Page 4: Implementing a lean environment
The starting point for developing a lean approach is to research and analyse what customers requirements are in order to identify the best ways of providing value.
The Commission's market research mainly involved collecting primary data directly from Providers. Focus group discussions were held with Providers in which they discussed ways in which the system could be improved. In addition, questionnaires and surveys were analysed, for example, to identify complaints about weaknesses in the previous system.
Initially implementation of a lean service involved creating aims to work towards. These included improving customer service, improving productivity, using financial resources better (that is, 'living within your means') and creating a culture of improvement. A range of lean approaches were then identified and adopted.
By creating an effective system the Legal Services Commission will be able to make savings in space and time and reduce errors. The Commission needs its Providers to be lean too. The Legal Services Commission works with them to identify ways of improving processes through Provider workshops. The Commission trials new ideas with groups of Providers and uses these to make improvements.
The Legal Services Commission also works with partners in the Ministry of Justice family to make improvements, for example, working with the Courts to create simple, easy-to-use forms such as those for means testing. Means testing is a way of assessing how much a client is able to pay based on their income.
There are three strands required to implement an efficient lean system. Examples of new lean initiatives include:
- creating a model office to trial new procedures before launching them across the organisation
- training all staff in how to cut out the main types of waste activity.