BLUF: Is it all right to ignore a company standard operating procedure that is not effective and detrimental to the company’s mission?
Background: My Company has a policy that prohibits sales representatives from directly contacting support people in our logistics department. The policy is to e-mail a specific person in our administration department and have them e-mail the logistics department. So for example is a sales representative has a question(s) regarding a customer they must go to their administrator with the questions who will then forward the questions to logistics. The response from logistics is forwarded back through the administrator to the sales rep. Often, the response generates more questions and the process continues. What should take less than 10 minutes to accomplish, instead takes 8 or more hours. I specifically have a sales representative, one of the top representatives in our company, who routinely ignores the procedure. I am fine with it. He has excellent people skills, gets the job done, and makes the company a lot of money. Most importantly, his customers love him because he gets things done. Last time I checked we are in business because of our customers. However, I constantly get complaints that he is “not following the system”.
I have discussed the procedure with the people in charge of it and they have no justifiable reason why the procedure exists. I get “that is the way it is”. I know as a manager I cannot pick what company procedures to follow. However, I also know you have to decide what you are willing to get in trouble for. If my team exceeds plan, which we do year in and year out, is it all right if our methods are a little outside of what company bureaucrats say it should be? Keep in mind I am not talking about crossing some ethical line to do it, just ignore a poorly conceived procedures that get in the way of our mission.