Continuous improvement program reaps rewardsThe City of Tea Tree Gully in north-eastern Adelaide, thanks to its Innovate 2 Excel (I2E) continuous improvement program, is quickly discarding inefficient and outdated work practices.
CEO Di Rogowski said that, while the program was only introduced less than a year ago, small changes already identified were making a big difference.
“We found an area where we can save up to 180 hours annually by putting just one aspect of our road and shoulder inspections process under the microscope. That’s a lot of time to save and that’s just one small area. Road maintenance is a contentious issue for this Council so we’ll continue to comb carefully through this program to find more efficiencies,” said Ms Rogowksi.
“Our whole organisation seems to be welcoming this move – particularly because we’re getting the people who deliver the services at grassroots level involved in the program.
“It means they’re also seeing the bigger picture of what we’re trying to achieve, which supports a culture of accountability and innovation. Staff want to eliminate frustrating and time-consuming practices so they can concentrate on what they do best – service delivery.”
Volunteer recruitment and induction is another area where process changes have already been made. In the past volunteers were asked to fill out applications on paper, there was a lack of standardisation in volunteer management, and the specialised software was not fully utilised during the recruitment process.
Now, volunteers apply online and staff are utilising the existing software system to manage volunteers more efficiently. These small changes will save an additional 40 employee hours annually.
Ms Rogowksi believes the stronger focus on continuous improvement will help to maintain the delicate balance between ratepayers’ growing expectations for higher service levels and minimum rate rises. “It’s all about improving efficiencies, flexibility and the value we provide to our community,” she said.
The City of Tea Tree Gully’s I2E program includes two levels of projects based on service excellence or process innovations. The service excellence projects currently underway also include organic waste recycling, community centre programs, payroll, verge cutting and immunisation.
Project teams are led by staff who have been provided with I2E training and it is expected that within 12 months nearly all staff will have been involved in a project. On top of this, the City of Tea Tree Gully is a second release site for the National Broadband Network roll out trial, so Council will soon be able to utilise the benefits of high speed broadband to find even greater efficiencies.