The May 2013 edition of the U.S. Airways inflight magazine has a really interesting article in a monthly “Making it Happen” feature called “One Job At A Time.” (Click the link to follow along at home. The article is on page 12 of the magazine, page 14 of the pdf.)
The piece follows a machinist through his shift in their maintenance facility.
What is interesting is what he has to do to get the job done.
I’m not going to detail it all out here, but suffice it to day that his shift starts at 2:30 pm, and between then and 7:00 pm he spends about an hour and 10 minutes to pull the old bearings and install the new ones – actually doing the job he set out to get done on the airplane.
The rest of the time is spent interacting with the job tracking computer, gathering the required tools, supplies, waiting for the inspector, and making a part because the one in the kit didn’t fit.
This team member is working within the system, and what is described here is so routine that it is a featured article in the inflight magazine.
Now – before you get really critical, you might want to follow one of your primary team members around for a shift and see if your organization does any better.
For example a ward nurse in a local hospital spent exactly 10 minutes over a 4 hour period actually providing care to patients and charting – the things I would call “nursing.”
These are dedicated team members, but the system gets in their way.