I recently a two-day workshop on Celestial Navigation. Almost everyone has seen a picture of a sailor using a sextant to read the angle of the sun to the horizon. What is not so apparent is the complex process for converting or reducing that to a latitude and longitude position in the ocean. There are some tables in the Nautical Almanac that provide data used in mathematical computations to “reduce” that angle to a position. To teach Celestial Navigation, our instructor had prepared a brief handout with tables and a step by step procedure for looking up the applicable data and computing a vessel’s position. For me, it made a mysterious process simple, easy to follow and repeatable.
In our consulting practice we’ve been involved for many years assisting our clients with process improvement projects where our work product is a new procedure document to guide personnel through complex processes; e.g., Accounting, Purchasing, HR, Payroll, Asset Management, etc. By documenting these processes, we identify and rectify inefficiencies, and we also produce a training document to guide employees through the revised processes.
By documenting complex processes, we also eliminate the fear that certain key employees are indispensable because only they know how to do complex and mission-critical operations.
Over the years we’ve developed an efficient means of documenting processes in both a flowchart and narrative format. That includes templates that we use to kickstart process review and documentation projects. Keep us in mind if your company needs its processes improved and documented. We can get the ball rolling quickly.
Meanwhile, we hope you have smooth seas and clear skies for your noon sights.