Places for People increase repairs productivity by 30%

PfP Value Stream Map

Places for people are one of the largest affordable housing providers in the UK. They engaged Ad Esse to deliver a review of their Property Maintenance Department (PMD), which includes all areas of responsive maintenance. The review covered the end-to-end process; from the initial customer contact (internal and external) through to financial completion, across the different types of responsive works including standard repairs, remedial works, communal works, and major repairs.

The objectives were to:

  • Change the culture to create an engaged workforce that owns continuous, systematic and sustainable improvement of performance
  • Develop mechanism to effectively measure and control processes and systems, reduce waste and increase standardisation
  • Train and coach all PMD management layers to more effectively manage performance
  • Utilise existing technology to best support the delivery of all processes
  • Improve performance (holistically), increase capacity available and reduce costs
  • Create solid foundations to enable PMD to become more attractive on commercial basis.

Ad Esse has a standard proven framework for delivering projects like this that is easily adapted to be bespoke and deliver specific needs and requirements for each client. After scoping the work carefully, we complete a diagnostic; the aim is to understand how things operate currently, specifically what is and is not working, and what needs to change to deliver the desired improvements. Following this is the redesign stage, where we develop improved processes and ways of working, and finally we support the implementation of the recommended changes to realise the required improvements and benefits.

Due to the size and spread of Places for People, this was a large project that required multiple different tools and techniques to uncover all the necessary changes to achieve the required improvements. We have outlined some of the key activity below.

Skills transfer

We believe that a critical element to creating sustainable improvement is skills transfer from us to our clients. So as part of this project we trained and coached a team of five internal ‘Lean Practitioners’ so they could support us on delivery of the review, lead on the implementation and sustain the changes after our engagement.


The diagnostic centred around a mapping exercise that captured the in-scope processes from end-to-end. We used Value Stream Mapping (VSM), which is a specific Lean technique used to visualise how value is delivered to customers, highlights and quantifies issues, and, most importantly, helps identify the root causes of these issues and what needs to change. Critically a VSM is created by working with the staff who deliver the service.

The VSM was supported by other diagnostic information, captured using leadership engagement sessions, staff interviews, ‘day in the life of’ analysis and observations, listening to customer calls, customer journey mapping with residents, demand and productivity analysis, expectation and relationship analysis between teams, an accountability and responsibility analysis, a review of finances, and a culture assessment.

The findings and recommendations on what changes were needed were then played back to the leadership team before moving on.


The redesign stage comprised establishing a set of guiding principles with the leadership team following the diagnostic feedback, before then working with operational staff to map an ideal state and a more detailed, achievable future state that could realistically be delivered in the pre-agreed timeframe. Outputs included a suite of improved processes, more effective ways of managing and working as a department, and mechanisms to enable these new ways of working to be implemented and embedded into day-to-day operations. The changes were signed off by the leadership team before implementation began.

Implementation Support

The level of implementation support provided is decided by what the client can take on themselves in terms of capability and capacity. Our support for Places for People can be split into two strands, one to deliver the process improvements agreed and the other to create the desired (and needed) culture to enable the changes to stick. Activity to achieve the cultural changes included setting up Information Centres (performance hubs) across the department, developing new measures, leadership development, Lean awareness training and reviewing accountabilities and responsibilities.

A Places for People Information Centre
(Above) This is one of the repairs supervisor Information Centres. The supervisor would take the board to each operative site to complete daily huddles with their operatives.


The project was a great success with outcomes of the review including:

  • A reduction in follow-on jobs from 60% to 31%, thus increase fix at first visit rates
  • The number of jobs completed per day increasing by just over 30%
  • Improvements enabling the organisation to cope with a 15% increase in demand for the year – that is an increase of over 14,000 jobs nationwide
  • A 20% decrease in repair calls (reduction represents failure demand e.g., chasing calls)
  • Customer satisfaction with repair waiting times increasing from 76% to 93%

If you would like to start a project with us, email or get in touch through our Contact page.