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Productivity Between Departments

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A good relationship between internal customers from separate departments improves productivity and eliminates wastes.

There are three distinct departments in the organization I work for, estimating, production and finance. The relationship between these departments and how they communicate is vital in the flow of work from one from one department to the next, and ultimately the flow of work to our external customers. To some degree each of the departments is linked to the others, relying on each other to be able to complete their separate goals.

To perform efficiently, each department in an organization needs to work towards group goals and visions. "A well crafted group vision serves as an umbrella under which can be gathered an enormous variety of personal aims consistent with it." (Whitley, 1991 pp28). If a company is going to run effectively, each department needs to communicate in a manner where vital information can be accessed easily.

A culture between departments of being part of an overall team needs to be bred into an organization. Each department needs to work towards "shared philosophies, ideologies, values, beliefs, expectations and norms" (Doraisamy, Internal Marketing slide 12). Just as important to a work culture is a culture outside of normal working hours, it is said that 'a team that plays together works together'.


I work for an organization that has 3 offices in the one building, one for estimating, one for finance and one for production. Although each department communicates to a degree what they are up to, people seem to know more about their own department then the one next to them. Once a week all departments meet to converse where they are and what they are doing and what aspects of their jobs are going to affect other departments. Each department seems to have a vision of what their departments goals are but there is a need for "aligning all the organizations parts so that they work together for a desirable goal" Whitley, 1991 pp22.

In the production department I rely on estimating to provide work with a realistic budget and finance to manage and report the financial resources that I am expending. Likewise, estimating relies on me to let them know how they are performing and how they can reform their quoting to accurately take into they level of budget I require. Finance relies on me to provide them with the information that they require to accurately keep track of expenditures and to keep them informed of job progress so they know when and how much to invoice. Communication between departments is seems to work efficiently, with lines of communication rarely getting crossed.

There seems to be a fear between departments to communicate negative points, wether it be a minor request for more information or reporting a major mistake, for fear of causing company politics. Although this helps to maintain harmony, "employees must know how they are doing to perform effectively" (Doraisamy, Internal Marketing slide 18). As internal customers we tend not to give critical feedback, partially because it is not sought. Each employee has visions of how another department could better serve them and communicating those visions is the only way that things are going to change.

Every department has something to gain from better relations with other departments. Through understanding of what your internal customers require you are better able to serve them, likewise other departments are better able to serve you if you are able to communicate in an appropriate manner what your needs are. Through communicating with the estimating department at the tender stage of a job, I would be less likely to be cut short on a budget and they would be more likely to be the successful tenderer. Better lines of communication between accounts would help us understand what information is needed, when it is needed and what form it would be best presented in. Better relationships and understanding between estimating and accounting would help accounting to forecast future income, while estimating would have more of an understanding of the company's financial position. Understanding the processes of other departments can also be a form of multi skilling, lessening the devastation of illness and replacing staff on an organization.

A team that plays well together, works well together. The only social function in my workplace is the annual Christmas party. Past this, workers seem to spend their lunch break with their noses buried in a paper and don't respond well to interruptions from their routine. General chitchat does occur during work time, but seems to be only between members of the same department, so the lines of communication seem to be greatly restricted. Friendships in the workplace open the door for better communication by making people more comfortable to their workmates.

When a salesperson is trying to sell you something, he has to be your best friend leading up to the sale. In doing this, a salesperson is able to unlock a lot of information about their customer. For instance their occupation gives a view of their earning capacity, hence how much they can afford to pay. If it is a present for others, people seem to be less picky and don't care as how much they pay. Even down to relationship status that indicates that a person is less likely to have to justify their purchase to others. All of this is done in 5 minutes with simple customer service training such as ACTIVE (Dwyer, 2000 figure 9.1).

Attentive to the customer

Concentrate on the issue, not the person

Target the key points




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