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Spectrum Housing improve repairs service

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Results & ROI

  • Financial savings from a revised approach to enforcing out-of-hours repair criteria
  • At least 46 hours a week saved of Repairs Supervisor time by eliminating the need for additional timesheets
  • A more efficient and timely cancellations process, leading to savings in aborted repair job costs

The client

Spectrum Housing Group (now merged with Sovereign) is a housing association that owns and manages approximately 18,000 homes and maintains a further 45,000 across the South of England through Spectrum Property Care. Spectrum is a high-performing organisation with an on-going commitment to continuous improvement use Lean principles. They have implemented these through their Smarter Working Programme.

The challenge

The review of repairs was selected as one of two service reviews following an organisational diagnostic. Although some potential for improving customer satisfaction and reducing staff frustrations had been identified, the repairs service was otherwise recognised as a high-performing and effective service. Whereas most service reviews are selected due to poor performance, a significant need to reduce costs and/or need for realignment to strategy this was not the case here. It was selected as it was an ideal service to review to demonstrate continuous improvement principles to other parts of the housing group and to introduce the Lean Smarter Working Programme to the group’s direct labour organisation, Spectrum Property Care.

The approach

Diagnostic

The main repairs process and a number of sub processes, such as van stock replenishment, processing a cancellation, operative timesheets, out-of-hours repairs, invoicing and working with sub contractors, were all mapped out. The diagnostic recognised the processes were largely running smoothly with excellent use of technology. Areas for improvement included those where the process was more resource intensive than seemed necessary, local variation and processes where cost could be reduced.

Redesign

Two of the sub processes were redesigned. As the main process was largely running well, redesign was not necessary, but a day was spent completing problem-solving activity to establish root causes of issues and developing a resolution.

Implementation

A 42-item implementation plan was developed with timescales ranging from a week for simpler actions to over a year for the more complicated IT changes.

The benefits

As well as the financial benefits, the changes led to an improved customer experience and reduced staff frustrations. Changes reduced the risk of operatives attending cancelled jobs, reduced the variation between different sites to provide a more reliable standard of service and provided the customer with a smoother booking process for two-person jobs. A reduction in resource required for cancelling jobs and setting up an Information Centre to drive local continuous improvement in repairs, reduced staff frustration.

“The workshops gave me insight and greater appreciation for my users’ roles in all the processes and a much better understanding of the repairs process workings.”

Maria Hood, Senior DBA