Case Studies

Reducing Lead Time

March 3, 2012
The Context

Safe-Move is the source provider of the Con29DW drainage and water search for the Yorkshire region. A drainage and water search provides information on about 20 standard questions. Safe-Move handles between 70,000 and 100,000 search requests each year, depending on the state of the region’s housing market.

The Issue

The problem in Safe-Move seemed to be the time to complete a search – with a target of 95% of searches completed within 5 days, yet a search took less than10 minutes.

The Solution

Applying the Vanguard model of Check-plan-do (a variation on Deming’s PDSA cycle) the business:

  • Redefined its purpose to focus on a simple turnaround time measure;
  • Analysed customer demand between value and failure demand and initiated projects to remove failure;
  • Used control charts to understand the capability of its processing system;
  • Used process maps to identify system conditions that caused delays in processing so triggering projects to improve work flow.
The Results

Turnaround time was dramatically reduced to less than 1 day without any significant investment in IT or recruitment more staff – see control chart. In fact the reliance on overtime and temporary staff to clear backlogs disappeared. Safe-Move achieved top position in the league table of water company search performance and because the entire workforce was involved in the improvement projects a culture of continuous improvement is driving further improvements in performance and quality.


reducing lead time