During a three-month operational and management systems improvement project for a major U.S. Western county’s Flood Control and Water Conservation District Planning Division. The Planning Division is responsible for investigating alternative solutions to flood problems; recommending optimum hydrologic and economic plans to the District’s Design Division; preparing master flood control plans; and making all Land Division flood hazard reports to the county Planning Commission and State Commission of Real Estate. The Division also is responsible for collecting hydrologic data within the county.
The project’s charter was to develop and implement a system by which staffing could be related to measurable work volumes, to make relevant recommendations in the areas of work simplification and methods improvement, and to prepare a document or chart which could be used to present to the public a clear picture of the various activities and/or phases of the application process. This charter required that project staff work with Planning Division staff to:
- establish reasonable process time factors for all categories of work performed by engineering staff;
- develop appropriate work assignment and control mechanics and reports required to insure timely completion of assigned tasks;
- establish acceptable backlog levels for all categories of work and develop pertinent reporting; and
- develop appropriate staffing indices to assist management in properly adjusting work force levels to reflect current china business volume.
In keeping with this charter, a system was designed and implemented to formalize the assignment of engineering tasks to the Associate Engineers and Engineering Aides; to control the location and status of the case review process; to report weekly work volumes and relate those volumes to actual and required staffing levels; and to provide weekly aging of backlog to facilitate acceptable backlog levels (no older than three weeks for initial review, one-and-one-half weeks for repeat review items).
Project staff developed a large flow chart, showing milestones, time frames, and appropriate detail, and presented it to District management. This document became a focal point during meetings with building industry trade groups in Riverside County.
After reduction of excessive backlog, the work assignment and measurement system was used to document the need for fewer staff during a period of reduced land development activity.
A review and analysis of the clerical support functions and the administrative filing system of the county’s Flood Control and Water Conservation District followed the Planning Division project.
The project began with the identification of the work activities and functions performed by each member of Administration’s clerical staff. The volume of work for each activity was determined through historical data and through logs established for use during the project. Time factors for each activity were established, verified, and agreed upon by the Executive Secretary and by the Chief of the Administrative Division.
When the time factors were applied to the volume data, the required hours to perform each task were determined for use in productivity reporting and in Staffing Guides. Activity Analyses were completed which illustrate the Frequency, Time Factors, and Volumes in the Division. Administrative Clerical Staffing Guides were developed for the Counter operation, the Optical Disk function and for the Word Processing function.
Despite the pre-project perception that additional staff were needed, analysis showed that not only were additional clerks and an additional supervisor not justifiable based on work volumes but current staff had available capacity equivalent to two staff people.
A centralized filing system was implemented to improve control over use and location of files (due to a perceived lost file crisis). A method was established for transferring all planning documents to a new optical disk storage system.