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Digital Workflow

Just in time information. What’s that?

By July 6, 2011June 6th, 2022No Comments

Remember when Dell was a powerhouse computer company? When people talked about what made Dell special it wasn’t so much the computers they made, but how they shipped them so quickly and yet made them so cheaply.

They did this using a system called just in time inventory management. The idea was to order parts so that they arrived at last possible moment, which saved storage costs and helped streamline the assembly process. Creating this kind of system is tricky, and requires constant optimization. But once you get the system in place wonderful efficiencies are possible.

The same process can be applied to the everyman problem of managing information. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but most high-paying jobs these days involve managing information. Lawyers are well paid, and they primarily manage information.

Getting bogged down in managing that information can create wasted motion, and higher costs. How can lawyers learn to manage information better? Can the principles of “just in time inventory” be applied to information management?

The answer is: yes.

Things like RSS readers, and intelligent filters, make it possible to have information arrive in the background for review at the time that is optimal for you. This is in contrast to navigating to one website at a time to check for updated news in niche areas that you’re monitoring.

How you set up your system will vary according to needs and taste, and work habits. But, it’s clear that the key to a modern information-gathering system requires you to consider using things like: Google Alerts, Google Reader, Instapaper, and Delicious.

These tools are either free or dirt cheap; the only significant investment required is time. You need to explore these tools and tweak them to bring you the news you want or need. Sure you can just keep reading┬áthe New York Times or some other periodical, but they aren’t optimized for delivering news quickly. And they definitely aren’t optimized for your particular needs or wants.

Just in time information is real, and it’s here. Many people are using it right under your nose. If your information gathering system puts you in┬áthe slow lane, then that’s your fault. You might have to take some time to save time and get better information, but that’s a small price to pay if you want to keep up with the folks in the fast lane. The ones who are speeding towards high-paying jobs and more intelligent information handling.

Incidentally, if you want to get notified automatically when we post new stuff here on this site click on the button up on the right (“Subscribe via Email”), or if you know how RSS readers work then you’ll know what to do with the orange button below that one.

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