Do the Hard Thing First: On the Hunt for Efficiency
By Garrod Massey
As morning begins another day at UCEC, there’s a chance you’ll find me checking my to-do list that I penned the night before, but I generally won’t be found stuck behind a computer. I used to be much more email-focused and I found it to be a negative. Now, I try to check email just a few times per day.
As I mentioned, I make a task list at the end of each day. The next morning, I try to tackle the hardest things on the list. I’m definitely a morning person, so jobs that are difficult and need a higher attention to detail are the ones grabbing my attention first thing in the day. I also visualize where I want to be at the end of each day. What project needs attention or where do I need to shift resources? I find that when I visualize myself being efficient, the actual behavior follows.
I am very focused on efficiencies right now in my department. We run a pretty tight ship, so there aren’t a ton of places to make huge strides forward in efficiency, but I like to try. One major initiative we’re rolling out right now is transitioning to a tablet-based shop from a paper-based shop.
Using our new tablets, everyone will work off the same schematic. When engineers make changes, I’ll update the drawings so we’re all on the same page. We’ll make notations with styluses, too. Another efficiency this will bring is no more trips to the printer. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but all of those walks over to the printer, restocking paper and waiting for printouts takes time.
Part of creating efficiencies is listening to the people on my team. I want to hear how they think we might be more efficient or smarter with our projects and how we do things. I encourage out-of-the-box thinking. If a better idea is brought to the team, we’re going to examine it. Not all ideas will stick, but I like to be open to hearing them out.
The management team classes we did last year really opened my eyes to searching for efficiencies. It’s not a great idea to do things the same way, year in and year out. Sometimes, small changes can add up to big results. That’s what I’m on the lookout for in 2015. We’re making one of those simple changes that will hopefully make a big impact: we’re moving our wiring materials closer to the people using them. We’ve added a second printer for our wire tags. Small changes, sure, but on the hunt for efficiency, every decision counts.
Garrod is an Operations Support Manager at UCEC. He manages the wiring side of the shop.