Our initial approach was to document the processes, to gain an understanding of the flow of work within the organisation, and to give chance to identify exactly where issues were. Root cause analysis workshops with key employees helped establish why issues had occurred. Internal and external surveys were also conducted to obtain a Voice of; the Business; the Brokers and the Customers helping to understand the impact on them and what they believed were the causes.
The next phase involved extensive data collection and analysis to verify information gained through DILO (Day in the Life of) studies, process mapping, root cause analysis workshops and solution development events.
The use of advanced Lean Sigma data analysis techniques enabled us to highlight the need to focus on specific regions, internal teams and brokers to resolve the issues, that could then be extrapolated across to the organisation as a whole. It also demonstrated that much of the perceived work volume was actually rework and Failure Demand. We identified that the practice of treating each incoming contact as a new piece of work meant the backlog was self perpetuating, so there was no reliable, true measure of how much work there really was.
Looking at the issue in this way enabled the team to develop a series of improvements separated into two categories:
- Containment, to immediately prevent the backlogs from getting worse; and
- Long Term actions to reduce the backlogs and to improve customer experience and retention.