Taking Over …

Taking over is done by a manager and those above in a senior position in the corporate sector. It may be Department, Branch office for marketing, Office for administrative purposes, Production unit, or a Big Retail store / Mall. It can also be a large factory or Business depending on the position of the person taking over. The manager taking over can be new to the organization or transferred within the organization.

I am writing this article from personal experience about a takeover within a reputed company.

I took over a department after joining the company from outside. I was heading the Commercial department dealing with customs (for imported materials) and procurement (local).

If I asked for any papers even from the Assistant Managers, they would ask me for a day’s time and would sit late in the night searching all the files for that paper. After a few days I was surprised, because mostly all the people, say about 10 in the department would require the time to find the paper and hand it over to me. I would get the paper eventually, but it would always be late.

I did not make any changes in the department in the first three months. I wanted to tackle one problem at a time and took up the paper issue first. I went to see what the employees were doing to get the paper, that I had asked for. They were searching all files (Hard copies because Desk Top Computers were non-existent in those days). Out of curiosity I asked my team member what he was searching for and which file in particular? He told me that the papers were all filed but he did not know in which file to look for it. Then I asked both the assistant managers what was the filing system that was followed in the department? They replied that there was no filing system and because of urgency they would just be using any file near the table.

I was amazed and annoyed to find ten year old files in the department. Workwise they were not required there and could have been sent to the record room especially where custom papers were involved,where as the others could be simply destroyed. To that effect I gave instructions to both the assistant managers to do that as the first step.

After the instructions were implemented, I developed a filing system for the department. The number of files in the department came down by 70% and instructions were given to all concerned including assistant managers about which paper to file where. Regarding the files to be destroyed a special permission was taken from the CEO describing the nature of files and why they had to be destroyed.  It seemed that my predecessor believed in secrecy and kept all the important papers with him. Before I joined, he asked the staff in the department to file the papers at random. Any way the problem of the filing system was finally sorted out by me.

The second point I noticed was that even assistant managers were not fully aware of the formats they were filling up. This was particularly with reference to Imported Goods. The concerned asst. manager just said that it was being done for years in that manner. When he was asked about what it signifies he was not able to reply. I had given him the task of finding out the full form of  the abbreviations used and why it was there and what we were writing.

He completed the task within 3 days and was also happy to know the full details about the same. An example I am giving here pertaining to the formats for imported goods is Bill of Entry and relevant enclosures. Next was cleanliness in the department. The Files were dumped near the tables and the Almirahs and the shelves were not used properly. I intervened  and got separate department files and individual employee files, allocating proper spaces and places for everything.  This made the department look clean and the efficiency improved greatly. The staff which was used to going home late at about 8 or 9 pm were finally able to leave on time. They would get  late because they would be wasting time in searching for papers or files. With the system in place the team was able to complete their work on time and left the office as per the scheduled time.

Thus, a proper system is always helpful for the employees to complete the tasks in time. Now, you can understand the quantum improvement  that has been made after the arrival of Desk top Computers.

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