Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Stagnant Crowd Meets the Change Crowd

In recent months, the BAMF (the German agency in charge of refugees and their paperwork/approval) has been in the news on a continual basis.

If you went back to the period prior to 2013....a refugee would arrive in Germany and it'd take around six to eight weeks for the BAMF folks to make a decision and the guy or gal would stay or go.  I need to inject at this point....this was an agency with approximately six-hundred employees.

So, as more refugees started to arrive in 2013 and 2014....the amount of paperwork and process time started to lengthen.  Six weeks was no longer possible.  By summer of 2015, you were talking about a eight-month process.  You can imagine the shock on the look of the refugee when after eight long months of sitting in a stagnant refugee center......you were told that your application didn't pass the test.

Throughout the spring and summer.....there was continual pressure put upon Manfred Schmidt who was the boss of the organization based out of Nuremberg.  About three months ago.....he left and they got a new guy into the position who is under intense pressure to go back to a quicker pace.

What the Bundestag and German leadership finally did admit....was the organization needed at least a thousand more employees.....to get any type of success going.....so they approved more people.  Course, it'd take months to recruit and bring people in.....then train them.  It'll be late spring of 2016 by my guess before this increased manpower shows production.

Well....yesterday.....Bloomberg News came out and noted that Germany has accepted an offer by the process-change crowd.....McKinsey Company.   The curious thing is that Mckinsey agreed to do the first six weeks.....free of charge.  It's hard to imagine any company being welling to do this.....but I'm taking a guess that it'll be a small team....fewer than ten....and they are strictly looking at the number of processes required to pass or fail an immigrant.

Negativity?  Well....yeah....that was a problem and a bitter thing for BAMF and the German bureaucracy folks to accept.

After an American has been around for a year or two, and had to mess with car inspections, car tags, the local Rathaus (city hall), and a dozen-odd things.....you start to ask if possibly they'd take a suggestion for improving their services or processes.  You (the American) then get this look like you shot some guy's dog.  Oh, you shouldn't have said that....will be the general comeback.

You will be told in a pleasant way that they know what they are doing and this is all a proven process.  You the customer....cannot be part of the chain of operation or the methods used to accomplish the requirement.

In general.....at least with past accomplishments....McKinsey tends to count all the steps and processes to accomplish something and then projects them up on a board.  A couple of guys....NOT rocket scientists or experts in the immigration business....will ask stupid questions.

Why this step happens or why this guy has to review something when he has no effect upon the process....will be the questions asked.

After six weeks.....McKinsey will probably come back to BAMF and try to demonstrate in two hours the whole process that they saw and the hundred-odd steps involved in the immigrant process and ask why twenty-two people have input into something that should require less than six people max.

The BAMF guys will stand there and I'm guessing there will be two reactions.  First, they will say that McKinsey doesn't understand the dynamics of paperwork and approval.  Second, the organizational folks will say it's difficult to find agreement on changing things.

My gut feeling is that McKinsey's experts will say that they can accomplish five simple changes and carve thirty-percent of the time required in a matter of two weeks.  It'll shock the BAMF folks but they will agree to some marginal change just to show they were 'agreeable'.  After two weeks....they admit that things are smoother and surprised that six weeks of work time were cut in a simplistic fashion.  So, McKinsey will offer to come back.....this time on their pay-scale (which won't be cheap) and show twenty additional changes which will cut half the requirements in half.

Why all this matters?  Well....here's the shocker.  It is entirely possible that 2016 will present another 750,000-plus refugees and presently.....Germany has probably maxed out on good intentions and reasonable control of the process.  If half of the present group of immigrants are to be failed and sent out.....real change needs to be accomplished in the next three months and a large portion of the present crowd need to be sent home if they don't qualify.  Waiting eight months on a continual basis....isn't a practical solution.

It's an interesting story for obvious reasons.

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