Hanne Bruun, head of the environment department in Sønderborg Municipality speaks about the Lean Management Module from Traen: “We experience a crucial and substantial improvement in relation to overview and better possibility to administrate and prioritise”.

The environment department in Sønderborg Municipality experienced in connection with the municipal merger a workforce reduction of 10%. Today the employee workload has been reduced due to implementation of the Acadre Lean Management Module from Formpipe. 45 employees now face a working day, where physical work has been replaced by electronic automation.

For Sønderborg Municipality the implementation of the Lean Management Module from Formpipe has proven its worth. The experiences show that the Lean Management Module is the way forward and hopefully also for other departments in Sønderborg Municipality.

From a physical to an electronic bookshelf

“We implemented the electronic system after the summer of 2010,” explains head of environment department Hanne Bruun. The municipality already uses the electronic case and document management system Acadre from Formpipe. The implementation of the Lean Management Module started after a process, where the municipality had tried to optimise and streamline working procedures in the department.

“In the summer of 2007 the centre for Nature, Environment and Building joined a LEAN project together with six other municipalities,” Hanne Bruun recounts about the reason for integrating the new electronic system. “During this project we found, that there was a great need for gaining better control with the cases and the case procedures, among other things better prioritising of the resources. The municipal merger caused a workforce reduction of 10% and we lacked some employees. During the LEAN project the environment department sat up a set of shelves. All the cases were taken from employer desks and put into these shelves. Now everyone could see the cases and how far in the process they were. Many employees were relieved by getting the piles away from their desks,” Hanne Bruun recalls.

The establishment of the shelves did however turn out to have their downsides. “In daily use it was troublesome for the employees to keep moving the cases in the shelves – and add dates. This was often forgotten. And when I should make reports, it took forever. And after a few days the report was outdated,” Hanne Bruun elaborates.

The implementation of the Lean Management Module was therefore a decisive initiative on the way towards further streamlined working procedures in the environment department. And at the same time a natural step in relation to the municipality’s incorporation of a LEAN mindset. A mindset where the focus is on increased value and higher productivity through optimised streamlining and minimised use of resources.

A win-win for all concerned

For 45 employees in Sønderborg Municipality the change from physical shelves to the Acadre Lean Management Module has increased the possibility to monitor the administration time in connection with a specific case. “With the Lean Management Module we can immediately see how long the cases lie in our system as well as externally. We are sometimes accused of long processing time – with this new system we can see that it is just as well because the cases lie for instance on the applicant side,” explains Hanne Bruun.

Where it earlier was difficult to gain quick overview of the individual case history, the case administration today is now characterised by visibility and an efficient approach: “Both the single teams and I can immediately create reports/look-ups and see, which cases are waiting, and how far the other case are in our system,” Hanne Bruun tells. This is a decisive and significant improvement in overview and better administration and prioritising. Not least in relation to the fact that the cases are our joint responsibility.

An investment in the future

The biggest challenge in relation to implementing the Lean Management Module was to convince internally that the investment was reasonable and beneficial. “An investment must be worth one’s while,” Hanne Bruun says and points out the difficulty in stating specific value in advance on gains such as overview and better administration. Hanne Bruun has no doubts that the department in Sønderborg Municipality can profit from the Lean Management Module, and she experiences also great interest in the project from several sides: “When I introduced the Lean Management Module to the management in November, they were very positive. The manager in Children and Family was especially keen on the idea and consider using it,” Hanne Bruun tells.

“Our ambition is to continue optimising the working processes as much as possible. With the Lean Management Module from Formpipe we will in the long run be able to establish whether our initiatives have an impact,” Hanne Bruun concludes.