Many companies are exploring lean business practices to increase customer value while eliminating unproductive waste in operational processes. Paying attention to continuous improvements in operation and adding value by developing employees adds value to any parking organization. In addition, continually assessing and resolving root problems helps with organizational learning and is a valuable tool to implement. I believe that lean practices should take center stage in our parking operations: they raise the bar on quality business practices and help develop competent employees who can sustain such practices in the future.

I am currently performing audits on each area of our parking organization (citation, front counter permit sales, revenue reconciliation, payroll deducted permit fee reconciliation, etc.). Because the overarching goal of my organization is to increase patient satisfaction through exceptional customer service, I am assessing manual processes and converting those that take time away from other things to technological downloads for easier execution. For example, the payroll deducted permit fee reconciliation process takes 90 percent of the staff’s daily time to accurately confirm more than $9,000 in permit fee receipts. A programmer is taking the information in our existing system and networking it with our payroll deducted system, confirming payment receipts via employee ID numbers. Why? This shakes out cases where there are no matches in information. Instead of a 200-page report, staff  will only have to look at a four- to six-page report. The extra time can be used to thoroughly investigate issues for patrons and provide that “Disney touch” to our customers.

The additional value is that this will free up staff time, which can also be a great employee motivator as daily stresses are reduced and time is provided for creative thinking. This process will continue until each functional area has been thoroughly analyzed for operational efficiency.

As you assess your business practices, what can you identify as waste that can be eliminated? What would the added value be as a result?