Given the depth of the re-examination of operations, employees unearthed processes that desperately needed to be fixed even though they weren't directly related to financial systems. One example: During the Sarbanes-Oxley exercise, Travatello discovered that when a new employee was hired at Blue Rhino, HR provided information about the new hirehis start date, position, equipment requirements and the liketo the IT group by phone or e-mail. This somewhat informal procedure often slowed down the process of getting an employee into the flow of his job quickly, because frequently it wasn't until he actually arrived at work that office staffers began to tend to his needs.
"This may not sound like a big thing, but it was a huge waste in productivity," says Travatello. "It could take a new employee days before he had his cell phone, laptop, network connection and workspace set up. The problem was right there before us, but we didn't identify it until we began to examine everything we do."
To fix the system, Travatello and his team have just installed an automated human-resources application that immediately sends details about a new hire to IT via a work-flow program. IT staffers instantly get a complete summary of what the employee will need to do his job, with deadlines for providing space, network passwords, computers, cell phones, phone numbers and other workplace requirements. With the information retained in an audit trail, staff responsibilitiesand how well they are carried outare in the open and less likely to be neglected, says Travatello.