VT has a core principle within any major change or transformation, which is to design and implement better ways of working to achieve efficiencies, then add in effectiveness, designing alternate business areas to develop, utilising capacity and capabilities grown during the first phases.
Hence every part of the design has a CPAD (SeePad) cycle: with a ‘Check – Plan’ start, followed by ‘Appraise – Do’, linking WE Deming’s: System of Profound Knowledge, with ‘Study Act Plan Do’ and the Deming Chain Reactions.
Thus; VT always improves customer services and increases the organisation capacity to do work. The average achievement for ‘value added’ compared to intervention costs has been running at 70 to 1 in the service sector for major intervention.
VT-Achieving More for Less, has then built upon VT, bringing in new ways of thinking and visualising work, identifying the short falls of current organisation thinking, showing how ‘well-meaning’ initiatives to save money actually increases costs significantly.
The following are examples taken from chapter one:
“A highways authority reduced resources by two Highway Inspectors, to save £60,000 a year costs, to help support Social Care budgets.
In time; the highway quality reduced, with more potholes and trips forming, while the quality of new housing estate roads got worse for new adoptions.
A ‘Closed Loop Diagram’ showed how eventually claims increased with a worsening fabric, leading to increased payments. One unforeseen implication was the increase in personal injuries. Those injuries made the highways more dangerous, leading to fewer ‘at risk’ citizens going out. Eventually a £60,000 a year saving was adding £600,000 a year to social care support.”
There is now a £14B backlog of highway repairs, growing by £1B per annum. 60% of inner town highway failures are due to a trench or excavation being made in a sound highway, greatly accelerating failure. Thus, if better control of these works were possible, the down-hill decline of highways would be avoided by design.
A cross section of a trench shows the causes of that accelerated failure, linking the science to the management. If managers understood the root causes of issues, they wouldn’t ‘penny-pinch’ towards third world nation outcomes.
CPAD is further explained with examples of some quick wins. For instance; during ‘Check’ we demonstrated that not leaving lorries idling, would save a council £200,000 a year via a simple change of culture.
Another council was amazed to discover that 32% of senior management time was taken in manipulating ‘unreliable data’ into useful information. A ‘knowledge hub’ was created and the saving harvested.
True ‘Transformation’ comes from within, thus effective three-day training followed by useful, well-designed workshops are a key stepping stone to ownership.
During PLAN a workshop was running well, when a slide entitled ‘Hard to enforce TRO’s’, … ‘the room went ballistic’ Suddenly the whole service (Parking Enforcement) realised the sledgehammer effect of Visually Appealing Data. This one aspect soon led to the authority improving net income by £100,000 a month, with very little work needed.
The need to record and act on every opportunity and issue is managed via a constantly developing Benefits Realisation Plan (BRP), ensuring no ideas are lost, no issues forgotten.
APPRAISE has shown a 3 to 1 benefit compared to simply shaving off costs, (thereby reducing capacity).
PLAN merges all the investment from above, to create useful, meaningful action plans, bought into by the whole workforce, management and board.
CPAD is adaptive and always useful, for instance two teams were being merged, one Prince 2 practioners, the other being ‘System Thinkers’. Their boss thought it would take eight months to successfully agree a common way of working, however a four-page shared ‘Way of working’ based on VT took less than three weeks for a method that both groups thought was an improvement.
Tackling ASB using VT, a stalled Systems Thinking collaboration had not only run out of steam, but also ran out of sponsors. VT was applied to rethink the approach, focussing on three initial aspects; A Baseline of ‘As Is’, a Benefits Realisation Plan showing that savings could exceed perceived costs, and better ways of information generation / sharing to show how easy it was to produce ‘great and meaningful information’ for any local interest required.
The scheme leapt forward, barriers to change were overcome and a reduction of around 20% ASB was achieved across a whole county area.
Well-meaning structures to save corporate costs can sometimes lead to real costs increase!
“A deep-dive on a massive Social Care database showed that over £3M a year of needless costs and duplications were occurring every year. That deep-dive also yielded unknown budget pressures and improved ways to deploy front line staff efficiently.”
The deep-dive took eight working days. It created more information than a team of four auditors had achieved in four months.
Every VT intervention has saved costs, improved capacity, improved environmental outcomes, achieved better customer services and preserved employment. Over £100M saved, no needed redundancies.