Cornelis Bonnet

Cornelis Bonnet: A lean organization makes decisions on the work floor

If you want high-quality customer contact professionals to do what they’re good at, you should provide them with relevant information that gives context and direction. That goes beyond the agent desktop with customer data or KPIs such as AHT or a personal NPS.

Providing individuals and teams with insight into organizational or departmental processes ensures higher involvement. This is Texas Digital Europe’s core business.
Processes go more smoothly when people have relevant information. Obviously, the question is what information you should offer and how you can best go about it. Since 2003, Texas Digital Systems Europe has specialized in aggregrating relevant information for professionals and providing it to them in a visually appealing way – in the right place and at the right time. This requires an explanation – for what problem does it solve?
“Contact center work is growing more and more complex, which means it requires higher-level employees. This type of employee wants to be involved in the process and make their own decisions, either individually or at the team level. Employees increasingly wish to work in self-organizing teams. To operate efficiently and make the right decisions, these employees – who are getting more and more expensive – need specific information, which we refer to as ‘Targeted BI.’ Or, if you turn it around: it doesn’t make sense to shower employees with information about processes they can’t influence,” explains Cornelis Bonnet (managing director at Texas Digital Systems Europe).

Work floor wants to make decisions based on the right information

Texas Digital likes to work side by side with organizations that take on Lean Six Sigma projects, says Bonnet. “A lean organization preeminently makes decisions on the work floor, emphasizing process improvement while saving the way in which information is presented for last. If you want decisions to be taken on the floor, you need to have the right information. Which information is relevant? Many wall displays are ‘panting boards.’ They provide information which doesn’t allow an employee to do much more than understand that there’s a backlog. The service level, for example, is the result of a time that’s already passed – you can’t influence it in real time. This also goes for a KPI such as asbsenteeism: basically, it’s the manager’s problem, not the employee’s. A leader board, on the other hand, offers ‘guidance:’ it provides information and context. The latter gives meaning to KPIs. You can also find leader boards in soccer stadiums: information that helps the spectator form a whole with the team on the field. Sales targets are part of a game.”

Bringing information together

Coaches, supervisors, and managers require real-time information – not only about the process, but also about the performances of individual employees and teams. Conversion-related data, for example. Texas Digital integrates these types of KPIs on leader boards (intended for a team or department) as well as in narrowcasting formulas – for instance, by presenting KPI information on the agent desktop, either combined with gamification or not. A key term is ‘the orchestration of information.’ “At the Berlin trade show, for example, we showed how we integrate relevant elements from OBI4Wan’s social media monitoring into leader boards – besides Avaya and QlickVIEW information – for a customer. This results in different visualizations for companies with many home-based agents – such as your personal NPS – and organizations with, say, four offices on four continents.”

Which information increases involvement?

Bonnet stresses that management information is scarce in most organizations. “Five percent of people within the organization know everything. How can you get the other 95 percent on board? Often, managers are completely unaware of the lack of actionable knowledge and information that others experience. Part of my job is performing missionary work to clarify the added value of actionable knowledge and insight. What sets your team into motion? Traditionally, this information comes in peaks – that is, when things go wrong. It’s only then that the manager runs to the floor and everyone needs to listen. That’s not very effective, because you take people out of their process and fail to show any progress which employees can work with independently. A business workshop with these employees helps you identify actionable knowledge and information that are helpful to employees and teams.”

Insight into process is leading

“At Cygnific, Lean has been elevated to an art. Throughout the day, employees are involved through relevant visual information. For example, standups are regularly held in which so-called improvement boards play an important role, and the organization has ensured that the information is presented in an appealing way so people use it. How? It results from the workshop held with employees and, for example, professionals from the marketing and communications department. The BI and IT departments are also closely involved, and they’re relevant to the aforementioned business workshop – they can help determine which information is available and ensure that you provide real-time information which is consistent with the next day’s reports. When involving BI experts or traffickers, you might conclude that information from other departments can also be a valuable addition – for example, when things are expected to get busy, which is not only relevant to the contact center. In many cases, integrating your chain partners’ information contributes to a much better picture of the coherence of processes. So don’t take the information platform – a screen containing information – as your starting point; look at the underlying process you want to facilitate.”
Texas Digital Systems has a rich history. The company was founded by Robert Bower in 1972. He majored in chemistry and computer science at the Texas A&M University, where he also got his PhD. After completing his degree, he worked as the president of the Texas A&M University Data Processing Center in College Station (1.5 hours from Houston). There, he developed solutions for installing and monitoring tape streamers, the go-to storage media for mainframes at the time. These allowed him to determine when tapes were ready to be replaced – an activity that was as important as it was time consuming in the large computer centers of those years.
This basic principle – providing integrated communication solutions by gathering information and showing only those details that are relevant to your process – led to U.S. patents and has remained central to the vision of Texas Digital Systems. Furthermore, the company became a market leader in the U.S. with point-of-sale boards that are used in the American fast-food sector – at McDonalds, Burger King, and KFC drive-thrus, among others. Later, applications for call centers, helpdesks, data centers, command centers, and companies with large telephony systems were also developed and provided.
Author & Images: Erik Bouwer. Published: July 4, 2019 – 
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