Redundant work is your first clue to downsizing

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Picture1I’VE been seriously thinking how the security industry is making a killing in the civilian world. They’re taking advantage of their clients’ gullibility (or partnership in crime) by deploying as many guards as possible in and out, if not around our offices, shopping malls, office buildings, factories, and car parks. Even in the presence of CCTV cameras and electronic sensors, you wonder why human intervention by security guards is still needed.

When you enter a car park building, you’d be amused, if not annoyed at two control centers that will screen your body parts and car model. The first one is a computer monitor where you swipe your ID card and as soon as the aluminum boom is lifted, you’d be halted by a second control, this time by at least two guards who will ask your full name, inspect and record your car model and plate number – as if you’re trying to enter the Pentagon.

At grocery stores, you can see security guards checking your receipt and routinely compare it with the merchandise you’re bringing out, in their mindless attempt to mock the capacity of million-peso worth of electronic sensors that they say are nothing compared to face-to-face human control powered by a 12-hour work shift, which is a standard industry practice.

That’s not all. Almost every day, you can see traffic enforcers on the road, trying to justify their physical existence by vigorously waving their hands to motorists, unmindful of a well-functioning traffic light system. Sometimes, they have the bold capacity to make the automated lights irrelevant by waving a “stop” sign to motorists for no apparent reasons (like a screening ambulance carrying mentally-incapacitated politicos), when the green light is on, and vice-versa.

When you talk to these people, you’ll be met by a blank stare, and with a soft, almost in a calm voice, they’ll tell you – “it’s better to be despised than to have a security breach” or words with the same effect as if they’re potential heroes willing to sacrifice their lives and limbs to bring to justice a 62-year old terrorist.

Imagine that foolishness under the guise of a well-intentioned security protocol. But in truth, such cumbersome procedure, more than anything is displaying a ridiculous objective of getting as much money from customers, if not make their lives difficult. “No, these electronic sensors and CCTV cameras are not enough,” security agency personnel are wont to say.

That’s why you can see security overkill everywhere where a computer is pitted against manong (uncle) guard as if it’s an eternal, everyday duel between Deep Blue and world chess champion Gary Kasparov. Seriously, take it as a good example. How can human beings susceptible to fatigue, stress, and personal problems, among others win against today’s computers?

This is not to mention the thousands of people they’re screening every hour, every day contributing to the security guard’s fatigue.

Since the time of Deep Blue-Kasparov chess match in 1997, computer programs have progressed many times over to prove that machine can beat man, much more security personnel who are on their toes, 12 hours a day, and six days a week.

Extra processing is everywhere. It’s a detestable act, but many of you can’t understand them unless you remove your blinders. It’s similar in intensity to a mindless procedure of requiring a dozen signature in a government transaction worth less than P1,000. In the private sector, you can also see this happening in the approval procedure of an application for a one-day vacation leave of hapless workers, who must wait to secure the signature of at least three command-and-control, stupid bosses.

Theoretically, extra processing is a form of waste under lean management. It must be reduced, if not eliminated altogether. Why not?

Multiply over-processing to a good number of security personnel doing duplicate to triplicate jobs in several outposts or outlets, 30 days a month, 12 times a year and you’ll readily come out with millions of pesos down the drain or into the pockets of unprincipled office managers who are in the payroll of these equally immoral people from security agencies.

Of course, this is not a general indictment of those people, including those at the Ayala Center as shown in the above photograph. But in many cases elsewhere, we can’t help but think that some managers are simply imprudent and don’t know what they’re doing. Now, can you imagine this happening in thousands of government offices around the country?

NOTE: This article was first published on April 4, 2016 by The Manila Times.


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