Meeting customer demands through process
In order to improve the overall efficiency of a business, it is important to begin with the fundamental processes that underpin the services that the business provides. This involves a structured approach: defining business objectives, identifying current processes and performing audits to identify areas for improvement. Increasing financial constraints have squeezed public and private sector businesses and lead to radical changes in the way that they operate. Incremental changes are no longer enough to improve business processes; businesses must adapt and move with the changing market, and essential to this is transforming processes.
The process of improving processes
When it comes to improving processes, there are several things to take into account. Process mapping can identify all of the activities involved in delivering a service, and allow you to determine which add value to your customers and which do not. One way to see how well your current processes are performing is to collect data and measure the unit cost of each output. ABC (activity based costing) allows you to do this. The amount of time that staff allocate for various activities can be tracked and measured against one another: value-adding activities can then be identified and potentially invested in whilst non-value adding activities can be targeted for elimination and to increase efficiency.
However the best results are obtained when processes are designed to meet the needs of the customer. Businesses often go wrong by restructuring or designing IT systems before they carry out a comprehensive evaluation of the needs of the customer. This results in an ineffective redesign of processes with no consideration for customer needs and inevitably the introduction of costs.
You can see our case studies for examples of where this methodology has been used to improve and overhaul existing processes. In one example, ValueAdding.com helped Watford Borough Council to identify £56,000 worth of savings by streamlining the proceses involved in their licensing services. This involved process mapping in order to identify areas of inefficiency; activity based costing to calculate the cost of various processes and quantify the savings potential and then using the data gathered from this audit to model the shape of the future processes. At the end of the project, ValueAdding.com were able to identify savings of 19% of total costs, a figure which was higher than the client had anticipated.
Improving business processes practical course
ValueAdding.com provide internal training courses for improving and transforming business processes. Choose from either a one or two day intensive course, where you will learn a proven methodology for managing and delivering effective services. This course is suited to anybody who has responsibility for managing processes and delivering efficiency savings. We tailor our training according to the specific needs of your business; be that workshop facilitation, data analysis or change management.
ValueAdding.com are experts in transformation; having successfully redesigned processes for local authorities, commercial organisations and charities.
Talk to us today and find out how we can help you to turn data into insight.
Enabling the success of a Charter Market franchise
Reviewing past performance and planning future improvement to deliver results
St Albans City and District Council holds a Charter Market franchise to run markets throughout the year. The Charter Markets are probably amongst the largest outside of London and are of enormous importance to the local economy, the sense of place and community identity. The council needed to undertake a review of the markets’ performance in order to gain a detailed understanding of how they operated and how they might be changed and improved in the coming years.
In order to deliver a detailed review of the current situation, risks and opportunities, we looked at:
- Financial performance (costs and income).
- Occupancy levels and utilisation rates.
- Licence terms for stall hire.
- Market rules and regulations.
- Pricing and services offered.
- Management of:
- Refuse and waste.
- Health and safety.
- Trader relationships.
This review enabled us to develop a five-year strategic plan focused on significantly developing and growing the markets.
The client now has an in-depth understanding of the Charter market and how it operates and, in the process, has acquired the ability to apply the same approach to assessing other markets. The five-year plan has delivered a clear vision and approach to deployment which will enable the client visibly to improve and significantly to grow and develop all of the markets, thereby driving the city centre economy. As a result, the markets are now being taken seriously as an integral part of the wider development agenda.
We worked with the officers and councillors to assess findings from the review and gained agreement on the need to address a number of short-term operational issues as well as pursue a growth and development plan designed both to achieve growth of over 40% in turnover for the Charter markets and to deliver a
significantly increased contribution to re- invest in and fund the Charter Market changes whilst supporting other markets and event opportunities in the city.
The benefits realised included:
- A clear understanding of the current levels of operational and financial performance.
- Understanding of operational issues and potential risks from maintaining the status quo.
- Detailed plans to develop and improve the operation and performance of the Charter markets.
- Engagement of a wide range of stakeholders.
The client used the review to start making operational changes and agreed the Charter market five-year strategic plan. Significant operational improvements in the markets were delivered during the assignment.
Thank you for requesting a copy of our Implementing CRM white paper.
A link to download the white paper will be emailed to you shortly.
We hope you find it useful.
Data Mining for Southwark Council
An evidence-based approach to Welfare Reform
Southwark Council, the largest social landlord in London, is responsible for one of the most deprived Boroughs in the capital with more than 20,000 households which have been directly affected by Welfare Reform.
Southwark has taken a proactive approach to Welfare Reform, securing flagship status for its work on Universal Credit with the DWP. Driven to find practical, pragmatic, and positive solutions to the impact of the reforms, Southwark engaged the services of ValueAdding.com. We undertook a data mining project about the impact of Welfare Reform on the council’s residents, customers, and partners in order to generate accurate business intelligence and thereby enable Southwark to evolve and tailor policy, strategy, and budgets accordingly.
We added value to council processes by breaking down departmental barriers and bringing together information from departments which did not, historically, share data. We drew this information into a central data set which allowed us to help the council identify previously unseen patterns for different client groups. In other words, we brought together data from across the council to provide an holistic view of all the people affected by Welfare Reform. Our analysis of the data enabled us to identify particular impacts of the reforms on families and communities as well as create predictive models to anticipate how these impacts would evolve. We then worked with the council to design appropriate services to respond to these changes.
Thanks to the business intelligence provided by this project, Southwark Council is now in a position to understand and predict increases in demand for its services as a result of Welfare Reform.
The council is able quickly to identify the knock-on impacts of Welfare Reform on their residents and, accordingly, adjust service provision responsively in order to target support to particular groups as their needs change.
We worked with key stakeholders to negotiate the release of appropriate data for development of the business intelligence tool including:
- Council services:
- Third Sector partners:
- Food bank charities.
- Carers’ charities.
- Homelessness charities.
- Citizens Advice Bureau.
- Community Action Southwark.
- Job Centre Plus.
Having successfully sourced the required data, we then created a tool to draw all the information together automatically into a single and coherent data set. This carefully researched database enabled Southwark Council to identify which of their residents were most ‘at risk’ as a result of Welfare Reform.
This data mining project has achieved the following benefits for Southwark:
- A better understanding of Welfare Reform across the Borough and its impact upon the council.
- Deeper understanding of the issues welfare reform has created for its residents.
- A database which is easy to refresh, simple to update, and has longevity.
The project has achieved the following outcomes:
- More positive outcomes for local residents affected by Welfare Reform:
- Targeted support.
- Personalised solutions.
- Cost-effective interventions.
- Identification and elimination of service use duplication.
- A further boost to Southwark Council’s positive image amongst the local community.
Top Tips,Principles and Lessons Learned
This FREE white paper discusses those aspects of implementation that we at ValueAdding.com have learned and observed over a number of recent assignments. It also describes a route map for success which, if followed, will allow organisations and staff within them to build a system that will help them to better understand their customers’ behaviours and then properly manage their interactions with them.
ValueAdding has been helping organisations develop processes and implement IT systems since 1999. Initially we play a vital role of critical friend, helping you to plot a way through the activities associated with making these changes successfully. Our expert business process redesign service ensures your system is customer focussed and our project management skills help you to deliver and deploy on time.
We have worked with organisations in the public and commercial sectors in implementing CRM and ERP systems and can draw on that experience to help you.
If you would like to discuss the issues raised in this paper or have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.