As our name suggest, facilitating quality service delivery is what we are about. To that end, we will be writing a series of blog posts on how to develop and maintain excellence in public service delivery. The first post in this series will address the issue of reducing (elimination is the ultimate goal but we’ll start with reduction) waste in service delivery.
Waste reduction has taken on added resonance as a result of the recent financial crisis, leading to a squeeze in public resources. Dwindling tax receipts, tighter credit lines yet citizens demanding at the very least, the same scope and quality of public service delivery has meant that public service providers have had to deliver ‘more with less’. But how? Well in order to reduce waste, it first has to be identified. And that’s the essence of this post. It will detail eight categories of waste according to the LEAN methodology. As you read, think about examples of waste that you are aware of in public service delivery and please share these.
1. Defects (scrap and rework)
- Reports, invoices etc that require manual review & checking before despatch.
- Data quality issues requiring manual system interventions.
- Data clean up teams.
- Data entry errors.
- Billing and pricing errors.
- Seeking clarification.
- Reports no-one reads.
- Extra copies.
- Printing, emailing, faxing and mailing the same document.
- Repetitive information on multiple forms.
- Needless movement of work.
- Carrying documents to equipment.
- Moving files to other people to get sign-off.
- Paperwork looping back.
4. Waiting (waste of time)
- Waiting for approval.
- Waiting for others to complete tasks.
- Delays in receiving data or info.
- System crashes.
- Transactions waiting to be processed.
- Files waiting to be worked on.
- Excess office supplies.
- Storing files beyond archive requirements.
- Unused desks or office equipment.
- Having different logins for multiple systems on same PC.
- Having to log onto and off multiple systems to complete an end to end process.
- Printing out data for authorizations.
- Needless movement of workers.
- Searching for files or forms.
- Having to manually re-enter data into a system that already exists in another system.
- Multiple check / review authorizations.
- Multiple reports produced by different functions covering the same performance measures.
- Repeated manual data entry.
- Under-utilization of human capital.
- Not listening to employees’ ideas.
- Not acting on employee complaints about legitimate problems.
So there we go. I’m sure you can think of a few examples of waste in public service provision? Would love to read them. Feel free to change names as you wish to protect the ‘innocent’. Look forward to reading from you.