Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Paul helps set up a new service

Despite the rumblings of discontent that the new methods of administration had brought, work continued apace. The Ferraris were driven out to executives for the weekend; the removals vans could barely keep up with demand; the estate cars towed caravans until their drivers nearly broke down with exhaustion; the bulldozer cleared the way for everyone to go to work each day.

Despite all this the drivers continued to think up new ways of improving the business. It was quite clear that demand for the caravan-towing arm of the operation was mushrooming and the current quota of drivers and vehicles could not really cope. They knew of a colleague who was just finishing a short-term contract with a rival company nearby and they wondered whether he could be persuaded to join them and help increase their capacity. They took the proposal to Paul.

Much to their surprise Paul was in favour of the idea and approved it without much hesitation. He authorized the new post. As to the work that he was to do, he merely had said: "Just get it up and running through the usual channels."

That was two months ago. Setting up this additional activity had not been as easy as they had initially hoped. Paul's 'usual channels' - ones he had created alongside all the other new initiatives - were not entirely straightforward. After the visit to his office the drivers had gone to see the Vehicle Bookings Clerk to arrange for bookings for the new driver to start. She was keen to help but explained that she needed to run the idea past her supervisor, who was away that week.

When this lady returned, she seemed quite amenable to the scheme but felt that it still needed approval form the Vehicle Bookings Manager. This person only worked on Thursdays and Fridays and no one could deputize for her but the Bookings Supervisor thought that time would not be wasted as she could "run the idea past the Section Service Transformation Lead".

This young man, Norbert, in turn thought long and hard about the plan and asked whether executive agreement had been sought for the post of the new driver. The other drivers were by now becoming a touch exasperated and replied that they would hardly be trying to set up more bookings if they hadn't secured this rather obvious first step to start with. Norbert thought he had better check with his Section Operations Manager, who in turn asked Paul. Paul remembered that he had acquiesced and sent a message to the head of the 'General Performance - Car Concern' group to chivvy things along as he was noticing the increase in delays from booking to delivery of the cars and this had led to some heated discussions with the head of the Sedan and Hatchback Agency.

When the Vehicle Bookings Manager returned she saw this correspondence and acted quickly. First she enquired whether this was an new service they were offering or the extension of an old one.

"For heavens sake, Mabel!" chorused the drivers. "You know it is the extension of the caravan-towing service. You come and pester us to take more of these bookings on almost every week because there are so many! Now can you please just set up the booking facility?"

"You need a code," objected Mabel tartly.

"And how do we get one of those?"

"You need to fill out this form," she replied triumphantly, handing over a thick wad of papers.

And so the drivers sat down to fill out the form, answering questions that had been sorted out at the very start of this process but trying nonetheless to keep their patience. Proudly they gave the completed result to Mabel later that day.

"Can you get a code now and start booking?" they asked hopefully.

"Codes are issued by the Vehicle Bookings Manager," she replied. "She's on a Communications Course but will be back next week."

And Paul looked on from his office on the top floor, and smiled, and felt a deep wave of satisfaction wash over him as he regarded his kingdom, where everything was proceeding like clockwork.

If you think this tale is far fetched, just try setting up a clinic for a new colleague in today's NHS.

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