Purple Highlighters and Hoarders
When Jennifer and I, and a press operator, were looking for ways to improve the Job Ticket—in order to eliminate the chance of someone overlooking special instructions—we came up with a "highlighting system.” We added a PROMPT to our Quality Control Checklist (for inputting data, and printing our Job Tickets) to highlight various items on the ticket, i.e. pink highlighter for ALL special instructions, and purple highlighter for other key data.
Surely, I thought, there is a BETTER way, and eventually we would find it, but for now, PURPLE highlighters!
So, “Why purple?” I wasn't going to argue with my daughter-in-law over purple highlighters versus some other color—after all, she was the Production and Customer Service Administrator and functioned at a high level.
One thing I’ve learned about implementing systems over twenty-plus years—you need the INPUT and buy-in from your employees, so if they want something as small as using the color purple to improve a system, you just go with it.
The end result of highlighting key items on our job tickets was—it STOPPED the excuse about “not seeing” special instruction. It also STOPPED errors.
Also, on the operators own Quality Control Checklist, there is now a PROMPT for the pressman to check, that states, "All special instructions highlighted in pink have been read and understood."
I assure you, this works!
Alright, Purple Highlighters and Hoarders—so where do "HOARDERS" come into play?
During that same visit to Office Max for those purple highlighters, a woman (product demonstrator) approached us from behind a small table and introduced herself as the owner of a business called "Clearing the Way Home." She said she was an Organizing Specialist who helps individuals organize their homes and offices by providing organizational tools to eliminate clutter that causes chaos.
"Wow! You’re speaking my language,” I said, “Tell me more!” The woman told Susan and me that, over many years of organizing clutter in many homes and businesses, she became aware of people with “out-of-control organizational behavior,” even meeting some with mild-to-severe psychological issues, “like HOARDING.”
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.