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Handoffs


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Handoffs

 

Handoffs - is the moment when the responsibility of a task passes from one person/team/unit/department to another. Handoffs are common in all processes. They can be clearly visualized using a departmental process map or a swim lane process map. Identifying handoffs in a process can help uncover improvement opportunities as they are usually associated with delays / defects / loss of material or information etc. Objective should be to keep the handoffs to bare minimum.

 

 

An application oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by Anand M R  on 9th January 2018. 

 

 

Question

Q 64. Give examples of processes that have moved from multiple handoffs to zero or minimal handoffs. The most extreme example wins. 

 

This Short Answer Question is a part of Excellence Ambassador initiative and is open for 4 hours. All rewards are mentioned here - https://www.benchmarksixsigma.com/forum/excellence-ambassador-rewards/

 

Kindly note that the word limit for this question is 100 words.  

 

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Before when the banks were not yet gone digital, and if we wanted to withdraw cash from bank, The following will be the process

  • We give to the cheque to the  ckerk
  • He gives us the token
  • Then he checks with the ledger for sufficient balance
  • Then he gives the check with his initials to one officer higher than him/her.
  • That officer again verifies the balance in legder and then gives it to another higher officer
  • That higher officer verifies  the signature with the signature cards with the bank
  • Then returens the check with one approved seal to lower level officer
  • Then that cheque is given to cashier
  • Casheir calls the token and gives the cheque.

Now after the banks are computerised, we give the cheque to the single window teller, all the above processes is done by one person at that counter only and the cash is dispensed if the balance/signature etc. are atuthenticated. 

 

So much of handoffs is avoided in banks now and that has lead to reduction of workforce too

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3D Printing used in Dentistry and making of Prosthetic limbs are major examples where the process handoffs have been reduced multiple-fold. The process of making artificial tooth had taking the impression and making a cast, filling it with resin, Heat treating, cooling and finally testing it. Now this process has been reduced to taking a 3D image of the jaw/tooth, 3D Printing it with appropriate resin & fixing it. This 8 step process has been reduced to 3 steps which has made reduced the cycle time from days to hours.

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Example 1)Introduction of ordering kiosks in Restaurants-it has reduced the handoff in the process from the order taker to the kitchen. 

Example 2) ERP with accounting modules which help to align the creation of invoices automatically, based upon the indent raised by the customer. Reduces the process of handoff between the sales personnel and the accounts clerk. 

Example 3) Hand held Tabs for Planned Maintenance routine. The technician who is reviewing the PM uses a checklist in the application to check whether he had done everything as per the requirement and defined process flow. Any other technician who replaces him after his shift only needs to follow the application on the tab. 

Example 4)Traffic light is a good daily experience. Each automated amber light change manages intermediary signals for stop or go, minimizing the handoff process. 

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This reminds me of the days,  when trunk calls used to be booked and various people and systems were involved.  This was later simplified to pagers, but this again had multiple people to actually send out one message.  Since the shelf life was too small for pagers, they were easily replaced with land lines.   This indeed reduced the hierarchy and the number of people involved and the time taken to connect the call to the end user.

 

Its  nostalgic when there was one land line in probably in an entire street.  Having a land line was a matter of pride.

Edited by Anupama
crossed 100 words
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During the eighties when we went to a bank to withdraw money we had to fill up a Withdrawal Slip and wait in queue to deposit the slip on a counter and take a token. The withdrawal slip then went to an officer who checked the ledger for balance in the account. The slip then went to another officer who tallied the signature. The slip then reached the cashier who called the token no. to pay up - 4 handoffs

Then came the "Teller" who took the withdrawal slip checked the balance and tallied the signature on his computer terminal and paid up. Today we just go to an ATM machine and withdraw cash with zero handoff. 

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Written communication

Earlier…. writing, folding, enclosing in envelope, affixing stamp, posting, POsort, dispatch, retrival, delivery, Opening envelope, unfolding.

Now…. Write email, send, receive, read.

Cash withdrawal

Earlier in bank….. write cheque, submit, get token, cheque approval, ledger updating, wait in queue, receive money from counter

Now in ATM…. Insert card, select withdrawl, enter pin, collect money

Train ticket

Earlier… Wait in counter, pay cash, get ticket, move to platform, board train.

Now…. Swipe metro card, board train

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Example1:
Multiple handoffs: Runouts in Cricket, in which the runout process will be initiated by a fielder by throwing it to another fielder(s)/Wicketkeeper who then attempts for the runout. 
 

Zero Handoffs: Direct-hit

 

Example2: 

Communication via old mail system, where you write a letter then post it in letterbox. 
Area Postman collects it and groups it with geographically similar letters at postoffice. 
A person transports it to the designated place
Another postman delivers to the receiver in designated address.
The receiver (can be anyone in a designated address) finally hands it over to the designated person. 
 

Zero Handoff: Email.

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I will say about the handoff time between first computer's[consisted with mainly some vacuum tubes] compare to now-a-day's computer's. Handoff time came to near about ZERO[few milli/micro seconds] between various units[Input/Control/ALU/Main Memory/Secondary Memory/Output etc]

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Cash with-drawl from a savings bank-

Then-Earlier customer has to walk in to Bank, fill form, taken token from clerk, officer endorsement on form, cashier handover the cash after collecting token.

Now- Customer either withdraws cash from ATM, alternately go to teller (single window) in bank and collect cash.

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The most visible n significant process moving from multiple handoffs to zero handoff can be internet banking. 

The account holder can now do all financial transactions like money transfer, payments, FD issuance, etc. sitting at home with no involvement of bank officials/visit. 

Remember the times when for example, for FD issuance...filled forms were given to bank official, he checked n passed on to respective department, further to the Bank Manager for approval/signature, then withdrawal of money n finally issuance of FD document which was either collected or sent via post.

Now you check time period wrt interest rates given on net, select and it is done!

 

Another example can be updating medical records of patients in hospitals on net, no physical files to be moved while moving from one department to another, no reports to be carried from labs or conveyed verbally (which at times were inconsistent)...doctors can access records directly!!

 

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  • Account-To-Report (ATR) Process: Recording manual journal entries in the month-end involves multiple handoffs each month. Due to high number of journal entries, the month-end closure of accounts also gets delayed. In this case, the Robotic Process Automation Tool i.e. Automation Anywhere was used to reduce the number of manual journal entries by 51% and thereby; hand-offs by 18%
     
  • Inbound Calling Customer Service Process: Multiple handoffs happen every day wherein customer’s call is transferred to another department to provide resolution. Without making the customer wait, such calls get closed by recording customer’s query and by ensuring call back within an hour
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