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Quick Glance Case Study: Replacement/Repair Process

 “The Lean review will enable our organisation to meet customer expectations despite the necessary cuts that have recently taken place”

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

As part of a company growth trial in 2019, the repair/replace process for one of our product categories was changed to allow work to pass work directly to our partners. Prior to this, it was our responsibility to make the asset safe and confirm ownership before being passed to the partner for replacement or repair.

The original process involved multiple handovers and duplication, with completion rates below 50%. Completion times were also lengthy. The process was also based on a contractor vs client relationship; one in which the client was expected to determine asset ownership (due to concerns that the contractor would replace every asset irrespective of ownership or condition). However, a new financial model successfully incentivised suppliers to replace/repair products appropriately.

Unfortunately, the trial ceased to progress during the lockdown, with the physical concept becoming unworkable. However, the project team validated that the trial process was hugely successful.

A Lean review was required to investigate the current process, identify waste, and determine how the process could be streamlined with reduced defects.

Photo by Rick Mason on Unsplash

Key people involved from client site

Representatives from the call centre, scheduling team, collection team, product technicians and suppliers were involved in the review.

Lean Methodology Employed

DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analise, Improve, Control)

Various Lean methodologies were used; FMEA, SIPOC, Current State Mapping, Value Analysis, Waste Analysis, Future State Mapping, Brainstorming and Ishikawa Diagrams.

Lean Activities and Findings

Current State repair/replace data was analysed to understand more about the process and the issues:

  • This particular product category accounted for 50% of the work being passed to our partners for repair/replacement – but it was also the cheapest in terms of cost per job.
  • There were 4 types of jobs for product repair/replace.
  • These 4 jobs could be split into two groups; those reported by customers, and those reported by official authorities (the alerts went into two separate teams).
  • We could categorise these further into urgent and non-urgent.
  • All jobs required an initial visit from us to determine ownership and condition before being passed onto a partner to replace or repair.
  • There were approximately 5,500 jobs requiring 6,400 visits (from us).
  • There were significant differences in ability with regards the triage work, especially in relation to the team who manage work reported by customers, and the team who manage work reported by official authorities.
  • 73% of reported defects from official authorities ended up with the partner going out to replace/repair, the figure was much lower with defects reported by customers (55%).
  • Completions were poor, with 62% of urgent products being made safe within the required 2 hours, and 46% of non-urgent products being repaired/replaced within 28 days.

Representatives from the customer call centre, scheduling team, collection team, product technicians and suppliers, attended a brain storming workshop to understand and map the current process, starting with a SIPOC and then detailed process mapping of the current state for all four product job types.

Once the current state was agreed collectively, we completed value analysis for all four processes, including the non-urgent process which typically had the longest time to complete. We also applied the 8 Wastes to the current state, which highlighted significant amounts of Waiting.

Using the Ishikawa method, we identified the root causes of key/recurrent issues.

Benefits & Outcomes

To build an improved future state, we started with the KANO model. This helped us to understand the needs and expectations of customers/stakeholders. Following this, we removed all the waste. The result was a simple, efficient process with direct line of sight to the customer.

The new process enabled us to remove an estimated  6,400 company visits per year; the equivalent of five full time employees, along with no additional visits to our partners required.

Simplifying the process and removing unnecessary waste will also positively impact customer service due to a dramatic reduction in completion times.

The Lean review also highlighted a rebate scheme which could save the business up to £60K per year if work is completed in within a certain timeframe. Our organisation and our suppliers were not previously in a position to meet these targets as the process was incapable of achieving them.

In order to collect relevant metrics, we created a simple dashboard:

  • Incoming volumes (compared with a 2019 base line)
  • Length of time to complete job in-house
  • Completion within the job system (external partners)
  • Number of jobs chased by customers
  • Voice of the customer scores

The new process has only been live for a few weeks so is still very much in its infancy. However, the early metrics are extremely positive:

  • For urgent in-house work types, we are making safe and confirming ownership – 74% (previously 62%)
  • For non-urgent in-house work types repair/replacement was completed within 93% of the target time (previously 46%)
  • We are also seeing a dramatic reduction in chasers (down 42%).

Our data also revealed that only one partner is consistently completing repairs/replacements within the necessary time. This means that we are missing our completion targets to reclaim permit rebates. As a result, and as part of our on-going continuous improvement for this process, the next stage will include working with our partners to enable them to hit the targets required for refunds. The future state process will focus on working with the successful partner to build a best practice process.

In addition, VOC scores are also showing minimal change. After further analysis, we identified this was due to a very limited number of VOC surveys being completed on certain work types. We will now work with the teams involved to create a simple process for improving volumes.

Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

In Summary

The Lean review will enable our organisation to meet customer expectations despite the necessary cuts that have recently taken place. The success of the review has also led to the team being asked to look at other resolution processes in order to identify similar improvements, and we have been asked to present at the next company town hall to encourage similar Lean initiatives.

Interested in looking at how Lean can reduce unnecessary costs whilst improving customer satisfaction within your organisation? Contact us at info@changewise.co.uk and let’s talk about how we can help.

ChangeWise believes employee engagement is the foundation for successful Change. Training and coaching your people to use simple continuous improvement techniques will enable your organisation to continuously adapt and stay ahead in a constantly changing and challenging environment.

For updates and interesting Lean Change insights, connect with us on LinkedIn.

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