Continuous Improvement & Benchmarking

Understand the service – Guide
There are three sections in this Guide: 1. Interviewing staff and stakeholders; 2. Mapping processes; and 3. Identifying opportunities for improvement in processes. The first skill is needed when you are investigating services and also when you are mapping the service processes. Process mapping helps you understand the sequence of activities, and allows you to investigate issues such as errors, rework and delays that will reveal opportunities for improvement.

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Created: 30-Oct-04

Revised: 14-Mar-05

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Interviewing staff and stakeholders
Staff involved in delivering the service often know more than anyone else about the current state of the service. So, to understand the service delivery, you will need to consult with staff, often by interviewing them either singly or in groups. A “stakeholder” is someone with a valid interest, or “stake” in the service. Stakeholders might include: • representatives of funding sources, such as other levels of government; • representatives of the community or customers, such as NGOs or local community officials; • senior managers or elected representatives serving on committees of management overseeing the service. As staff and managers within the organization are closest to the service and are easily accessible to the team, we usually start by interviewing them. Follow these steps: 1. Make a list of process “experts” (officers who work in the process and who know a lot about it), process “owners” (managers responsible or accountable for the service) and important “stakeholders”. 2. Decide how you will approach them to investigate the service – face-to-face interviews, singly or in a group, written questionnaire, telephone interviews, etc. 3. Make up a list of questions to ask each person or group. Consider the list over the page when you are compiling your own list. 4. Contact the interviewees, explain your reasons for meeting with them and request a meeting time. 5. When you meet the interviewee(s), explain again the purpose of the interview, how the information will be used and what the level of confidentiality will be. 6. Ask your questions and record the answers. Be ready to depart from your prepared sequence to follow a different line of inquiry, if it seems useful. 7. Make good notes. 8. Thank the interviewee and offer to give them feedback on the results of your investigations when all information has been gathered. The list of questions shown over the page will guide you on some general points you should know about any service.

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Created: 30-Oct-04

Revised: 14-Mar-05

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Questions for investigating service processes
How to use this list
1. Read this list before you begin your investigations. 2. Decide which questions in this list need to be answered, and who you should ask.
Organization

 What Acts, Regulations and official policies and procedures govern this service? (Ask to view copies.)  What is the division of responsibilities between your organization and others with responsibilities in this area (what are National / Provincial / Municipal / District / local level government roles)? (Prepare by reviewing any official documents on division of responsibilities between the various levels of government.)  Are any changes to the organization structure planned or likely soon? (This question is important because there is no point in doing a detailed analysis and improvement project on something that is soon to be changed through another reform.)  Are there any aid projects affecting this service or process?
Service Objectives

 What are we trying to achieve in this service or process? (Use this question only if you do not already know – it should have been established in the service definition – check the Outcomes.)  What might happen if this service was closed down? (The response will tell you how important the person thinks the service is – how critical it is for the achievement of important objectives.)  Are you achieving what you planned for the service or process ? If not, what has caused the gap? What actions are planned to reduce the gap?
Planning and Budgeting

 Is there a good planning process that forecasts users’ demand for the service and budgets the resources needed?  Who pays for the service? (What is the division of funding between various levels of government, are there any fee-for-service payments by the users of the service, is there funding by aid donors etc.?)  Are the budget amounts (including any from donors) adequate for meeting service demand? If not, how much is the shortfall?

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Continuous Improvement & Benchmarking  Are the budgeted amounts actually made available during the year? If not, why not? If all the budgeted amounts were made available, would the service delivery be satisfactory?
Financial Controls & Risk Management

 Are there any risks of fraud or corruption in this service or process?  Is there an auditing procedure applied to this service or process? Who does it? How often?  What is the likelihood that any fraud or corruption would be detected? Are known breaches always pursued? Are penalties imposed and enforced?  Are there any other financial risks associated with this service or process, for example: • bad debts, • errors in financial transactions, • over-payment of suppliers, • loss of revenue due to poor record-keeping or • loss of revenue due to lack of follow-up (for example – failure to enforce payment of taxes, levies or fines, or non-enforcement of contract penalty clauses). If so, what is done about these risks?  Are any assets at risk of damage, theft or vandalism? If so, what is planned to prevent it?  Are major assets maintained adequately and available for use as planned?  Are employees provided with necessary safety equipment, clothing or footwear  Are employees trained on safety awareness and avoiding risk?  Are all accidents and incidents recorded and investigated, and corrective action taken?
Service Monitoring and Assessment

 Is there an evaluation process to monitor the delivery of services in the field? Who does it? Are written reports available? (Ask to look at sample reports.)  What action is taken in response to service monitoring and assessment? Are there any problems with this?

Opportunities for use of technology  Are there any opportunities to automate the process in the short term for little cost, for example by increasing the use of computers that are already available?

Opportunities to shift activities  Can you move any processes or activities to another person or organization? For example, other levels of government, community associations, NGOs, private service providers, or the service users themselves, by: • Engaging community participation. • Outsourcing to a private service provider.

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Revised: 14-Mar-05

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Continuous Improvement & Benchmarking • Getting the service user to participate more, e.g. by completing forms or providing data instead of you filling in the information.

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Continuous Improvement & Benchmarking

Process Mapping
Purpose
A Process Map is a picture of what is happening within a process. It is also called a flowchart. Process Mapping is a first step in understanding how and why a process behaves the way it does. Once a process is understood, process mapping can be used to improve it by simplifying, error proofing or developing an entirely new process.

When to use it
Process Mapping can be used on any type of process, whether it involves a flow of paper, materials, tasks, or ideas. It is used in three main ways:

to develop new procedures or design new ways of doing work; to improve a process that is causing a problem; to review a process for a better way of doing it, even if there is not a problem. How to use it
1. Define the process:
Clearly define the process boundary :- where it starts, stops and where it interfaces with other processes; Identify the process “owners” (those responsible or accountable for the process) and the process “experts” (the people who actually do the job and know it best); Identify the key measurements needed to understand the process, e.g.: quantity, quality, time, etc.

2.

Identify the steps within process:
Interview the “process experts”. This is best done by following the physical flow or paperwork around. Another way is to map the process on a board with the group telling you about the steps. Find out about delays and re-work (when things are done again because they were not right the first time) - people often forget about these unless reminded; “Walk” the process – go around with one or two of the process “experts” and have them show you how process works. Make notes and also take photographs to illustrate how things are currently done. Map the flow AS IT IS, not as the process owner or expert thinks it should be, or how it is going to be after some future change.

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Revised: 14-Mar-05

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3.

Draw the map:
Draw horizontal lines on the map to separate different roles involved in the process (see example, over) Using the symbols below, draw each step of the process using the correct shape and link them in sequence.
Process Step: Operation or Activity Document created

Process step

Process step

Document

Decision? No

Yes

Decision

Linked process

Process continued elsewhere Delay Indicates direction of flow

Delay
2 weeks

Important note: Always write a short description of every step into the shape. Place the symbols on the page according to which role performs the step. Be sure to include all steps, including delays, and list key data, problems and improvement ideas on the map.

4.

Confirm Map
Check the map with process “experts” and “owners” and ensure it is correct.

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Continuous Improvement & Benchmarking

Process Map: Morobe IEC Distribution
Client - target group use materials

end

Aid post

fill order form

order form

distribute to client

distribute to client

distribute to client

Example of a Process Map

check stock Health Centre

availa ble?
No

Yes

send material

send material distribute materials

Remoteness issues

send order on availa ble?
No

2d -1 mth

check stock District Health Educator

Yes

send material

distribute materials
Finance & remoteness issues

send order on

organise freight

Provincial Health Educator

store materials

organise freight

1-3 mths

Finance & remoteness issues

National - Health Promotion & Education section
124053825.doc Created: 30-Oct-04 Revised: 14-Mar-05

check stock

1-6 mths

send materials

© 2004 ADB Institute

Finance issues: freight & productiojn of materials

•Transport is budgeted at the National level but not at Provincial or District level. •Could Area Medical Store put in with medical supplies deliveries?

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Continuous Improvement & Benchmarking

Process Mapping Worksheet
Stakeholder:

Stakeholder:

Stakeholder:

Stakeholder:

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Revised: 14-Mar-05

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Identifying opportunities for improvement from process maps
Purpose
To identify opportunities for improvement.

When to use it
After a process has been documented and confirmed with process experts and process owners.

How to use it
1. Classify Process Steps into Value adding and Non Value adding
The first step is to classify the process steps into Value Adding and Non Value Adding. Value Adding steps increase the value of an output to a customer. Steps such as signing checks, taking an order or answering a customer query are value adding because they add something to the output for the customer. Value adding steps can be further classified into:
•Value adding steps with high opportunity for improvement. These include steps which could be done better or which don’t use resources efficiently. •Value adding steps with low opportunity for improvement.

Non-Value Adding steps do not increase the output’s value to the customer. Activities such as checking someone else’s work, correcting errors, clarifying instructions or waiting for people to show up to meetings are non-value adding steps.

2.

Identify areas of Complexity in the Process

Complexity in a process often causes delays and errors. Process mapping tries to simplify processes by reducing complexity as much as possible. Complexity is caused by too many hand-overs and too many branches. Hand-overs are the points where responsibility for the process gets handed over to another unit, section or department. The more often the responsibility changes the more potential for wasted time, errors, poor communication and the need for greater coordination and supervision. Look for opportunities to reduce the number of handovers.

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Revised: 14-Mar-05

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Continuous Improvement & Benchmarking
Approves Job Advertisement

1-2 W ks

Approves Job Advertisement

R eceive app roved Job Advertiseme nt & pass on

Too M any Handovers

Yes
C onforms to Standard ?

No

Branches occur where decisions are made. The more branches there are, the more delays and rework will happen. Too many decision points usually means the input is too variable or the process is trying to do too much in one sequence. Brainstorm ways to reduce the number of decision making steps.
Develop response Develop implementation plan Report to Council?

Reporting & feedback

Yes

Brief CEO, council in caucus

Yes

Changes ? No

Review & comment

Yes

Changes ? No

Review & comment

Yes

Changes ? No Approved ? Yes

Review & comment

No

Council receives report

Too many branches

3.

Summarize Improvement Opportunities
Minimizing non value adding steps from processes. Improving Value adding steps with High potential for improvement. Eliminating delays in the process. Reducing hand-overs.

Look critically at your process map and identify opportunities for:

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Continuous Improvement & Benchmarking Reducing the number of decision points. Reducing work checking by managers or supervisors. Using technology to streamline work (e.g. templates in computers). Eliminating re-work (any work done just because of a prior problem). Minimizing build up of paperwork so a smooth flow exists.

4.

Prioritize Improvement Opportunities

Put the opportunities for improvement in order from biggest to smallest. The opportunities expected to give the most improvement should be tackled first, followed by the next greatest opportunity and so on. When deciding the order of addressing opportunities for improvement, also consider how easy they will be to implement and how much impact they will have on the customer. This priority list forms the basis for an improvement plan.

5.

Draw the Map of an Improved Process

Once you have confirmed the possible improvements, draw a new map of how the process “Should Be”. Use this and the list of improvement opportunities to develop an action plan for improvement.

124053825.doc

Created: 30-Oct-04

Revised: 14-Mar-05

© 2004 ADB Institute

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Continuous Improvement & Benchmarking
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this Toolkit are the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) or Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), or their Board of Directors, or the governments they represent. ADB and ADBI do not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this CD-ROM and accepts no responsibility for any consequences of their use. Terminology used may not necessarily be consistent with ADB official terms.

124053825.doc

Created: 30-Oct-04

Revised: 14-Mar-05

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