What is Latent Capacity? 

October 21, 2022 | Business Improvement

latent capacity

Latent Capacity is the term we use to describe the additional capacity to provide customer services built into your organisation that you’re simply not using (or aware that it’s there).

It’s hard to know what everyone is doing all day. What they could be doing and whether given the organisational structure, that they are all being kept busy and productive. OPX provides Operational Insight into your organisation’s Operational Efficiency, and, in particular, can easily identify Latent Capacity regardless of where it is in the world.

How to identify a latent capacity within your team?

Allocating, dividing, and tracking work across teams (hybrid, or office based) and countries can be complex without the right tooling. Even when successfully achieving this, you often find peaks and troughs of utilisation. Teams go from being extremely busy, to hardly busy on an intra-day basis (call centres for example). Furthermore, demand may vary by season or from capacity shortages such as when something changes outside the company, in the marketplace, and service demand for the call centre explodes.

So what’s needed is a logical five-step process to get the best from our team members, wherever they may be:

1) Identify the Skills and the Utilisation of the team members:, this is the supply or capacity side of our business.

2) Identify and track at a very granular level the service demand, ideally in real-time.

3) Find the latent capacity e.g. underutilised team members.

4) Get the ability for them to handle the work, and break down organisational barriers.

5) Allocate the over-capacity workout to other teams, but don’t interfere with the team members’ primary work.

Let’s look at these in more detail

Every team member has a set of skills they use to process the work we want them to do. After all, they were hired for these skills to create a capacity to do work in a team. However, over time, and as demand changes, we can find that the skills they have and the times they use get eroded resulting in inefficient utilisation of skillset. With more free time, employees may potentially start to feel redundant. Perhaps, even no longer capable of keeping up with the evolving workload. So, in order to see this, we need to be able to record a person’s skills at not just a high level, but at a very granular level too.

So for example:

  • “Fred can do Claims Processing” is too high a level
  • “Fred can do Car and Life Policy Claims” is a slightly better level
  • “Fred can do All Car Claims and only Term Life Policy Claims” is even better
  • “Fred can do All Car Claims and Term Life Policy Claims for Products A, B and D” is ideal. That is because the demand we face at the highest level is misleading. Staffing for claims is way too high to get it right and ensure Fred is 100% utilised. Especially if a peak in demand for Term Life Product C Claims arrives.

OPX tracks everything at a granular level and can easily identify that Fred has 70 minutes a day of free capacity. As the types of service demand do not match his profile. The question is therefore how do we sort this out so his utilisation is increased?

  • We could retrain Fred in Term Life Claims, but it’s likely we want to see if the demand is enough to do this, or just occasional peaks.
  • We could see if identical, or similar work is in other areas of the business and temporarily lend-Fred-out to that team for a period when he is not active in his own team’s work.
  • We could magically have Fred handle other types of work being guided by a business wizard when he has free time from his core work (See  OPX Scriptflow)

OPX, our Workforce Management System for back office and blended office solutions, handles all of these options. We provide the tools to empower you to get the most out of your existing teams. OPX customers have found this latent capacity and used it in:

  • Call centres, handling simple back office work items in quiet times.
  • Branch network team members, handling work between face-to-face customer servicing.
  • Distributed teams in different countries have their own, but different seasonal demand variations.
  • Managing peaks of specific service demand using Scritpflow business wizards.

Bottom line, our customers have found and utilised between 20% and 30% of Latent capacity saving them millions in expense and dramatically improving customer journey times, increasing their throughput and net promoter scores.

For more information, a demonstration, or just a chat call us at +44 (0) 141 945 2168 or email [email protected]

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