A reduction in local authority funding meant that our client, a county fire and rescue service, needed to make cost savings of £1.3 million over two years
With a further £1.1 million saving to be made in the following two years.
Naturally, safety is the priority and the fire service needed to find ways to deliver a potentially better community service at a lower cost. The fire service had already carried out a detailed analysis of where to cut costs and many of the areas for improvement had already been identified. Our client needed our help in making these proposed improvements a reality, thereby realising the essential cost savings.
What was the problem?
A lot of the potential cost savings had already been identified, but the fire service was struggling to implement them.
The reasons for this were complex, but can be broken down into a few key areas:
- There was a shortfall in senior staff capacity
- Middle and senior managers were finding it difficult to be productive as they were spending a lot of time in unnecessary meetings
- There was no operational planning and control to implement the changes
- Current performance measurements were not focused at the right level and did not provide the right information for decision making
- Fire prevention activities had been planned, but never implemented due to a lack of time
- Availability of crew and equipment was lower than the fire service would like.
- Staff hadn’t been given the necessary skills to make the changes
A typical Resultancy approach
As a lot of the analysis work had already been done, we went straight in and worked alongside the fire service staff to show them how to put into practice what they had planned.
We gave the staff much needed training in Lean Six Sigma
This enabled them to work efficiency into all their processes.
We then generated a new set of key metrics
This gave senior management an accurate overview of performance.
We created practical methods
This enabled staff to see what needed to be done and what had been completed, and developed a visual method of presenting a ‘strategy overview’ to aid communication.
Finally, we identified further process improvements
This was based on fire service response that could be added to the cost saving plan.
Specifically, we delivered the following:
- Reduced the time fire officers spent in meetings. This 24% capacity improvement equates to £72,000 per year
- Freed up management capacity to deliver the proposed savings programme of £1.2 million
- Improved communication of improvement projects and strategy
- Green belts trained and working on efficiency improvement projects
- Further savings identified in the control room of around £150,000
“There have been some specific changes already – for example, 3 individuals have been sent on Lean Six Sigma training. They are already implementing what they’ve learnt at ground level, which has been a real change”
– Dave Pemberton, Area Commander Warwickshire fire Service