Success Stories

LeanFirm was engaged to help a large Midwestern city improve the productivity and timeliness of a Building and Housing Department. Prior to the study, over a four year period, the number of vacant properties increased dramatically. Foreclosures quadrupled, and this fore¬closure-flood led to widespread abandonment and blight in a city already dealing with the problem from long-term economic loss. In early summer 2008, the City identified 8,009 blighted, va¬cant residential structures that are public nuisances in their neighborhoods. The economic conditions that contrib¬uted to the increase in foreclosures and abandonment had also taken its toll on local governments’ resources. During the same time that vacant, nuisance properties increased, Building and Housing reduced staff levels to stay within its budget. For 2005, Building and Housing budgeted 70 positions for building and housing inspectors. In 2009, the Department’s budget was cut and was able to employ only 52 inspectors.
LeanFirm applied Lean/Six Sigma tools to the entire value stream, including complaint intake, permitting, code enforcement, demolitions, building inspections, elevator inspections and prosecution. We also assessed the current software workflow to simplify core processes, such as complaint intake and code enforcement.
Additionally, we conducted a series of process improvement workshops where we trained front line employees on Lean/Six Sigma, workflow mapping (current and future/proposed), process improvement tools and statistical analysis. We facilitated brainstorming sessions with theses trained individuals to detail the change management plan.

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A budget-strapped city improves Inspector output over 100% with 25% less labor

Inspector output increased over 100%. From 2005 to 2008 condemnation issuance increased by 277%, demolitions by 484%, and board-up ac¬tions by 187%.

Simplified workflows, eliminating unnecessary steps by over 50%

Coordinated a Code Enforcement Partnership with local Community Development Corporations (CCDs) and the City to work cooperatively to improve the speed and quality of the Department of Building and Housing services.
Just-In-Time Inventory System saves a Housing Authority $500,000
Over the last 10 years, LeanFirm has consulted to several public housing authorities and municipalities on applying Lean/Six Sigma to the supply chain and procurement processes. For example, LeanFirm was engaged to help a large housing authority redefine how they view and manage inventory. Using SKU stratification and rationalization analyses LeanFirm managed the agency through dramatic reduction of on-hand inventory and then worked with management to consider the eventual elimination of the central warehouse. By replacing the previous system with a just-in-time (drop-shipping program), the Housing Authority reduced costs by $500,000.
Reducing the RFP cycle time by over 50%

Reduce purchasing cycle time by 80%

Decrease unnecessary paperwork by 60%

Decrease warehouse inventory by 65%

Increasing capacity in purchasing, accounts payable and construction departments by 20%
The results from these engagements included:
Strategic Planning sessions align strategy to action
LeanFirm was hired to develop a strategic plan for a large housing authority’s Resident Support Services Department (RSS). LeanFirm examined the environment in which the RSS department operates, explored the factors that affect how the department conducts services, identified key strategic issues to be addressed and developed strategies to bridge the gaps. The culmination of the analysis provided the foundation for the Strategic Plan.
Key deliverables in this project included:

Stakeholder Analysis: The stakeholder analysis was conducted to help identify who the key stakeholders are, how they interact within the different housing types (LIPH, HCVP, LHA, Hope VI), and to understand the needs, opinions and priorities of the RSS Department.

Workflow Analysis: Process flows were examined to determine how workflows could be reengineered or streamlined.

Cost Benefit Analysis: Excel models were created to quantify the benefits of programming and rate program performance. “What if” scenarios were created in Excel to explore outsourcing options and project future programming needs.

Identifying Strategic Issues: The strategic issues that were identified were the fundamental challenges that the department could control through thoughtful and purposeful planning.

Streamlining Recommendations: Created a set of tactics to address each strategic issue that had been identified. By doing this, the RSS Department could fulfill its mission and better serve its stakeholders.

Project Timeline: Developed an Implementation plan with assigned staff members and milestones.

Streamlined fleet management saves an agency $675,000

LeanFirm was hired to conduct a full assessment of the agency’s fleet including asset utilization, management staffing requirements, workflow, preventative maintenance, and fuel management. The agency felt that their fleet was not effectively utilized or managed. Accounting and fleet maintenance processes were complicated with excess steps. We used stratification and rationalization analyses, to identify correct vehicle and labor levels. We developed financial models for vehicles selling point, and compared in-house labor vs. outsourcing. We streamlined fleet management, eliminated non-value activities to achieve targeted savings without loss of quality/satisfaction. This study resulted in $675,000 savings in labor and assets.
The results from these engagements included:

Reduced the fleet by ~ 30 vehicles over a two-year period

Reduced mechanic staff by $112,000 with increased customer service

Improved asset utilization by realigning fleet to mirror usage

Utilized a lifecycle cost analysis to determine optimum selling/trading point

Reduced copies of invoice from 4 to 1

Reduced number of steps to process an invoice by 46%

A Large Housing Authority uses Lean/Six Sigma to reduce Vacancy Turn Times by 43% and overtime by $220,000

Results from this engagement included:

Vacancy turn time improved 43% from 46 to 26 days.

Restructured the workforce to mirrors the flow of information

Overtime reduced by $220,000.

Occupancy utilization increased from 97% to 99%

50% improvement on total occupancy time (from 4 months to 2 months)

Waiting list increased 230% from 300 applicants to 1000 +

LeanFirm was engaged to help a large public housing authority streamline their vacant unit value stream. Prospective occupancy inquiry was lengthy, unpredictable and frequently diverted to automated message systems, leading to frustration and possible loss of prospective tenants. Delivery of services required information and work processes to pass through many “silos” and approval chains. Employees were not held accountable for outcomes or performance.
We conducted a comprehensive operational assessment to identify areas of process improvement for application intake, client placement, work order scheduling and organizational structure. Part of the study was to conduct a Lean/Six Sigma study of the process to pinpoint the root causes of non-value added activities and long lead times.
Additionally, we conducted a series of process improvement workshops where we trained front line employees on Lean/Six Sigma, workflow mapping (current and future/proposed), process improvement tools and statistical analysis. We facilitated brainstorming sessions with theses trained individuals to detail the change management plan.