Improvements In A Large Public Electric Utility In South America

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The company decided to develop and implement an improvement program. The main thrust was to propose strategies and alternatives for the implementation of a quality program.

Later on, the company declared the "Year of Quality", which kicked off the beginning of an improvement program focusing on providing better service and paying more attention to the customers. That same year, after several internal attempts on the part of the company to carry out such a program, executive management requested our assistance to evaluate the current situation and implement a Corporate Management System .

Policy Management

The purpose of Policy Management was to determine the company's priority areas in order to align resources towards customer satisfaction. The corporate vision, that is, the future the organization aspires to reach, had to be established first in order to develop the fundamental objectives. Besides describing the desired position, the vision helped define what had to be done to reach it.

Developing the vision demanded a sincere evaluation of the company's strengths and weaknesses, and a deep investigation of the needs of the customers and all the actors that impact the company's product or service This was a very revealing experience since the analysis of customer needs uncovered some requirements that became known for the first time.

To accomplish this it was necessary to involve all of management. The managers, from all departments, established four teams. One group was responsible for identifying the customers' requirements another, the corporate problems and business requirements, a third group designed strategies to implement the program throughout the organization and the last one analyzed information needs that allowed them to get control of the demands from clients and actors and the degree to which they were satisfied.

The conclusions arrived at by these teams were the basis for the Executive Committee to formulate the vision and, afterwards, to develop the Corporate Management System. This system was deployed and promoted at all levels of the organization in 1993 and is the management system being used today. Through the Corporate Management System the vision, long and short term plans were transformed into concrete actions; the role and responsibility of each member of the organization was clearly defined; a systematic and participatory process oriented towards corporate improvement was created.

Improvement Teams

The company's Corporate Management Process is supported by the knowledge and involvement of its human resources and team work. Fifteen internal instructors were trained and certified on the advanced Methodology for Continued Improvement, "Tools, Techniques and Methodology". The training strategy was to start training at the time the Priority Areas for the company were being established. Having these two activities in parallel enabled the company to have the key personnel trained on the tools and techniques for improvement, by the time corporate policy was ready to be functionally deployed.

This is why the company, through its own instructors, trained the rest of the organization and was ready to act when the Executive Committee deployed five of the ten Priority Areas identified through the Corporate Management System.

The Improvement Teams' efforts were supported by various clearly defined support structures, which were implemented based on our guidance. The purpose of these structures, endorsed by Executive Management, was to improve the company operations and satisfy the customers' expectations and valid requirements.

At the beginning of 1994 the company had twenty improvement teams that were assigned to work on specific problems, derived from the Priority Areas and deployed through the short term plans. These teams continue to work on improvement activities today.

Daily Management

With the goal of increasing the level of participation of employees in routine jobs, the company decided to implement "Daily Management" in 1994. This strategy resulted in the training and development of a pilot area, the Information Systems Group, in all the methods and techniques of Daily Management.

The training consisted of:

the methodology to select the most important process

the techniques to identify the needs of the customer: internal and external the method to establish responsibilities

and the development of indicators, targets and a follow-up system

The pilot also served as a means to transfer the technology of Daily Management to the company.

The company continues to train their employees on this methodology to accelerate the efforts that lead to the improvement of products and services by controlling and improving the critical business processes. At the same time, the program is being expanded to other areas of the organization. As more people become involved in monitoring and controlling their own activities, management is beginning to see improvement results in all areas of operation.

Managing Parner, Management Resources Inc.

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