• Continuous Improvement/Lean Projects by Department


  • Administration


  • Budget File Re-Organization

    Problem Statement: Budget files are used and shared by budget staff for a variety of projects and processes.  Locating special project files can be challenging at times due to the magnitude and complexity of projects worked on throughout the year.  Employee turnover in the last several years has affected the thought process regarding file retention and location storage of electronic files.  

    Results: There was a lot of low-hanging fruit, allowing the team to consolidate over 20% of our sub-folders in our Budget folder directory. Many “like” folders could be consolidated or grouped together, and “Old” folders created in sub-folders in order to add clarity as to the most up-to-date files while preserving prior drafts.

    Collection Performance Assessment and Improvement
    Problem Statement: Collection performance varies based on such factors as: type of debtor in queue, chance (e.g., debtor picks up phone), debtor ability to pay and collection techniques performed.  In this project we will identify baseline performance and develop training to build skills that continuously maximize revenue recovery and shorten time to paid-in-full status.  

    Results:  Comparing data from 2010 (prior to change) to 2011 (change implemented) results:

    464.1% increase in calls

    116% increase in contacts

    160.5% increase in 'promised to pay'

    1,140 decrease in letters

    $3,762 increase in payments
    Collection Strategies
    Problem Statement: Through the ability to automate the referral process, the Collection Division has reduced significantly the referral entry time (via Ecliptics) and assignment to a collector for the majority of clients; however, for those clients not utilizing Ecliptics or automation, the processing time can be up to 5 times longer. In addition, without uniformity or specific strategies, collectors are unable to efficiently identify the most collectible accounts.


    Results: Increase in collections from 2012 to 2013 reflected an increase of $52,489.65.  Skip tracing costs reduced by $896.50 from 2012 to 2013.  Credit card payments increased during implementation by 422 payments which amounted to an increase of $36,002.05 (August – October).

    DHHS & Collections Referral and Debt Recovery Project

    Problem Statement: The Human Services bills submitted for collection exceeds and average debt age of 4 years.  These accounts resulted in over $29.6 million (46.3% of total principal referred) of uncollectable debts which negatively impacts the condition of patient information, recover percentage and customer satisfaction. 

    Results: The goal was to reduce the non-value added time and cycle time by 5%.  The results reflect a 76% overall improvement.  The team exceeded the goal by 71%.  Hard savings included reducing process time from 59% to 25% of total time to process, reduced cycle time by 11 minutes and increased referral batch count from 95 to 172 within less time.  Printer costs savings of $5,366.40 yearly and storage fees eliminated with new process. 

    Risk Management - Worker's Compensation Reporting Time

    Problem Statement: The original process involved a lot of time-consuming follow up work when a work injury was reported to us late.  Late reporting of injuries can also lead to delayed medical treatment, case management and lost control.  This can then lead to increased claim costs and expose the County to possible DWD citations and increased potential for litigation.  Reduce injury reporting time by:  educating employees and supervisors on importance of timely injury reporting, reduce time it takes to complete an injury report and for that employee’s supervisor to forward the document to Risk Management, eliminate need for returning injury reports back to the injured employee and/or their supervisor to correct errors and omissions.

    Results: The online injury reporting tool has been an effective supplement to the paper forms.  The online reporting also provides instantaneous injury reporting to us which is a significant time and cost saver.  Scanning and emailing of injury reports has also significantly reduced injury reporting time.

    Records Management - Scanning Project

    Problem Statement:  Waukesha County Moved from eCapture/Stellant for scanning Accounts Payable to KnowledgeLake and SharePoint for scanning A/P.  With these upgrades, the scanning process went from 15 minutes to scan 150 documents to 5 hours to scan 150 documents.

    Results: A time savings of 4.5 hours for 150 documents. 

    Human Resources - New Employee and Benefit Orientation Process Improvement

    Problem Statement:  New employees attend two types of orientation involving Human Resources: Benefits Orientation provides employees information and registration for benefit, and the New Employee Orientation (NEO) provides information and resources for employees on a variety of topics and requires coverage of and sign-off on policies and procedures.  Both of these processes had not been reviewed or fundamentally revised for over 10 years and it was time for a "health check" to look for waste of materials and time and to cover topics employees deemed important to know.  

    Results:  Employees prefer attending new employee orientation in person rather than via web/pre-recorded CD interaction. Employees found most of the printed information in the binders to be useful information.  The new process accomplishes New Employee Orientation in 1 day instead of 2 days.

    Sheriff/IT - Public Safety Systems Access

    Problem Statement: There are multiple ways a request can come in to be worked on such as email, telephone, fax and in person.  This needs to be streamlined.  

    Results: The website would provide a means for users of the system to submit the necessary requests and cuts request processing time by 87.5%.

    Collections - Month-end Process

    Problem Statement: The Collection Division services both internal departments as well as external clients.  The clients' statements, invoices and checks are produced on a monthly basis with a contractual agreement for a delivery of 45 days.  The diversity of clients and their various reporting needs have made the month end close process complex.  Complexity coupled with dependence on individual employees for task completion leads to delays in closing the month end close process; averaging over 57 days to time of delivery.  Poor quality in performance coudl leade to loss in client satisfaction, referrals, revenue and result in increasing costs per collection.

    Results: Minimum goal was 45 contractual agreement with a 30 day ultimate goal. Project resulted in 29 days to process = 49% improvement. Non-value added time decreased from 27 days to 16 = 40% change.

  • Courts


  • Unify Civil and Family Divisions CORE Group
    Problem Statement: The Civil and Family CORE Group is made up of the Customer Service areas of each department.  Both divisions have similar staff positions/current conditions.  There is currently a lot of downtime when there is a lack of work.  There is duplication of job functions which causes little time on each job function instead of quality time on specific job functions.  We are unable to hold employees accountable for the job functions as it is spread among many employees.  

    Results: Reassign duties for accountability and time management, and have one Calendar Clerk and one Account Clerk performing duties for both the Civil and Family Divisions.  In both divisions we decreased downtime and errors.  
    Streamlining Mail Processing

    Problem Statement: Mail is handled by many staff differently.  Mail is also waiting in a 'to be processed' bin, causing unnecessary delays.

    Results: Based on the time study and flowchart we were able to identify and eliminate the non-value added time.

  • Emergency Preparedness


  • Training Improvement Process (T.I.P)

     Problem Statement:  Phase II of the WCC training process currently takes too much time to complete due tot he inconsistent use of benchmarks, resulting in performance problems being unidentified and the performance improvement plans not being put into place in a beneficial time frame.  Our goal is to improve Phase II (call-taking training on the floor) of the WCC process by re-evaluating the benchmarks for call-taking.

     Results: Summer 2014 Training Group - 3 out of 4 trainees were successful in Phase II training.  Winter 2015 Training Group - 2 out of 4 trainees were successful in Phase II training. 

  • Health & Human Services


  • DHHS & Collections Referral and Debt Recovery Project

    Problem Statement: The Human Services bills submitted for collection exceeds and average debt age of 4 years.  These accounts resulted in over $29.6 million (46.3% of total principal referred) of uncollectable debts which negatively impacts the condition of patient information, recover percentage and customer satisfaction. 

    Results: The goal was to reduce the non-value added time and cycle time by 5%.  The results reflect a 76% overall improvement.  The team exceeded the goal by 71%.  Hard savings included reducing process time from 59% to 25% of total time to process, reduced cycle time by 11 minutes and increased referral batch count from 95 to 172 within less time.  Printer costs savings of $5,366.40 yearly and storage fees eliminated with new process. 

    Economic Support Resource Center
    Problem Statement: The goal of the project was to improve the overall business process and customer service by eliminating inconsistency and maximizing efficiency. The website is helpful and many key resources are available to staff in one location. However, the website is under-utilized by staff. Many staff continue to use their own organizational methods to obtain materials.

    The Website does not house all processing resources and is lacking a functional search feature which can be challenging to locate key resources.

    Due to under-utilization of the website we are unable to measure any hard or soft savings.
    Reducing Call Wait Time in the Moraine Lakes Call Center Queue

    Problem Statement: In 2011, Economic Support had to form consortia around the state and as part of that, develop a Call Center.  We had just months to team up with other counties to become a consortium, then figure out amongst other things, how to run a call center.  Things started out OK, but as more of our customers called in, staff was overwhelmed with the volume of calls and the wait time for callers increased monthly.  We had to find a way to get the wait time down as callers were frustrated and either hung up or became abusive to staff taking those calls. it was very stressful for staff as well. 

    Results: Much improved wait time, after changes were made it dropped from 15.5 to 3.2 minutes.  

    Volunteer Program Process

    Problem Statement:  Frustration and stress were resulting among volunteers related to content, applicability and length of training.  Frustration also arose among volunteer coordinators related to work time spent contacting non-compliant volunteers and requesting the completion of training.

    Results: We found if we create more relevant training for volunteers they are more likely to participate resulting in less stress for the volunteers and the coordinators.  The test was administered in the summer of 2014 with a 100% compliance.  

  • Parks & Land Use


  • Food Licensing Imaging

    Problem Statement: There are too many steps in food inspection and licensing procedures to achieve the desired outcome, and the process is paper-heavy.

    Results:  After adopting our new licensing program, HealthSpace, we eliminated most of the paper usage and ink costs.  Inspectors now capture the operator's signatures electronically and email inspection reports directly to the operator without having to print.  Documents are then stored directly within HealthSpace.  We estimate this will save:

    • $2,500 annually on image costs
    • $500 on ink for portable printers
    • 122 annual staff work hours.
  • Public Works


  • Airport Supply Inventory Control System
    Problem Statement: The process for replacing the unlit bulbs on the airfield (over 300 bulbs of 9 varieties managed by 1 operations staff member) and managing the inventory supply room is inefficient.  Also, supplies are being ordered from vendors that do not necessarily have the lowest prices.  Time and money are being wasted because of the inefficiencies in our current system.  

    Results: Hundreds of dollars have already been saved by ordering bulbs from the supplier with the lowest costs. Efficiency has also increased because of the digital inventory database.
    Public Works - Accounts Payable Invoice Processing
    Problem Statement: The process for creating payments in the Department of Public Works is different in each division.  Also, the time spent tracking down correct information for invoice processing or explaining the procedure to other employees is an inefficient use of valuable staff time.  The problem has developed over the years as our department has grown.  Several departments have merged over the years adding divisions withing the department, yet geographically separated.  Each division has brought with it a unique way of handling the financial process.  As new employees have been added to the staff, each has been trained in a different procedure to process payments.  Because of the physical nature of the department, invoices are sometimes sent to the wrong division and time is spent researching the correct location for the invoice and mailing it to the appropriate staff person.

    Results: Better cross -training of division processes and increased communication between invoice processors will help us continue to identify best practices and greatly increase our capacity to efficiently cover for coworkers when the need arises.  For example: Airport- Condensed 13 invoices into one batch invoice, which saves over 60 minutes per month. Facilities- Consolidated group invoices and utilized FMIS templates for consolidated invoices to save 90 minutes of payment entry per month.
  • UW-Extension


  • UW-Extension N Drivers

    Problem Statement: Storing and retrieving folders from the shared N drive was cumbersome.  It is critical that all staff have access to multiple folders. There is not an office policy in place.  When staff uses the N drive, it is considered a 'dumping ground' for files, everyone has their own system, there is no maintenance plan and there were originally 150 folders.  Learning about the N drive was not part of the office orientation for new staff, when multiple people worked on one document there were multiple copies created and saved.

    Results:

    BEFORE organizing the N drive:

    FAMILY PHOTO PERMISSIONAVG: (14 OUT OF 15 people were able to find this document – 93%)

    STRATEGIC PLAN AVG:                  (3 OUT OF 15 people were able to find this document – 20%)

    TRAVEL EXPENSE FORM AVG:    (4 OUT OF 15 people were able to find this document – 26%)

    AFTER organizing the N drive:

    FAMILY PHOTO PERMISSION AVG: (15 out of 15 people were able to find this document —100%)

    STRATEGIC PLAN AVG:                  (15 out of 15 people were able to find this document —100%)

    TRAVEL EXPENSE FORM AVG:    (12 out of 15 people were able to find this document —80%)

    • The three people who didn’t find the travel expense form typically go directly to the intranet

  • The Waukesha County Continuous Improvement Program is broad in nature and encompasses many types of improvements throughout the county. Our LEAN training offers tools for all continuous improvement efforts. LEAN Government is a term that is recognized throughout the country, and therefore is often associated with improvement projects.