“The new system is designed to improve efficiency, amid a decade-long decline in stamped mail use.” Sky News
Unfortunately towards the end of last week I was unavailable, busy advising clients on systems and how to optimise them for efficiency.
In essence the move by the Royal Mail is a smart one, declined use of post boxes so less serviceability and a move to placing post poxes in areas of high pedestrian traffic are all good ideas.
However there are other influences that are impacting on this system. In systems thinking we call these influences environmental, things that happen outside the directly observed system that effect it.
For Royal Mail this is where the most significant business risks lay.
In the environment we now have the internet. I am not physically printing and posting this blog in a newsletter as I may have done 10 years ago. Many people now use digital communication in place of the good old fashioned letter.
There are now also more competitors in the environment for physical posting of items. Some of which you can drop off and collect parcels at between 7am and 11pm, hours which are much more convenient in todays 24 /7 society.
The risk in optimising business systems and processes is we forget or minimise the environmental influences to a point where we have a system that although efficient is still not fit for purpose.
A system is not simply a way of describing input > process > output but of understanding the complexities of business relationships in a simplified way.
Systems thinking works best when you start with the needs and wants of people and work back from there. That could be your customers, your workforce or prospects, ultimately it will be the people who make things work or not.