“The new, simplified, automated process will substantially reduce failure demand and remove significant amounts of…
“Applying Lean techniques identified that reducing variation in the process will help to significantly reduce unnecessary financial costs and ultimately improve employee and customer satisfaction”
After completing a ChangeWise Lean Practitioner training course, one candidate submitted the following work-place project to gain their qualification to LCS Level 1c.
The Business Challenge
When our construction team made a network repair, a reinstatement process was required to ensure it was safe for public use again. To do this, a team of schedulers assigned the work to the necessary operational teams and subcontractors.
The process was very admin heavy, requiring the extensive use of excel spread sheets as well as an access database. This process required several handovers, repeat work and could often lead to mistakes being made, including the job not being fully completed.
If a job is not completed sufficiently, it will trigger a financial penalty and ultimately contribute to poor customer satisfaction and reputational damage.
A Lean review was required to investigate the current process, identify waste, the root cause of issues and determine how the process could be improved to deliver a higher level of customer satisfaction, reduced fines and increased team productivity.
Key people involved from client site
Specialists including the Reinstatement Team, Wholesale Services, and members of the Senior Leadership Team were involved in the review.
Lean Methodology Employed
DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analise, Improve, Control)
Various Lean methodologies were used including, FMEA, SIPOC, Current State Mapping, Value Analysis, Future State Mapping, SECAR and Ishikawa Diagrams.
Lean Activities and Findings
To determine the cost of failure from this process, a failure demand review was completed using information from reinstatement fines. This identified:
- A total annual volume of 646 notices/fines
- An estimated 323hours of rework to deal with notices/fines
- A total cost of £232,075 to the business for paying fines
To understand the high-level current process, we used a SIPOC Diagram. This also helped to reveal some of the variation in processes between regional teams.
Following the creation of the SIPOC diagram, we completed process mapping using swim lanes to identify every step and owner in detail. Again, this really highlighted the process differences between regional teams in terms of number of steps, duplication of work, overwork and unnecessary handoffs.
We used Value Analysis against the current state process to understand which steps were value add, non-value add and non-value add essential:
- The majority of the steps for the process used in the East region were non-value add essential (48%)
- The majority of the steps for the process used in the West region were purely non-value add (61%).
- The number of notifications/fines received for work in the West region were also significantly greater than in the East region. This suggested their process was not only more inefficient, but also more susceptible to failure.
A number of bottlenecks were identified:
- Limited access to the required database by the team
- Skills/knowledge gaps between staff working both within and between teams.
Using the value analysis and the information gathered from the failure demand review, we created a root cause tree to help target the key problem areas:
- The majority of notifications/fines received in both areas were a result of either equipment being left on site or the work not being completed in the permitted time.
- The causes of these failures were often caused by specialists not being booked to clear equipment (36 occurrences), or extension requests not being submitted on time, not at all, or being rejected (36 occurrences).
Benefits & Outcomes
The non-value add and non-value add essential steps of the process map were used to identify FMEA solutions to reduce waste and potential causes of error in the process
- Streamline databases: the use of different database systems was highlighted as the primary target for investment as it caused most of the disparity between the East and West teams, ultimately leading to the greatest number of failures.
- The west region work from a series of excel sheets as well as the database, both contain the same information and are updated as work progresses.
- When the construction teams call into the west region, they record the information on a piece of paper and then it is entered into a spreadsheet. This duplication could be removed or possibly automated.
- Standardise ways of working to enable team members to move between teams and carry out the same functions without causing unnecessary errors and rework.
- Bulk closures; automate several of the manual steps, including compiling completed jobs.
- An automated export of the daily jobs report will remove handoffs and send information to required recipients only (current process involved forwarding to operational supervisors or subcontractors).
- Track Sheets are completed by the operational teams, passed to their operational administrators, and finally on to the reinstatement progression teams to compile. To eliminate unnecessary handovers this task will be carried out by the operational administrators in each area.
Applying Lean techniques has identified that reducing the variation in our process will help us to significantly reduce unnecessary financial costs and ultimately improve employee and customer satisfaction.
Interested in looking at how Lean can help to identify and reduce unnecessary costs within your organisation? Contact us at email@example.com and let’s talk about how we can help.
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