Case Study

Our client wanted to leverage the knowledge and experience of their employees to drive efficiencies and improvements. By doing this the time and cost of identifying and implementing improvements was greatly reduced and greater business benefits were realised.

About the client:

Our client is a statutory state-owned corporation who supply water, wastewater, recycled water and some stormwater services to over five million people. They also maintain water quality and asset performance, manage the economic level of water conservation, and environmental indicators and management.

Industry:

Utility services and maintenance

Business need:

Lift the velocity on process improvement by empowering staff to identify and implement their own improvements.

Open Orbit solution:

Business users were provided the guidance required to perform holistic root cause analysis, identify improvement opportunities, and create an action plan for implementation in a short timeframe.

 Process Improvement practitioners took on the role of mentor, allowing them to work across multiple projects simultaneously.

 By utilising the intrinsic knowledge of staff from a range of business areas, projects progressed to implementation quicker and at less cost than ever before.

Business Impact Delivered:

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Speed of execution:

Problems were analysed and solution action plans were generated within weeks, not months.

Revenue increase:

In one example, gaps in the billing function of a single process were identified and rectified, leading to a forecast 5 – 10% increase in revenue (~$500,000) for this financial year. This project is now expanding to additional business areas with similar outcomes expected.

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Scalability:

This method of running projects can be scaled up throughout the business, opening them to capitalise on the intrinsic knowledge and experience of their employees, as well as maximise the efficiency of the process improvement experts.

Staff development:

Staff are now more confident in their ability to identify and analyse areas of improvement, and present findings to stakeholders with a view of getting agreement on solution implementation.

Challenges faced:

  • The project leads and co-ordinators were not experienced in process improvement. This resulted in limited experience with project management and planning as well, and complex workload and time management requirements.
  • Having staff with intimate experience with the processes being analysed meant there were some preconceived notions of the root cause of problems and what solutions should be implemented.
  • In person workshops with process mapping on the walls was the traditional way of progressing projects at the company. This method of working is no longer an option.
    In a post COVID19 environment the business was thrust into a working from home format. It was hard to keep the staff engaged on working ON the business and not lapse into working IN the business.

How Open Orbit helped the client's users successfully navigate these challenges:

  • Open Orbit’s unique algorithm pushes the users to “shine the light in all corners”. The mind maps of causes encouraged discovery of true root causes and challenged the preconceived ideas of what the cause of the problem was, and therefore how to solve for it. 

  • Process Improvement experts within the business were able to have a guidance and mentoring role in the projects. Open Orbit provided the framework to support the business user in running the projects, regardless of previous experience. This freed up the process improvement experts to work across multiple projects, increasing the capacity for and speed of change within the business.

  • Users learned how to clearly tell the story of the problem, rather than just the story of the process. This made it possible to communicate the complex details of the problem to stakeholders and leadership teams quickly and simply. 

  • Utilising the project presentation capabilities of Open Orbit, project teams participated in peer review sessions, allowing the project details to be more easily understood by all, helping to identify interdependencies between projects from different areas, and providing a platform for personal development and growth through shared experiences.  

  • The action plans and executive summary report provide Process Improvement experts and Management with a tool for ongoing tracking of actions across multiple projects. They can log into the system to see progress without requiring in person weekly/monthly progress reports.

  • Open Orbit allows for remote collaboration between members of the same project as well as collaboration between project teams. Multiple users can work in a single project at the same time, with changes being updated live. This reduces the need for full workshops as work can be done in tandem both in and out of meetings. 

  • By using Open Orbit, the project leads and co-ordinators were able to work on their projects as time allowed; independently or together. With as little as 2hrs per week, their projects had progressed to the point of recommending solutions (complete with implementation action plan) in weeks, rather than months.

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