Case Study 3 – Centralised Undertakings Register
This third Lean project was identified by a team member. It related to Centralised Undertakings Register. By way of background, an undertaking is a trust that professionals are bound to honour. It is:
- An unequivocal declaration of intention.
- Addressed to someone who reasonably places reliance on it.
- Made by a solicitor or member of a solicitor’s staff in the course of practice.
- Whereby he or she becomes personally bound.
Most importantly, it is a professional promise, offered as security for the performance of a particular act required in a legal action that binds the solicitor and the firm until discharged. In addition, the Law Society of Ireland have strict guidelines about undertakings.
This employee saw an opportunity to make improvements regarding their Undertakings as the process was seen to be:
- Very manual.
- The risk of human error was substantial.
- There was significant information lag due to time-delay.
- Not user-friendly.
The aim was to introduce a standardised, automated register that is accurate and promotes better risk management. Furthermore, this employee identified that this could be rolled out to all case types, for example, Wills Register and Deeds Register.
8-Step Problem-Solving Process
In trying to solve a particular problem, we advise using the 8-Step Problem-Solving Process:
- Current State
- Root Cause Analysis
- Select Countermeasures
- Standardisation & Learnings
We worked with Tracey Solicitors to set up a Kaizen Event. A Kaizen event is a team brainstorming workshop. It has a specific goal for improving a business process and minimising waste within a department or company. Through “silent sharing”, we encourage all participants to think, reflect and share their ideas on post-it notes.
Then, we put all these ideas on an Impact/Ease Chart to assess the potential impact or benefits they will have on the company. The result is a visual representation of where best to assign time and resources. We don’t discard any issues as their assessment may change over time as other problems are resolved. Therefore, we can summarise four activities as follows:
- Just Do It – these ideas have high impact and are easy to do now.
- Why Not? – these issues have low impact and are easy to address.
- Projects – ideas that have high impact but are difficult to address.
- Not Now – issues that have low impact and are also difficult to address.
- Automated Maintenance – the firm automated the generation and running of workflow reminders.
- Dashboard – then, they set up a dashboard to show each Solicitor’s outstanding undertakings.
- Risk Management – finally, they added all the undertakings to the weekly Risk Report.
As a result of this employee’s project, Tracey Solicitors has reduced the time for the entire process by 97.3%.
- Taking ownership drives change.
- Enthusiasm works best.
- Team involvement is key.
- It’s better to be open-minded.
- Have a plan AND stick to it – tomorrow is another day!
We firmly believe that the expertise to develop business process improvements already exist in every organisation. This has clearly been the case in Tracey Solicitors. Through their employees’ Lean projects, the company has made significant continuous improvements to their business.
ETAC has worked with Tracey Solicitors to streamline their business and improve their processes. We hope you enjoyed reading about this case study on Centralised Undertakings Register. You may be interested in reading the two other case studies featured here Case Study 1 – Will Generator and Case Study 2 – Preparing Files for Hearing. All our case studies are available here.