Single Point of Contact
One issue that is becoming harder to manage with today’s digital communications is determining who the single point of contact is. For the majority of jobs between a client and subcontractor, there will be a named person within the contract, and yet, as more people are introduced during the contract execution, who you should contact can become blurred.
An overflowing inbox and an under performing project
With the help of modern communications, you can now send a message to almost anyone of your choosing. With this limitless freedom, however, comes the question of what amount of information is too much or too little.
In order to avoid details slipping through the cracks, people may choose to cc every person involved on a project into an email, regardless of whether the specifics of the correspondence are relevant to each individual or not. With an overflowing inbox, however, there is a worry that tasks of a certain priority can lose their urgency as people are left to decipher between what is critical and what is not. This can ultimately result in people failing to react to any request and an essential task being missed among the chaos.
While some people enjoy being kept in the loop, on the other end of the spectrum there are those who become annoyed at a constant flow of emails and will do everything in their power to limit their online correspondence. Typically, these staff members will opt for direct communication instead, believing they are sparing others from irrelevant emails as well as getting the answer to their problems straight away. While this is fine within an organisation, as soon as that happens externally then control over the original message can start to slip.
Why should we insist on a single point of contact?
The single point of contact is probably the only individual who understands how all the strands of the project tie together and can serve as the primary liaison within your team. If you are a client, not only do you want to speak to the person who knows what is going on, but ideally you will want to avoid being bombarded with every minor question which has more than likely been answered already. If you are a subcontractor, you need to ensure that your communications are written to reduce the chance of providing conflicting or confusing information to the client. By all means, communicate person to person (both internally and externally), but keep the single point of contact in the loop!
Things can often get lost in translation, and when on site, there are too many high priority tasks happening at the same time to allow for a loss of control. A single point of contact helps to eliminate the risk of fragmented information and miscommunication should people be informed to do something that conflicts with the overall plan. If they act on an incorrect request, they could not only be exposing themselves, but also their colleagues and the success of the project itself. The ability to channel everything through a single point of contact will ensure focus and direction for the entirety of the project.
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