Case Study:  Performance Excellence Improves Environmental Health and Safety Services

Opportunity:  A world-renowned, university-based provider of environmental health and safety services was facing increasing pressure from private competitors in several of its service areas.  Radiation safety services represented the largest component of their business.  Clients included many notable medical and research institutions.  There was a pressing need to reorient the organization away from a culture of regulatory authority and internal focus, toward a culture that emphasized the importance of its customer relationships and was focused on providing timely, high quality, cost-competitive services.

Performance Excellence Audit: Reviews of operational procedures, critical incidents and meetings with clients identified several issues which could impact operations effectiveness:

Operating and Management Process Improvements:  The comprehensive process by which laboratory safety and radiation checks were conducted, analyzed and reported was mapped in detail by a cross-functional, multi-level team which included many of the technicians.  The process was analyzed particularly for improvement opportunities in cycle time, but also for improvements in cost-efficiency, customer satisfaction and quality.  A customer satisfaction survey was conducted with the eight major institutional customers.  Numerous and substantial changes were designed into the process.  A list of key questions to monitor the performance of the process was derived, and methods to collect data to answer those questions were implemented.  The process improvement team assumed long-term responsibility to monitor performance data and take actions as necessary to promote continuous improvement.

Results:  Major improvements were achieved in process cycle time, customer satisfaction and cost-efficiency.  Specific improvements included:

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