Stop Hoarding, Start Collaborating, Accelerate Results

Trust ends hoarding

Paul McNamara

Why Do People Hoard?

Hoarding is the result of people not trusting they will get what they need when they need it.  They hoard test equipment, knowledge about tests, or services required to keep a test environment up and running and compliant…like calibration, repair, maintenance services.  They do this because they feel if they don’t the program or project will be in jeopardy. Hoarding produces a vicious circle of delays, added costs, and increased distrust accelerating more delays, added costs, etc.

The funny thing is that given all other options hoarding IS the right thing to do in the short term. People have been burned many times by lending equipment to others, not being able to get it back, and then having to explain to their manager or customer why the test wasn’t performed on time causing delays to product development schedules or missed revenue targets caused by bottlenecks in manufacturing.

One of the examples we see all the time is customers dissatisfied with their calibration solution.  They aren’t satisfied they’ll get the equipment they need when they need it and so many calibrations are submitted with requests for calibration ASAP.  This is how hoarding happens in a calibration lab.  In addition, the lab’s customers spend wasted time “bird-dogging” their calibrations requiring lab personnel to spending time giving status updates instead of working down their backlog.  ASAP service requests lead to more bird-dogging leads to less time focused performing necessary calibrations which leads to delays and then more request for ASAP requests and the cycle continues.

We’ve Tried Everything That Doesn’t Work!

There are various strategies that companies have employed over the years to deal with this issue but none solve the problem of distrust that – when solved – unleashes the potential of the team.  They create band-aids with equipment cribs, rented assets, priority calibration processes, and asset databases.  They give you the feeling of control but don’t get results because they are not wired to break the bad habits that produce distrust in the first place.  When done properly, solving the trust issue solves all of the hoarding issues.  No more hoarding assets.  No more hoarding knowledge and no more hoarding people’s time.  The result:  teams go faster, innovate more, and cost less.  They get competitive. It gets meaningful and fun. That’s where Sente comes in.

What Works to Stop Hoarding?

We’ve been around the block helping thousands of engineers get what they need when they need it.   The solution requires a technical component and a cultural/behavioral component.  The technical component is the software for managing commitments and the cultural component are the narratives and incentives for behavior change. These components have to be designed to work with each other, not as separate stand-alone components.

The “Technical Solution”

With our state-of-the-art software, we’re able to develop a custom plan that distributes your assets, knowledge, and support resources to the departments that need them, allowing everyone to do their job effectively and with high levels of visibility. We use our software not only to track information and commitments about assets — like when, where, why, and how they’ll be used in the future — but also to establish incentives and track performance and behaviors important for building trust and enabling test process acceleration and cost competitiveness.  Various dashboards, consoles, and workflows support the “Accountability Practices” necessary to break the habit of hoarding.

The Cultural Solution

The cultural solution focused on changing the behaviors of system users to end hoarding.  We execute our Culture Change Algorithm which starts with a robust specification of results we intend to produce along with interim measures to make sure we are on track to produce the result.

Our “Accountability Practices” measure the performance of key processes and provide closed-loop feedback to performers and their management.  Sente helps customers make this transformation with various Strategic Services.  As asset management capability becomes more trustworthy hoarding stops. When hoarding stops time and money are freed up for investment and work becomes more fun.

Usually, the biggest proponents of hoarding become the biggest fans of the new way of operating because it works better for them and, in the end, they are all just trying to do the best job possible for their company and their colleagues.  The vicious cycle of distrust-causing delays becomes a virtuous cycle of trust-building and acceleration.  People and teams start to Work Together, Better, and have more fun in the process getting tests done faster and contributing to the success of their company.

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Notable Quotes

“People often talk about change – Paul and his team demonstrated accomplishments in really producing a lasting cultural change in our organization. The ROI (200%+) we produced with The Sente Group led to our team being recognized by the company with an enterprise-level best practice award. Over time the program went on to produce a 4X improvement to utilization and continued ongoing capital and expense savings.”

Director of Engineering, Fortune 75 Aerospace Company