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This article is taken from the May 2001 Phatlalatsa newsletter

 

Workflow Study

Typically, when big organisations are faced with problems similar to the DoL they tend to focus on their organisational structure and thereby change the way they are organised. In most cases this does not fundamentally change how people operate as they continue to operate in the same way, albeit in a different structure. Workflow studies on the other hand focus on the work process, prior to making any changes to the organisation. A workflow study is usually conducted in three phases:

Phase one: Analyse the System

  • Define what should be happening and who should be performing these tasks

  • Analyse the current system,

  • Identify the weaknesses in the current system

  • Compare what should be happening with what is actually happening

Phase two: System Planning

  • Decide which tasks should remain, and performed by whom

  • Define revised organisational structure to match these tasks

  • Identify what extra resources are required

  • Define the steps necessary to implement the new system

Phase three: Implementation

  • Document and promote the details of the revised system

  • Ensure required resources are in place

  • Educate everyone in the organisation

  • Train each individual in her/his revised or new responsibilities

  • Plan and schedule the introduction of the new system

Over the next 6 months Matthew and his colleagues from the DoL will be conducting their workflow study following the phases outlined above. It is hoped that by September the DoL will have successfully implemented a revised system in the three provinces in which the study is being conducted.

As part of S&Tís continued involvement in the Department of Labourís Labour Market Skills Programme (LMSDP) Matthew Smith has been assisting the programme in a workflow study across three provinces. The study flows directly out of the provincial planning exercises which Matthew helped facilitate. During these planning exercises it became clear that at the provincial level the Department of Labour (DoL) is beset with staffing, service delivery and management problems. The DoL has therefore embarked on an ambitious study to understand how work flows through the organisation.

 

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