-time employment" has emerged. (as an unexpected by-effect)

<Example of work shift for full-timers>
  • Earlies (7 hrs work, 1hr break)
  • Lates (7 hrs work, 1hr break)
  • Overnight (12 hrs work, 1 hr break, deemed as 2 days attendance)

Challenge: Idle Time Still Occurs

However, especially in the late night hours, "idle time" (waiting time) arises inevitably.

If a full-time employee actively participate in 'night shift', he or she ought to undertake 'something productive work' even in the late night hours. So, consulting with a BPM consultant, I decided to challenge "originating a stuff blog" this time. (I also have anxiety that my expectation for "degree of multi-skill" to employees might be too much.)

By the way, there was an opinion that it would be enough to carry out "patrolling work" inside the hotel building more frequently. However, demanding "frequency to unnecessary" can not be said to be "productivity improvement". I suppose that safety is adequately guaranteed by "periodical patrol" already conducted

[Blog Write-Post]

Operation: Relation between Checkout Work and Housekeeping work

We made it possible to confirm the information in real time that customers (guests) have "checked out".

Even a full-time employee is now capable of undertaking "Task of housekeeping" as long as he or she has nothing to do, since all the staffs have become able to check "rooms that checked out" at any time on their smartphone / tablet. (See Episode 568: Business Improvement in Hotel Operation (Part 1)

As we are able to do housekeeping soon after checked out sequentially while considering other customers, "time trial of housekeeping" which used to be seen between 10 and 15 o'clock is gone. Also, accidentally disturbing long staying or late check-out guests never happens again.

A Workflow from "Checkout step" to "Housekeeping step"... "Visualization of progress" is really important.

Challenge: Information Sharing from Night Shift Staff

However, on the other hand, efforts of "entering information which the guest has checked out, into Workflow " are now required for the front desk clerk.

Certainly, the meaning of "possible to start housekeeping in order" is understandable. Also, thanks to the self-checkout machine, there is nothing else to do for the clerk than to "receive the room key", at check-out. That means, inputting itself won't be big efforts. However...it is so simple work, I would like to take advantage of "Workflow", a bit more...

For example, is there any how for front desk clerks to receive some sort of information?

So, consulting with the BPM consultant, we decided to have the night shift worker enter the "complaint record". In other words, put information from the night shift staff, such as "There was a ineptitude in the service on the hotel side" or "I got a complaint for noise from another room", onto the Workflow. By that, the task of "receiving the room key" for the front desk clerk might be able to cope with more sincerely...

[Housekeeping flow-Complaints Record]