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Tried and tested techniques help governments cut reduce and gain citizen-centric results.
The need to act has never been greater. Government expenses are soaring, driven in part by an aging workforce, rising healthcare costs and underfunded pension funds. The missions of most agencies are expanding as citizens’ expectations rise. At the same time, tax revenues have stagnated or declined, and economic stimulus programs, funded through deficit spending, are waning. As markets tighten, the choice between raising taxes or cutting services seems inevitable. Against such a backdrop, public service organizations must be prepared to adapt.
From our experience with leading public service organizations, Accenture has found there are three main factors that realize improvements to inefficient work activities, reduce waste, and encourage streamlined programs that achieve more with less by:
By building operational excellence, developing agility, and creating a supportive culture and workforce, public service organizations can set the foundation for increasing output and quality while reducing the amount of resources and cost needed. In short, public service leaders can develop the right organizational anatomy to alleviate the fiscal pressures, effect positive change and pave the way to high performance.
As public service organizations wrestle with the “new normal”— squeezed budgets, despite a growing demand for services—the need to operate more efficiently and react quickly is placing renewed emphasis on pursuing the right outcomes.
Looking to the public sector’s counterpart, the private sector is accustomed to competing for survival in turbulent times. No stranger to the term operational excellence, a hybrid of a 30-year old movement that inspired such programs as total quality management or Lean Six Sigma, private sector organizations know a thing or two about highly efficient service delivery. Indeed, the more sporadic improvements in the public sector have shown one thing—effective improvement begins and ends with strategic alignment, linking specific projects, initiatives, training, and job responsibilities to the organization’s most important objectives.
If we are to follow Toynbee’s1 findings on the rise and fall of civilizations, failing to meet the market’s challenges is not an option. In our latest book,2 Accenture shows how forward-thinking public service organizations can reduce costs by at least 10-20 percent while improving quality and speed at the same time. How? By adopting a new approach that generates greater productivity within the resource and time constraints currently faced.1 “A society that successfully meets and surmounts successive challenges will continue to grow to new levels of civilization. But as soon as that society fails to meet a challenge, it must inevitably decline.” Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History2 Authors Mark Price, Walter Mores and Hundley Elliotte ,“Building High Performance Government Through Lean Six Sigma: A Leaders Guide to Creating Speed, Agility and Efficiency,” McGraw-Hill 2010
Accenture has found there are three main factors that realize improvements to inefficient work activities, reduce waste, and encourage streamlined programs that achieve more with less:
Focus on operational excellence. Employing methods such as continuous process improvement (CPI) to eliminate waste and improving quality throughout a process can increase productivity without additional resources. Most importantly, leaders tackle the productivity challenge with an enterprise view of the production processes, applying an end-to-end approach.
Drive agility. Rapid response means an organization can adapt, change and innovate quickly. Committing workforces and budgets appropriately means leveraging the right internal and external resources to guide decision making and free up employees to focus on the job in hand.
Adapt the workforce and culture. Create a learning environment in which the workforce can thrive, both today and in the future. As employees benefit from the opportunity to develop new skills and competencies, and the chance to become more connected with their customers, these attributes help to drive agility and operational excellence.
For “real world” examples of where public service leaders are developing the right organizational anatomy to alleviate the fiscal pressures, creating positive change and paving the way to high performance, download the point of view now.
February 15, 2012
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