Last week, a lawn care company was servicing the property across the street from our office. As I watched, my mind fresh from a review of Tembua’s ISO 9001–certified procedures, I ticked off items: the truck was freshly washed; the crew was neatly dressed in clean uniforms; one person carried a clipboard and checked as the rest of the crew scattered to their positions. I was impressed with the efficiency of motion—obviously, someone had trained these people well!
And then I watched what looked to be the most junior crew member do the cleanup from one side of the property to the other as his coworkers finished their tasks. His last duty was to sweep the walks and drives clean using a leaf blower so no fertilizer pellets were left to be tracked into the building. I nodded in approval at the thorough job.
Then I noticed that he was blowing the extraneous materials into the gutters, where the automatic sprinklers that triggered as his crew left would wash it into the sewers rather than back onto the grass where it was needed. Apparently no one told this diligent new worker why he was sweeping the walks. Yes, he needed to leave the pavement clean, but more important, the fertilizer belonged on the grass, not in the sewer system.
I turned thoughtfully back to our procedures and began to develop a schedule to verify that all of my staff know exactly why they are required to follow each step. There often are multiple ways to complete each task, and a good employee finds places to be efficient, but unless each worker has the information to see how processes work together, more than just fertilizer can go down the sewer!