During a four-month productivity improvement program for the Department of Environmental Services of a major Western U.S. county, the Organizational Development staff received individual coaching and training in work measurement, supervisory span of control, and in proven techniques for work simplification and methods improvement. Similar training on an individual and classroom basis was provided to the managers and supervisors within the Divisions of Environmental Health, Air Pollution Control, and Water and Waste Management.
Environmental Services inspects and licenses food establishments, promotes travel reduction through ride-sharing and similar programs, monitors air quality, attempts to control vector populations, and manages water quality and waste disposal in the county. The Department is organized into four operating entities: the Division of Environmental Health, the Division of Water and Waste Management, the Bureau of Vector Control, and the Air Pollution Control Division.
The primary focus was to establish baselines or benchmarks from which improvement could emanate. Organizational structure was assessed from a functional and span of control perspective. Statistical Process Control techniques were introduced to allow Environmental Health personnel to identify improvement opportunities. Focus Groups were used to identify strategies for addressing customer complaints and other issues. Coaching in the development of strategic plans was provided. All activities and processes were scrutinized as to necessity, time requirements, and frequencies. Key Volume Indicators were established to provide management with tools for staffing based on measurable work volumes for major processes.
Using various flow charting and functional analysis techniques, opportunities were identified to reduce cycle time for permitting of air pollution sources. The combined result of the various analytical techniques used by the project team in conjunction with the staffs of the three Divisions was increased productivity, reduced cycle times, and improved customer service.