I’ve just analyzed the cost of a simple process for a prospect. It is to pass paperwork from a site maintenance engineers through a business. If there’s 5 teams in the field it’s £13,500 a year. I also worked out how to reduce it by 50%.

So, How Long?

When you last mapped your processes, and worked out how long they take. What numbers did you come up with? If you’re looking to find ways to improve the efficiency and productivity of your business, it’s something you need to do.

So, for instance. How long does it take to turn a signed job sheet into an invoice? How long to collate feedback slips from an event you’ve organized? Or, how long to fill out and process mileage claim forms?

It’s something I’ve started doing much more of because of my new business. I need to quantify the impact our mobile platform can have on a customer’s business. Plus, if I’m honest, I’m a geek, and I love nothing more than making a fancy new spreadsheet.


Part of my early career was spent as a maintenance engineer and service manager. I spent years working in a world of grubby, oily, and missing triplicate paperwork that came in from engineers working around the UK. Because I’ve started to work with these types of businesses more I decided to put times to this process I know very well.

So, the process goes something like this;

1) A service team brings in paperwork on a Monday morning

2) Accounts create an invoice from the paperwork

3) Payroll check the hours and mileage on the paperwork

4) Purchasing look to see what materials have been used for re-order

5) Sales are called from site by the engineer if a quote is required for repairs

6) Then paperwork is either filed or scanned and saved to a network drive

Using the groovy spreadsheet, I worked it was about 9 minutes to process each job sheet.

So, let’s assume a busy maintenance business with 5 teams. At 4 jobs per day and 4.5 days a week we get about 4,300 jobs a year. At 9 minutes, your staff are spending 645 hours on the that one process. Put another way, shuffling a bit of paper is costing £13,500 a year. I reckon that the triplicate paperwork alone costs £650 a year.

You Try…

If you’re looking at finding areas where you can improve efficiency and productivity, this a grand way to start. And it’s a simple job to do.

1) Map out the process and write it down.

2) Break down the process into definable work elements, or tasks.

3) Watch the process being worked and time each of the various tasks. Do this a few times so that you can work out an average time for each task.

4) Then add them all up.

This is going to help in two ways. Firstly, by mapping the process you will find small repetitive tasks that could be automated using technology. Secondly, you may get some insight of how your office space physically works. So, does the office layout help or hinder how your staff function.

I’m happy to share the spreadsheet with you. Just sign up below to get a copy. Of course, you can just comment or message here if you have questions. I’m always happy to talk.

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