Handoff strategies: Convert these procedures into results

Everyone has been involved in handoff strategies hundreds, perhaps thousands of times in their lives.

How many times have you been to a restaurant and made an order with a waiter?

Well, on all these occasions, you passed on information to him, initiating a process in which he had to understand what you said, jot it down (or memorize it… quite risky …), and then he would go through these instructions with the chef.

In fact, this process has two handoffs: One where the waiter takes the order and the other when he passes the order on to the kitchen.

Now, answer this: How many times has your order been incorrect or delivered to the wrong table?

It can be even worse when you decide to change an ingredient in the dish, like asking for no cheese sauce because you’re lactose intolerant, or something else like that.

Why is it even more complicated in this case?

It’s because you went outside the norm.

As you will see below, in one of the 4 handoff strategies, the best way to optimize handoffs, is with standardization. Check it out!

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Handoff strategies to optimize processes

In business process management, there’s a moment when people transfer the control of an instance of the process to another department or individual. It is a handoff procedure.

In a restaurant, this can cause no more than an annoyance for you. But, imagine how the proper process management of handoff strategies is crucial to a bank, hospital, airport, or in other activities involving high amounts of money or people lives.

Here are 4 handoff strategies that can help you avoid this problem in your company:

1- Information standardization

There is a famous case where a lack of standardized units of measurement led to the loss of a NASA spacecraft.

“The root cause of the loss of the spacecraft was the failure to convert imperial units into metric units in a segment of ground-based, navigation-related mission software, NASA has previously announced”
  An official report stated.

That’s right: While the engineers who designed the propulsion system used the metric system, those who built the ship employed the English imperial system with inches and pounds.
Loss: $ 125 million.

To return to the more trivial example of restaurants, this is why fast-food chains often use numbered combos instead of allowing the customer to describe all the combinations they want on their plate.

2- Process integration and automation

An extremely efficient way to optimize handoff processes is the automation of repetitive tasks.
This is very common in the use of API calls, programming protocols that allow two internet-based applications to exchange information with each other, without the need for human interaction.

When you place a purchase order through an e-commerce site, for example, it would be extremely time-consuming and error-prone if an employee of the company had to enter your bank or your credit card details and all purchase information into another system.

These handoff strategies are done by integrating the two systems, making them much faster and more secure.

3- The power of checklists

Another one of the most commonly used handoff strategies, known for its simplicity and efficiency, is the checklist. It is still a particular form of information standardization, but it has the advantage that it can be done without systems interaction.

When an aeronautical mechanic is reviewing an airplane for the next trip, he uses a checklist to make sure he is doing everything he needs. If he finishes his shift and another mechanic comes to replace him to continue the task, he only needs to pass on the checklist to the colleague and can leave without creating major complications.

4- Visual Management

Finally, the last of the handoff strategies we will mention is the use of easy-to-understand visual signals, such as a traffic light, for example:

Red means stop! Other cars are coming into the intersection!

The famous Kanban practice for the visual recording of a work order is an excellent example of this handoff strategy.

Learn more: Are Lean and Kanban Boards the Same Thing?

Handoff strategies are also widely used in BPM, for process modeling.

HEFLO is a BPM tool, which has helped many professionals and companies manage their processes, see this testimonial:

“HEFLO is an easy-to-manipulate, practical and very efficient tool. The layout of the project documentation is very good. I completely recommend it!!” – Guilherme Augustin, Process Manager.

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