Operational Improvement

Strengthening your bottom line

In today’s intensely competitive and rapidly changing environment, realizing efficiencies is a top priority for all organizations. These efficiencies — often created through targeted operational improvements — are essential to maintaining your competitive position and protecting your bottom line. Workflow analysis, process engineering or re-engineering, and technology solutions can all serve as inputs to improved operations and enhanced organizational performance. But it’s knowing when, in what way, and how to interpret these factors that helps ensure an operational improvement effort doesn’t become a drag on resources and wasted exercise.

Our Capabilities

SSA has extensive experience assessing the performance of both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, as well as numerous local and state government agencies. We work closely with our clients to understand the issues, develop recommendations, and assist with implementing the right combination of people, processes and technologies to enhance productivity and deliver more efficient and effective operations. 

We help change the productive capacity of an organization and build a better workplace.

Our Approach

Recognizing that organizations cannot fully realize or adequately sustain an organizational or cultural transformation driven by process redesign without comprehensive buy-in, we work with senior leadership teams to engage employees across all levels to take ownership of the effort.

We utilize a straightforward yet comprehensive methodology to organizational improvement that envelops three key elements of any organization: strategy, goals, and productivity of both people and processes.

To help hone productivity, we start by taking a look at key processes, and then benchmark them against recognized best practices in the markets in which it competes. Drill-down workflow analyses and process re-engineering are often the next steps, along with identification of where along the way technology solutions can help, with the goal being a streamlined, more efficient process that your people can then take and execute.

Coming up with improved processes is only half the battle though. New processes and new systems demand a trained workforce capable of executing them in a high-performance manner. Our consultants take these changes, create customized training programs for employees, and then work with them through the rollout stage, answering questions along the way as part of a comprehensive communications strategy.

We call it change management. At the end of the day, you’ll call it a clearer path to organizational success.

Our Experience

 

► Merged Group Medical Practice | Turning Around Financial Performance

Challenge
Two primary care physician practices and a large nonprofit hospital entered into an agreement to operate as their parish’s “full-service” family practice. The assets of the physician practices combined with the capital invested by the hospital provided an opportunity to create an entity that could offer the highest quality of care to its patients while also providing a substantial return on investment to its owners; however, the new organization struggled to achieve this reality. The organization engaged SSA to help reverse the negative trends in revenue and patient volume and bring its escalating costs under control.
Approach
SSA conducted a comprehensive study of the organization’s costs, revenues and staffing levels compared to national benchmarked data to identify significant opportunities to improve the organization’s financial performance. From its findings, SSA recommended cost item reductions and eliminations, and implemented a new cost control system and annual review of all expenditures. The SSA project team also reviewed all of the organization’s provider contracts and recommended the renegotiation of several contracts as a result of their analysis. To address the organizational structure, SSA analyzed the capabilities of the management team and assisted in the recruitment of additional talent.
Impact
The organization's operating income improved from a net loss of more than $1 million in its first two years of operation to a net gain. The entities’ expenses reduced by $950,000 and revenues increased by more than $1 million. Moreover, patient volume increased after two years of steady decline and the practice is now a stable, growing, profitable entity.

► Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services  | Redesigning the State's Welfare-to-Work Program

Challenge
The existing welfare-to-work program did not include progressive case management processes and tools needed to develop customized plans to achieve sustainable employment. The program also lacked adequate accountability mechanisms. The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) engaged SSA to develop and implement a major redesign of the State’s Welfare-to-Work program.
Approach
The SSA project team reviewed an independent assessment report describing the program’s operating results to gain an understanding of the existing program’s processes. The team also interviewed DCFS staff members and conducted national best practices research on similar programs to identify possible operating improvements. With this insight, SSA designed an improved workflow process and developed the necessary materials and tools required to support it. To introduce the program redesign to staff members, SSA developed and delivered a change management training program and provided coaching and consultation to state-level and regional-level leadership throughout the program’s implementation.
Impact
Upon completion of the program’s implementation DCFS’ program caseload decreased by 33 percent. Moreover, participating adults fully engaged in work activities increased from 34 percent to 48 percent and the number of clients placed in basic education activities nearly tripled.

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