At a time where strikes exist in both the public health and education sectors, governments are forced to present solutions that respond directly to union demands, while solving critical problems associated with the quality of the services provided. With features substantially different from those of the private sector, the main limitations of public institutions are leadership, productivity and public satisfaction. Continuous Improvement has been assuming an increasingly predominant role in this sector, contributing to effective results in different areas of activity.
The mere fulfilment of daily tasks is insufficient for the development of public services. At KAIZEN™, we believe that increasing productivity is directly related to the engagement of people in daily management, focused not only on their regular activities but also on achieving results and solving problems. It is from KPI definition and the periodic monitoring that deviations from the objectives are identified and corrected. Teams that are engaged and motivated can increase their productivity by 50% on average.
Improving in Public Sectors
Looking at KAIZEN™ projects in local authorities, we find several examples of successfully implemented transformations. These transformations had an impact on process Lead Times, inpatient waiting times for appointments, waiting lists for surgery and many other areas besides, e.g. efficiency and productivity. Just a few examples of tools that contribute to these improvements are process design, standard work, pull planning and pacing and low-cost digital automation. Nevertheless, it is not enough to merely set goals, it is necessary to strengthen the presence of leaders and their focus on results.
In the case of public services, it is common to discuss the issue of meritocracy, which is practically non-existent. However, as in any tribe, natural leaders emerge from within and demonstrate a natural ability to lead others by example while exhibiting improvement behaviours effortlessly, that contribute to employee engagement. Employees must feel accountable for their activities and have a clear help chain in place that allows for quick reactions for more complex problems within the team itself. In addition, leaders play a crucial role in recognising the efforts of their teams and continuously training them.
As mentioned previously, motivated employees work better and, of course, provide a better service to members of the public. This is quite noticeable in our KAIZEN™ projects, where customer satisfaction had improved after all local authority services were integrated into one single location, and response time for requests for public road occupation licences reduced by 40%. Also, the overall cleanliness of the local area improved dramatically. At the same time, in public health services, we should mention that the reduction of waiting times for medical appointments and the improvement of the service at the reception desk for surgical patients, contributed to an increase in efficiency and patient satisfaction.
It is important that these good examples are used to positively influence other players in the sector and contribute to its competitiveness, ultimately improving customer satisfaction.