Katherine Wall Spearheads Brevard County Government’s Lean Six Sigma Initiatives
By Frank Abbate, Brevard County Manager // May 12, 2019
to help get us to a better tomorrow
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Since October 2015, Brevard County Government has worked on institutionalizing Lean Six Sigma as a way to help get us to a better tomorrow.
Utilizing this process, County managers and employees team together to streamline and improve day-to-day customer service and County operations.
We put our processes under a microscope to determine weaknesses or other deficiencies in providing and performing services and, ultimately, we improve quality, eliminate waste, and reduce lead times and delays in County Government operations.
Currently, more than 20 teams made up of County employees are actively working on Lean Six Sigma initiatives, all in an effort to make Brevard County Government more efficient, effective and responsive.
While the County has always encouraged and been involved in continuous improvement initiatives, Lean Six Sigma is really about our desire for this organization to be one that can “self-correct” while allowing dedicated employees to acquire tools that facilitate their professional development and gives us a strike team for continuous improvement.
Lean Six Sigma is based on a five-step process of Defining, Measuring, Analyzing, Improving and Controlling.
Spearheading our Lean Six Sigma initiatives out of the County Manager’s Office is Special Projects Coordinator Katherine Wall. She has worked with the Clerk of Court’s Office, our Solid Waste Department and then as Budget Director before working as Commission Auditor in Osceola County, and returning to Brevard County in 2017.
Lean Six Sigma successes to date include:
- The Development Application Process: Successfully reduced site plan approval time by 25 percent. County staff invests more time at the start of the process, resulting in a decrease in the number of review cycles and a reduction in the overall time for approval. (Planning and Development)
- The Site Construction Process closeout (issuing certificate of completion): Reduced closeout time for site construction projects from an average 37.2 days to 28 days, leading to improved customer satisfaction both in time and monetary savings. (Planning and Development)
- The Permit Application Intake Project: Introduced scanning guidelines and Building Permit intake checklists, leading to a 45 percent reduction in application scanning deficiencies, and a 69 percent reduction in incorrect application entries. (Planning and Development)
- The Building Permit Inspection Scheduling process: Extended the inspection scheduling cut-off time by two additional hours daily, and introduced online 24/7 self-service inspection scheduling, resulting in a 25 percent reduction in staff time spent scheduling inspections. (Planning and Development)
- Standardization of the Camp Registration process: Increased camp registration completion rate from 40.2 percent to 87.3 percent by reducing errors, requiring fewer signatures, updating registration forms, and increasing first-visit customer registrations. (Parks and Recreation)
- Improvements in the Emergency Shelter Worker Program: Developed the Brevard Emergency Support Team (BEST) to reduce/eliminate the gap of available, trained shelter workers to support the county’s most vulnerable populations during disasters. The BEST Shelter Worker training class has been offered 35 times and trained close to 1,000 County and School Board personnel. During Hurricane Irma, 392 BEST members served in 21 shelters and provided safe refuge to more than 4,100 residents and 450 pets to an overwhelmingly positive reception by the public. (Emergency Management)
- Implementation of Paperless Pay Remuneration Statements: Saved the county $30,000-plus annually on paper, postage, labor and toner. (Information Technology)
- Streamlining of Worker’s Compensation Adjustment and the Hiring Process: Reduced the average number of days for payments from 104 days from the time someone becomes eligible for reimbursement to less than a week. Also, reduced the time from job vacancy to advertisement for permanent external new hire from 42 days to 19 days. (Human Resources)
There are many more Lean Six Sigma initiatives already completed or in progress. Information on all of our Lean Six Sigma projects can be found on our website at Brevardfl.gov/leansixsigma
I’m also proud to say the County has developed partnerships with the City of Titusville and Patrick Air Force Base for future Lean Six Sigma initiatives.
It’s really this simple: Lean Six Sigma helps us trim the fat in processes that bog down the delivery of County services. It empowers employees who listen to the voice of our customers, map out our processes, identify waste, inefficiencies and duplication, and then make recommendations of solutions to those processes to benefit our customers.
We’re working to implement these solutions so that our community will benefit through improved County operations.
If you’d like to provide us input on County operations, please contact us at 321-633-2001. We look forward to hearing from you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
In a 5-0 vote, the Brevard County Commission named Frank Abbate as Brevard County Manager in July 2017. Having served in the public sector for over 32 years, Abbate’s professional career is anchored by 26 years as Brevard County’s Human Resources Director.
Prior to being named Brevard County Manager, Abbate was the assistant county manager for public safety and support services.
As County Manager, Abbate is the head of the executive branch of County Government and is responsible to the Board of County Commissioners for the proper administration of all affairs of County Government not otherwise entrusted to an elected County officer.
The Manager attends all regular and special meetings of the Board of County Commissioners and has the right to participate in its discussions.
Abbate has served as an Instructor for both Webster University and UCF in their graduate Public Administration and Human Resources Development programs.
Upon graduating from the Dickinson School of Law, Penn State University, he was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1982. He served as a Staff Attorney and then as the Personnel Director/Labor Attorney for the City of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for six years.
After moving to Florida in 1989, Abbate was admitted to the Florida Bar.
As an undergraduate student at S.U.N.Y. @ Stony Brook, Abbate earned his Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Political Science and served as a congressional intern in Washington, D.C.
Abbate lives in Satellite Beach with his wife Rita. The couple are the proud parents of three children and three grandchildren.
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