Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I recently had the pleasure of sleeping in a tent in a windy field in Kent during the UK’s recent long weekend. The five nights that I spent sat in my field were eased somewhat by the presence of good friends Paddy McNulty (owner of Print Company MCNG Ltd) and his wife Mary McNulty who has recently re-joined Epson as their European Marketing Manager. So our camp fire discussions tended towards subjects based around business strategy and the future of print and Pre-media. That was until our fellow campers got bored with all that business chat and asked us to change the subject – some people have no taste!
There seems to be a trend here in the UK to go back to nature and so the field that we were in was soon to be awash with trendy new tents bought straight from the new camping stores that seem to have popped up all over the country. As we arrived early we were able to erect our tent (for the first time in public) without too much of an audience. We managed to get the structure up in the specified 40 minutes, but by the time we had completely finished the process (pegging down guy ropes, flattening groundsheets, etc.) it must have been a good 2 hours later. This of course made me determined to improve the ‘tent erection process’ during our next outing!
Upon completing our tent I thought that I would then have the pleasure of watching all of the other arrivals struggle with their new tents; sat in a chair, glass of wine in hand and relaxed in the knowledge that my work was done. However, instead my time was spent struggling, sweating and swearing as I was roped in to helping my friends put up their tents – so three tents later (including one broken tent, thank you Halfords!) I was able to sit back and relax and survey the scene – a field packed full of shiny tents and smoky BBQ’s.
And here is the tentative link to pre-media. By the time I had erected and then disassembled 4 separate tents I was, although I say it myself, quite good at it – I had a system going and I had the process well under control. Next time I will be quicker, more efficient, the tent will be more strudy, etc. Now, obviously camping is nowhere near as complex as Pre-media, but there are clearly processes and sub-processes involved in the managment manipulation and delivery of Pre-media data. And it’s these processes, much like my tent building, that can always be improved – speed, efficiency, quality, etc.
I recently met a chap at a packaging company who had run their pre-media department for quite some years. I asked him what challenges he felt that he faced and he said none – everything was under control and there were no problems or bottlenecks. Of course I found this very difficult to accept and some further digging found that they still received their work from customers on CD’s. Even more investigation revealed that they were actually in the dark ages with their whole department which had been clearly neglected for some time. Not only their technology, but their processes were way behind the modern age and in need of a complete overhaul. Whilst this suited the old timer who was happy to see it all out to his retirement date it in no way suited the company that he worked for – in turn, they had trusted him to operate a system and process that had remained their standard for many years.
And here is my point – no matter how many times I put up and take down my tent I will never get it perfected – there will always be room to improve. And this is true of Pre-media – there are always areas for improvement and the process can never be perfect!
As business process analysts we know this more than anyone and the Business Process Lifecycle model shows that the systems and processes should always be monitored and improved in some way – it is a constantly moving cycle. There should always be an ongoing course of process improvement and if you take your eye off this it is so easy to fall behind, especially in a technology driven industry such as Pre-media.
I have to say thanks for bearing with me. I told you the link was tentative. By the way, does anyone know if there is a tent available with an integrated beer chiller?
Author: Sean Runchman
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