It is a little ironic for me, as an instructor, to read an article in which the REQUESTOR of the letter of recommendation is making an argument for changing the process. Often it is the professor or former boss that is inundated by requests for letters and imagines a better process. However, it may be that the process could be improved on both sides.
The author of this article has requested TWENTY-FOUR recommendation letters in the current year so far--and expects to ask for more. Why? Because they are required by grants, potential employers, internships, fellowships, residencies and others. Rosen, the author, suggests that the process could be streamlined by using one or more of the following:
Until there is a pervasive standard, however, there will be striving, duplication of efforts, occasional duplicity, and other problems.
Source: "Please don't ask me for another letter of recommendation," by Kenneth R. Rosen, New York Times: Preoccupations, December 1, 2017.