Applying Lean Systems thinking to Highways Maintenance
Lean Thinking is a business methodology which aims to provide a new way to organise activity to deliver benefits while eliminating waste. Lean Practices have been successfully applied in a number of Welsh local authorities including Neath Port Talbot and Blaenau Gwent.
The term Work Wise was selected as an overarching name for the application of Lean Systems Thinking in Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC). Four service areas were identified by BCBC to participate in Work Wise Reviews:
- Housing Benefits
- Pupil Services and
- Highways Maintenance.
Modernising the flow of information
Central to the redesign of Highways Maintenance was the replacement of bureaucratic paper based processes with streamlined ICT solutions. This redesign identified a potential £26,000 of efficiency gains through implementation of the following redesign characteristics:
Rationalisation of multiple work flows to improve the flow of work, reduce overheads, reduce the potential for errors and reduce administrative resource.
Introduce electronic mobile working to increase responsiveness, increase speed of maintenance response, potentially reduce litigation costs, reduce administrative costs and reduce time waiting for stores materials.
Deliver customer interface through Customer Service Team to provide real time feedback for users of the service and provide cost neutral funding for the Telephone Contact Centre.
Trial the introduction of gang sheets as opposed to individual time sheets to reduce administration.
Remove the client contractor split to eliminate internal charging, minimise administration costs and reduce the work fed into the financial function.
The use of Yotta’s Mayrise Management Systems was instrumental in achieving a number of the above objectives.
Supporting Wise Working
BCBC is a long term user of Yotta’s Mayrise asset management software with solutions in place to support the Highways, Street Works and Street Lighting functions.
The integration of Mayrise back office systems, in the first instance Mayrise Highways, with the council’s Microsoft Dynamics Customer Relationship Management (CRM) was critical in the rationalisation of multiple work flows. Reports from the public could now be directly logged by members of the customer facing team without, in most cases, intervention from specialist staff. This dramatically reduced the administrative burden for individual service area, resulting in measurable financial savings while providing a single point of contact for customers – therefore improving the overall customer service experience.
“The joining up of front office customer support with back office service delivery helped with the Work Wise objective of removal of the client contractor split. This Mayrise supported integration allowed for the easy flow of information and underpinned more efficient working practices.”
Jason Jenkins, Highways Network Manager, Bridgend County Borough Council
Reaping the benefits
BCBC has secured a number of benefits which can be directly linked to tangible service improvements as a result of the integration of Mayrise back office systems with the council’s CRM function and the introduction of new mobile working practices. These include:
- An increase in the responsiveness of service; meaning both highways are street lighting defects are assessed more quickly.
- The potential for reduced litigation costs as a result of an increase in the speed of maintenance response.
- A reduction in the administrative costs of running the service with cashable financial savings in the region of £35,000 per annum, in the Communities directorate.
- Improved customer service with real time feedback for residents and elected members and a reduction in failure demand dealt with in the TCC.
- Cost neutral funding of the TCC leading to increased resilience and easier access to service for citizens.