Thursday, October 7, 2010

Slot Management

Before I get started, let me just say that this will not be about slot machines and gambling! If I knew the secret to effective slot machine use, I probably wouldn’t be blogging!

This story started early in my career when I became an order administrator after a few years in credit and collections in the same office equipment company. It was a small department that I was transferring to, which gave the manager the ability to streamline the order entry process across the whole department. What he did, basically, was break down each step in the process. For each step (i.e., edit order, questions for the sales rep, input order, etc.), there was a labeled slot in our overhead shelves. As the order moved through the process, the paperwork for the order (which was in a folder) moved through the slots.

There were several advantages to this: 1) if you were out sick, someone else could easily pick up where you left off, 2) you can figure out where you left off!, and 3) you could streamline your work by doing it in batches (like all your edits in one shot, for example).

I was only in order administration for a year and a half, but the concept of slot management is with me to this day. It came in really handy when I worked part time at night as a biller—the day person and I easily would be able to pick up where the other left off, keeping the company’s invoicing running smoothly!

It’s especially helpful to keep things organized if you are multi-tasking. I have a desktop rack in my cubicle for processing department invoices to be paid. Many times other items landed on my desk that were a higher priority, so the invoices had to be put aside; I would just put them in whatever slot they belonged, to be addressed later.

If you feel that this process would work for you, I suggest the following:

· You need desktop or overhead space to set up slots or a desktop rack.
· With overhead slots, label each slot; but with a desktop rack, label file folders instead.
· There will be times when a new slot/folder needs to be created due to a revision in the process; be sure that your slots/folders are movable.

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