With public sector cuts happening across the board now, tangible benefits need to land today not some time in the future. The reduction in the amount of space used by the public sector is one obvious target but there is often a time lag before seeing the benefits can be realised.
Improved delivery of management and maintenance services can, on the contrary, produce substantial and rapid results. One such review provided Dundee City Council (DCC) with both an up-skilled workforce and immediate cost savings. “The most rewarding thing for me was to see the improvements that we identified in theory, then become reality,” explains Jim Fenton, DCC’s housing service manager. “I’ve been involved in a number of other reviews but have never felt the same level of achievement as I did with this.”
The council owns around 13,700 homes throughout the city, a mixture of flats, maisonettes and cottages. As part of its housing management responsibilities, DCC has a statutory obligation to service all gas appliances annually. Un-serviced appliances can generate carbon monoxide fumes that are dangerous to the occupants. As part of the Council’s ongoing improvement activities it identified specialist support as a way of improving service delivery to its tenants and achieving the cost savings required to maintain its viability.
DCC applied Lean tools and techniques to their gas servicing department in response to the government’s agenda to remove waste from the system. “Lean thinking has been around in other industries for a while but it’s fairly new in housing management ,” Michelle Leong a director at 6ix Consulting explains, ”It can be applied to virtually all building and maintenance process and it was great to see the enthusiasm that the guys had on their live projects.”
The review gave the teams the analytical tools to identify the problem and the skills and freedom to improve the situation in real time. Changes to mobile communications and the organisation of stock and vans, immediately reduced the number of abortive calls by 75%. Productivity of the gangs improved by 24%, resulting in over 800 extra jobs achievable in the year. In addition, the team who took part achieved a national vocational qualification and the council is now able to save £120K from their efforts. Tony Dolan, DCC’s repairs and maintenance manager and one of those on the course sums up, “I’ve been on in-house reviews like this as well as many others in the past but this was the best. There has been some good stuff identified in them but nothing ever happened. Here, it’s happening!”
Michelle is currently assisting a university in the midlands achieve even greater savings through the application of the same Lean thinking. Other projects are identifying cost savings in areas as diverse as winter road maintenance and from client-contractor co-working. All are removing the inherent wastes to achieve the benefits. Lean has a strong track record in producing savings in property and asset management. In some respects it is ideally placed, with a large number of relatively low value jobs. This repetition of allows for significant savings to be made and it is not uncommon to identify savings in the order of 20% on the first day.
“Asset management needs to respond to the cuts,” concludes Leong, “and it’s vital that the savings are realised quickly. There’s no point in jam tomorrow if we can’t survive today. We aim to do both by up-skilling staff to achieve project savings now as well as in the future.”
What do we offer?
We provide a range of consultancy support services to drive continuous improvement including;
• Lean methodologies
• Six Sigma
• Systems reviews
• Collaborative planning
• Process mapping and diagnostics
• Lean Qualifications (S/NVQ)
• Design Quality Indicators
• Change management
• Teamwork & Leadership training
• Supply chain development
• Environmental and sustainability training
For more information on how we can help you respond to the CSR cuts please contact us.