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Business Process Improvement in the Economic Programs Directorate at the U.S. Census Bureau Deborah M. Stempowski Shirin A. Ahmed U.S. Census Bureau ICES.

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Presentation on theme: "Business Process Improvement in the Economic Programs Directorate at the U.S. Census Bureau Deborah M. Stempowski Shirin A. Ahmed U.S. Census Bureau ICES."— Presentation transcript:

1 Business Process Improvement in the Economic Programs Directorate at the U.S. Census Bureau Deborah M. Stempowski Shirin A. Ahmed U.S. Census Bureau ICES III June 2007

2 2 Agenda Background Identifying Opportunities Business Cases for Top Ideas Other Improvement Ideas Future Steps for Process Improvement

3 3 Background Economic Programs Directorate measures the economy through Censuses every 5 years, 100 current economic and government programs, Foreign Trade Statistics. In 1994, Economic Planning and Coordination Division (EPCD) formed to focus on corporate planning and implementation of key processes.

4 4 Background Over the next decade, significant progress was made on corporate generalization and standardization. Standard Economic Processing System (StEPS) Business Register Modernization Economic Census Metadata-Driven Instrument Design New Analyst Tools

5 5 Formation of BPIT Team New Strategic Plan / Business Process Improvement Team Formed Major Process Areas –Program management –Content planning and approval –Sample design, selection, maintenance –Data collection, follow-up, capture –Respondent assistance –Editing and tabulation –Data review and correction –Data dissemination and outreach

6 6 Identifying Opportunities Team solicited ideas that would produce cost savings. 240 ideas were received Ranking system was developed: –(1) Ideas to consider –(2) Off the table (out of scope) –(3) Easy to implement or survey specific –(4) Things already in progress –(5) Nice idea but not process improvement

7 7 Identifying Opportunities 60 ideas were classified Ideas to Consider Team further reduced the list to 25 and ranked those by: –Benefits other than costs –Cost savings –Implementation Effort / Cost

8 8 Top 5 Ideas Automated Workflow and Electronic Tracking System Standardization and Generalization of Current Survey Data Collections Economic Directorate Analyst Toolkit Improvement in Data Editing Procedures Improvement in BR Maintenance

9 9 Automated Workflow and Electronic Tracking System Would support all processing steps for the 2007 Economic Census at the National Processing Center. Over seven million records are processed and one million are referred for additional review. Benefits would include the elimination of paper, early identification of bottlenecks and real time information for managers.

10 10 Automated Workflow and Electronic Tracking System Group evaluated costs, benefits, and risks of the existing system an automated system. Two packages were evaluated: Oracle and Feith. Based on cost, the group did not recommend implementation. To take full advantage, the processes would have to be re-engineered and that was out of scope for 2007 / To be considered for 2012

11 11 Standardization and Generalization of Current Survey Data Collections Would provide for the development of a generalized data collection system for current surveys. Standardize letters Generalizing mailings and follow ups to eliminate duplication Using more electronic reporting Adopting a company centric approach

12 12 Standardization and Generalization of Current Survey Data Collections In fiscal year 2004, directorate spent over $9 million for data collection for 18 key programs. Cost savings associated with the implementation of several recommendations would be approximately $1.6 million.

13 13 Standardization and Generalization of Current Survey Data Collections Development of a business portal that would provide a one stop service center Would be an extension of our Business Help Site (BHS). Standardizing and generalizing mailouts. First steps are: –Automation of the company reporting calendar –Secure messaging

14 14 Economic Directorate Analytical Toolkit Next generation of analyst tools. Common look and feel based on a similar conceptual design. Tools would use common data sets that reside in one place to facilitate easier review and corrections. Common tools could be developed for use with the census and current surveys.

15 15 Economic Directorate Analytical Toolkit Team evaluated how analysts were spending their time using a survey. Cost algorithm using average salaries was developed. Directorate spending nearly $30 million annually on analysis. 350 analysts were spending 60% so a small gain in efficiency could produce substantial savings.

16 16 Economic Directorate Analytical Toolkit Senior managers approved a technical evaluation. Focused on single sign on, displaying data from multiple sources and passing identification and data between multiple sources. Team developed a proposal over 6 months Due to the current budget situation, the project did not proceed. Conducted exhaustive evaluation of StEPS.

17 17 Improvement in Data Editing Procedures Focused on improving efficiency by defining measures for editing, investigating alternatives, reducing low value edits and trying to reduce the number of failures to be reviewed manually. Team assessed current practices and developed 7 recommendations.

18 18 Improvement in Data Editing Procedures Management endorsed the recommendation to share knowledge about editing. Management also requested that 5 pilot studies be done to evaluate the efficiency of the edits for those programs. Studies recently completed / results under review

19 19 Improvement in Register Maintenance Procedures Purpose is to keep the BR up to date with information from the current surveys and administrative records sources. First part is to set up a continuous information flow so organizational changes are updated. Second part will to identify additional administrative data to improve coverage and relevancy. Research started on a small scale / no concrete results as yet for business case.

20 20 BPIT Easy Ideas On-line use of calendaring software. Use of more project management tools.

21 21 Reforming BPIT Team reformed in Late 2006 Lessons learned from Phase I showed ideas successful at implementation: –Ideas needed to be doable –Resources for an idea needed to be squeezed into current resource duties –The process for improvement and the results needed to be measurable.

22 22 Approach for BPIT Phase II Review original list of 240 under new criteria Ask staff for further ideas Review and select top ideas through facilitated discussions

23 23 Top 5 Ideas for BPIT Phase II Provide an effective document management system Improve web-based reporting for current surveys by evaluating Census Taker Publicize and increase awareness of the business help site Inventory analysts review practices, develop checklists and ensure review procedures / MIS are in place Establish a document series to reflect key policy and strategic decisions

24 24 Thank You Questions?


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