Showing posts with label efficient. Show all posts
Showing posts with label efficient. Show all posts

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Regionalization, consolidation, two avenues to explore

In order to maintain a sufficient level of service in any industry, it is imperative to look at the process and the cost drivers. While much has been said and written on the rising costs for employees and they generally account for much of the overall costs in a company; the employees are only one leg of the three leg stool: people, process, technology.

Technology for technology sake is expensive. Technology implemented properly should enable the the people to execute the process more effectively and more efficiently, hence in a less costly manner. Then and only then does technology provide a return on investment in a short period. But you don't look at technology first.

Assume you have the best people, and start by looking at the process. Are they working in the most efficient and effective manner? If not, identify the steps in the process that hinder effectiveness and make changes. Goldratt's Theory of Constraints is a good model to follow.

As you work the constraints out of the process, you can look to apply technology. You may also find that the employees require additional training or that some may not be a good fit for the new process. Making those adjustments on a continuous and phased process will ensure continued improvement.

Part of the process evaluation should include an examination of the scope of work. Massachusetts is a commonwealth of 351 communities all self governed, most with their own municipal infrastructure: police, fire, library, schools, etc. It is time to look carefully at some of these areas to see where and how either regionalization or consolidation can help each local community continue to provide services but at a reasonable cost to the community.

Franklin has taken steps in this area with the consolidation of facilities, data processing and the current discussion underway on the consolidation of maintenance services. Properly done this will ensure delivery of service at the best cost. It may not guarantee a reduced cost, some cost factors will still be rising but the management of them will be done one time instead of multiple times (one department, not two or three).

The Milford Daily News last week had an article on this topic and the Marlborough Fire Chief was quoted as saying:
"Is (regionalization) possible? Absolutely," he said. "Is it feasible, able to be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time? No, not with what I'm looking at. I'm not opposed to regionalization or the concept of it, but there's a lot that goes into the makeup of trying to regionalize."
It will take time but the time to start is now. This is no reason to wait.