I’m a BIG fan of efficiency…especially when I’m on the receiving end as a customer.  Few things are more beautiful than being witness to a well orchestrated process flow from one person to another with little (or no) waste of time or material and ending with a satisfied customer – and few are more frustrating when the opposite occurs.

This story begins at the neighborhood Q Lab (names have been changed to protect the innocent) where I went this Saturday for non-routine bloodwork. Disclaimer: I did not have an appointment, it was a Saturday, and it was sunny. I arrived when the doors opened at 8:00 a.m. and the place was already crowded. I put my name on the list and there were 5 people ahead of me with 8:00 a.m. appointments. I was prepared to wait.

To my surprise, I was called in around 8:20 a.m. It was while I was sitting in Cube 1 waiting to have my blood drawn that I got my paradigmhackles raised. My assigned phlebotomist (another word for dracula) left the cube 7 times in the 10 minutes I was in there. She would look through the drawers in her supply chest (there were only 2) then go murmuring out of the cube. Here are my thoughts on this:

  • If you have routine tasks to do all the materials you need should be within reach
  • Materials that you use less often but still require should be within a few feet, but still in your work area
  • You should check your supplies often enough to be sure you won’t run out during a busy period when it’s harder to resupply
  • Keep your supplies organized so that you can find what you need when you need it. Use labeled folders, storage trays, dividers
  • Throw it away when you are done with it. The work area I was in had a cork bulletin board with multiple layers of notices – all hidden except the top layer. I have no idea what value that brings.

Share any other efficiency tips you may have in the comments area. I’d love to hear them.