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With municipal budgets under increasing pressure and few elected leaders willing to risk a tax increase, local governments must still ensure their citizens enjoy the highest possible level of service. 

So how can any government agency short on resources meet its obligations? By transforming into a community of problem solvers focused on cultivating a culture of widespread operational excellence and continuous process improvement.

Our online Lean Six Sigma training makes it easy for local governments looking to reduce costs, improve efficiencies, and enhance the quality of life for all residents. In fact, our learner friendly & streamlined courses enabled the City of San Antonio to elevate its pothole repair game by 480%!

Texas

Location

Government

Industry

City Services

Function

480%

Improvement

Summary

The Problem

While resident dissatisfaction with local government is hardly rare, one city is working to make citizen complaints a thing of the past. In San Antonio, Texas, officials are gathering and listening to the voice of their residents – aka, their customers – and leveraging that feedback to implement real process improvements to the benefit of everyone.

Before embarking on their Lean Six Sigma journey, San Antonio officials mistakenly believed that pothole repair was one area where the City excelled. But after a Community Survey of resident satisfaction indicated that only 38% of respondents approved of those efforts, it was painfully apparent that wasn’t the case.

“What was concerning is that we thought we were doing pretty well in the potholes category. If a citizen reported a pothole, the City had 48 hours to complete the request,” remembered Jessica Shirley-Saenz, Assistant to Director in Transportation and Capital Improvements Department for the City of San Antonio. “The good news was that we were meeting this service level standard 98% of the time. Receiving a low rating was a big disappointment to many folks.”

The Discovery

So how can a process be improved when it already has a 98% success rate, at least by one metric? To get to the heart of the issue, City officials started asking themselves additional questions:

  • Are we using the right equipment?
  • Is it more effective to repair potholes in a different way?
  • Are we doing it as effectively as possible?
  • Are we proactive enough in repairing potholes?

After spending another 3-to-6 months gathering more actionable pothole data, it soon became clear the procedures for keeping San Antonio’s roads in good repair were far too passive.

The Solution

“We were waiting until residents reported potholes,” Shirly-Saenz said. “Even though we responded in a timely manner, what residents really wanted was the City to fix the potholes without having to call.”

Their discovery gave San Antonio officials the insight they needed to problem solve. Soon, City employees were spotting potholes proactively and getting them fixed without having complaints from their constituents first.

The Results

San Antonio’s Lean Six Sigma initiative has resulted in lots of small wins that generated major gains.  As for potholes, the City went from just 13,000 repaired in 2014 to 75,000 repaired in 2017 – a 480% increase! 

According to Shirly-Saenz, the best is yet to come.

“We’ve got 16 crews dedicated to potholes and now we want to allocate some of the crews to bigger base and pavement repairs,” she explained. “We want to do more! We’re still novices at Lean Six Sigma continuous process improvement efforts, but I’m most proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish holistically as a department.”

chart showing the outcomes of lean six sigma application with example for san antonio texas

Are You Ready to Begin the Process Improvement Journey?

That steadfast commitment to process optimization can only mean more good things are on the horizon for the citizens of San Antonio!

Looking for a similar boost? No matter your process problem, GoLeanSixSigma.com’s Lean Six Sigma training can put a culture of operational excellence and continuous process improvement within easy reach of your organization. 

You just need to take the first step. Sign up for a free trial.

Ready to train your team to deliver results?

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