The section receives approximately 14,000 emails, 3,000 service requests and 29,000 faxes from residential and business property tax payers, tax agents, lawyers, other government bodies and financial institutions on an annual basis. The turnaround time for inquiries can range from three (3) to 10 business days. Given the high volumes and long turnaround times, the aim of the Lean review was to identify opportunities to:
- Reduce the volume of emailed inquiries by at least 20 per cent
- Reduce the number of touches within a process by 30 per cent
- Reduce the turnaround time by 30 per cent for each type of inquiry
In addition to improvements in the actual process, the team needed to replace the tracking method which was an unreliable Excel spreadsheet that was populated manually and did not have the ability to determine if service levels were being met. The future state will transition from paper-based/manual to a more digitized process. The ultimate goal is to create, through the municipality’s website, the ability for the customer to
create a service request and send it directly to the business unit responsible for processing it.
In the interim, as a result of the Lean review and improvement initiative, the organization is able to digitize large parts of the process including the creation of service requests for emails and faxes received to be processed and creating a file room in Share Point so that all the documents received and processed can be stored electronically. This change eliminates a lot of waste and inefficiency – more specifically, walking, batching, printing and sorting. It also allows Revenue to partner with the municipality’s contact centre to share this information which will improve the centre’s ability to more effectively address customer inquiries in a direct manner, reducing the number of service requests sent on to Revenue. This will prove valuable as Revenue is the centre’s largest customer and represents 70% of its call volumes. Environmental benefits will also be achieved with the reduction of the use of paper and space savings as a file room will no longer be required.
The benefits identified ranged from labour savings; removal of non-value-added activities; environmental savings and, most importantly, a method to more effectively partner with the contact centre to provide excellent customer service to residents and business owners.
Efficiencies in labour amounted to $51,364 through time saved by a records clerk as all documents will be stored electronically. This will also have office space savings of 400 square feet, approximately $10,800 as the section will no longer require the use of the file room. However, as the organization needs to retain documents for the current and two prior years, this benefit will be fully realized later. Other labour savings of $53,292 will result from the removal of non-value-added activities.
Savings through the removal of excess walking, batching, sorting and printing totalled $11,386 annually. This includes the pre-sorting of documents prior to filing as well as walking back and forth to the printer several times each day to pick up print jobs, sort them and distribute them.