I would like you to imagine that your journey to work last week took you on average 27 minutes – not bad reliability you might think -I’ll take that. However what if I added that the following detail about journey times:
|Journey (in mins)
The wide variation in journey times would probably “drive you round the bend” (pardon the pun). The same is true of public service delivery. Unreliability has been described as the “natural enemy to quality“. It’s suggested that reliability may well be the single most important quality dimension to customers. Even when all other boxes aren’t ticked, if service quality is consistent, it enables customers to plan and adjust accordingly.
The first thing to mention, though, is that variation is present in pretty much all processes. There are two main causes of variation – common and special. Common causes of variation are small random sources that are present in all processes and systems e.g. a car breaks down on the freeway. This is the largest cause of variation (c 85%) in processes and cannot be controlled. Special causes of variation, on the other hand are non-random and caused by sources outside the system or process .e.g. unexpected heavy snowfall causes drivers to be more cautious and drive slower. Special cause variation accounts for a smaller proportion of variation (c. 15%) and can be controlled. Having said that over time, special cause variation may become common cause variation.
A process if said to be stable if common causes of variation are within accepted tolerance. An unstable process on the other hand is outside the acceptable tolerance and affected by special causes.
So what do you think: As a public service provider, would you say your major processes are stable? If not, what do you plan to do to bring it back under control?
Did you know? One of the key features of Public Service Request is the ability to visually represent the variation in completion time of service request by request type, department and even operatives (amongst others). Want to find out more? Please contact Dave Robbins for a demo and possible 90 day free trial.