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Technical Services Workflow Analysis OLC Technical Services Retreat Mohican Resort & Conference Center April 1, 2008 Morag Boyd and Connie Strait.

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Presentation on theme: "Technical Services Workflow Analysis OLC Technical Services Retreat Mohican Resort & Conference Center April 1, 2008 Morag Boyd and Connie Strait."— Presentation transcript:

1 Technical Services Workflow Analysis OLC Technical Services Retreat Mohican Resort & Conference Center April 1, 2008 Morag Boyd and Connie Strait

2 Workflow Analysis: Why and How Morag Boyd The Ohio State University Libraries

3 Definitions  Workflow is the process, progress, or "flow" of work within a system and the rate at which that happens  Workflow analysis refers to observing how this process takes place. The analysis also involves evaluating the process and improving it for efficiency and effectiveness.

4 What is is not It is all about the PROCESS, it is NOT:  Individual performance evaluation  Satisfaction measurement

5 What are we trying to study  Goal achievement  Resource usage All necessary tasks are being performed No unnecessary tasks are being performed Tasks are being performed effectively and efficiently  Causes of known problems  Opportunities to respond to changes

6 Efficiency  “measured by a comparison of production with cost” Merriam-Webster  Rate of work Time to shelf Minimizing repeated handling of materials  Resources needed to do the work Correctly matching skills and tasks Utilization of software to maximum benefit

7 Effectiveness  “producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect” Merriam-Webster  Quality of work Error rates Following appropriate rules and policy  Choice of work Aligning work with library priorities Meeting short and long term needs

8 Planning a Study  Invest in planning  Clarify goals and expectations Be sure to include all staff Try to reassure that purpose is not to target staff  Define your scope and stick to it  Informal or formal study?  Internal or external?

9 Steps in a Study  Clarify the environment you work in  Define the goals of the department  Examine existing data  Gather new data  Document existing workflow  Identify potential changes  Implement  Repeat

10 Environmental Factors  Staff changes  More electronic, still have print  Different library user needs and expectation  Different internal library needs and expectations  New technology or software

11 Data and Sources  Need a variety of data from multiple sources. Draw your conclusions from the totality of the data  Quantitative: Things that you count  Qualitative: Things that you observe  Internal  External

12 Data You Probably Have  Statistics on orders, cataloging, processing, catalog maintenance, etc. Manually collected Generated from ILS, OCLC, vendors, as appropriate Again, multiple sources can be helpful  Materials budget and its breakdown  Number of FTE staff  Job descriptions

13 Gather New Data  Interviews  Time and task logging Cost study, particularly if considering outsourcing  Investigate other options  External data

14 External Data  Literature Review  Select and investigate comparator libraries Comparable Aspiration Different  Site visits to other libraries  Conversations with other libraries about their workflows

15 Map Existing Workflows  Different people need information in different ways  Diagramming can make it very clear how straightforward your processes are (or not) Detailed, but not exhaustive  Narrative can help explain the workflow  An actual map of the flow of material Will help analyze speed, space or repeated physical handling type problems

16 Graves & Arthur, 2006

17 Dragon & Barricella, 2006: 11

18 Backlogs  Identify any backlogs Remember the invisible backlogs too  Characteristics of backlog  Size is secondary to nature

19 Evaluation  Step back and look at your workflow Where is your diagram confusing? Where are the bottlenecks?  What ideas did staff have?  What did you learn about other services?  What was surprising?  What did you already know?

20 Characteristics of Optimal Workflow  Workflow is built for the mainstream, not the exceptions  Each function handles material once  Rush materials can be processed in specified time period  Overall time to shelf meets library needs  Quality of work meets needs  Job descriptions and time allocation represent all responsibilities of the unit  No duplication of data or effort

21 Outcomes  Identify strengths and troublespots  Tasks not done efficiently and effectively  Tasks that could be dropped  Tasks that are not getting done  Solutions to these problems  Recommendation: Written report

22 Implementation  Pick your battles  Make those quick and easy fixes Small things can have big impacts  Reallocate existing resources (staff, space, software, services, etc.)  Allocate new resources  Work with others towards external change

23 It’s Not Over Yet! Iterative Process:  Implement new workflow  Assess new workflow Important to collect comparable data in initial and post-adjustment study  Identify any continuing or new workflow problems  Repeat as needed

24 Technical Services Workflow Analysis : a local saga Connie Strait Greene County Public Library

25 Internal vs. External A real life story at GCPL

26 Internal Workflow Analysis  Short history  Staff changes  New location  Backlog

27 Internal  What problems? What routines? What to do?  Talk to your people.  Visit your friends.  Count and observe.  Eliminate the unnecessary - tasks, labels, paper copies, etc.

28 Prior to making changes  Get buy-in  Plan the implementation  Do it  Go back and assess.

29 External Workflow Analysis  Why do it?

30 If your boss suggests it…  This is a good place to start.  1. Make the phone call.  2. Tell your staff and all other departments. No vacation please.  3. Allow plenty of TIME.  4. Buy food.  5. After the interview sessions, relax.

31 Suggestions from consultants  Remember that they are suggestions and not decision. Your team makes the decisions.  Those that can be implemented right away, should be.  If money is a problem, talk to the purse string holders.  Use your ILS to the max, given your local constraints!

32 Each day is a new day!  You can and should assess the new routines every few months in your Technical Services department.  Those items on the “wish list” should also be addressed at the same time.

33 THANK YOU! Morag Boyd Special Collections Metadata Librarian The Ohio State University Libraries Connie Strait Head of Technical Services Greene County Public Library Ext 6301


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