Lean thinking at the City of Melbourne

Lean thinking at the City of Melbourne

When you are working hard to deliver a service, it makes sense to take a step back and look at how things can be improved, or have someone take you through the process.

The City of Melbourne's Lean Thinking program means delivering the right service to the right person at the right time, making sure it is provided by the right person and done right the first time.

The Lean Thinking team has worked since 2009 to improve business efficiency across the organisation. The team has worked with all divisions and at most branches of Council to improve processes and solve large organisational problems.

For example, changes to Victoria's food safety requirements quadrupled the number of samples the City of Melbourne was required to collect each year.

With help from the Lean Thinking team, council exceeded the new collection targets within six months, with no additional resourcing.

Chief Executive Officer Kathy Alexander says that with more than 1200 full-time employees and a $350 million budget, the City of Melbourne must manage its resources efficiently.

"The aim is to deliver more services with what we have by incrementally eliminating waste from our processes." she says.

"By better aligning our people with process and purpose, we have saved more than $2.75 million and freed up 3500 hours so staff can concentrate on activities that add more value for our customers."

Lean Thinking has also improved the way new jobs are filled at the City of Melbourne, allowing the team leader of employment services, Chris Thomas, to focus on executive recruitment and save more than $200,000 a year.

"Lean analysis showed that almost 30 percent of jobs were being re-advertised." Mr Thomas says.

"After studying and planning, the recruitment team met with managers to better define position descriptions and job ads, then target potential candidates and offer training so people can recruit effectively in the future."

The number of 'defective recruitments' reduced almost immediately to 2.5 percent and the time it took to fill positions fell from 31 to 25 days.

"Less rework meant we could focus on executive recruitment, which was previously outsourced. Now we conduct more than 80 per cent of executive recruitment in house." Mr Thomas says.