Flexibility to cope with fluctuation: what does this mean for employees?

Customer demand can fluctuate enormously: with Super7 Operations, we try to cope with the fluctuation by making our operations capacity as flexible as possible. But what does this mean for the employees? Perhaps it’s good to share our experiences from recent implementations of Super7 Operations within a large Dutch retail bank.

Because the work is planned on forecast, the small autonomous Super7 teams have some idea in advance of how much capacity they need to deliver each day. The more accurate the forecast is, the easier it is to create a roster that everybody is happy with.  But planning ahead on forecast isn’t easy. The reality is that the actual working hours per day can be somewhat unpredictable. Naturally, this doesn’t always mean working longer, there is an equal chance of going home earlier because there is less work than planned.

The reality is that working predictable hours isn’t possible anymore. The truth is that customers in financial services expect faster response and better service than before the banking crisis.

The team members within a Super7 team can help each other out and compensate when one of the team members needs to be home on time. This can’t be a daily recurrence, however. For people with young children, this often means that they need to find back-up arrangements with their partner, neighbors or grandparents to pick up the kids from the daycare, for instance.

In a recent survey, employees were asked if the felt that their work/life balance had changed – worsened or improved – since the introduction of Super 7 Operations. The result was twofold: very few people responded that the introduction of Super7 Operations hadn’t influenced their work-life balance. About half of the respondents indicated that the balance had worsened. But on the other hand, an equal part indicated that it had improved. For some, the plus-side of working shorter on quiet days outweighs the down side of working longer when necessary. And for others, flexibility results in challenges in the strict schedules of home and family.

More on this topic can be found in my recent book: Super7 Operations – The Next Step for Lean in Financial Services. Available on Amazon.com, or for European readers Amazon.co.uk, Amanzon.de  or Amazon.fr.

Super7 Operations - the Next Step for Lean in Financial Services ; a book by Menno R. van Dijk
Super7 Operations – the Next Step for Lean in Financial Services ; a book by Menno R. van Dijk