Case Study 2 – Preparing Files for Hearing
Our second case study for Tracey Solicitors concerns preparing files for Hearing. An employee saw an opportunity to make an improvement to the business.
By way of background, it was taking almost 6 hours to prepare a file before a solicitor takes a file to Court. If the case was settled, then the paper file was not used. If the case runs to a Hearing, then the file may be required. In both cases, the file is returned to the office and kept until costs are agreed. Subsequently, this employee identified this process as:
- Cost in resources (financial, labour, paper, etc)
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
First of all, we worked with Tracey Solicitors using a Kaizen Event to brainstorm for ideas. 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 these 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.
In addition, we used a Value Stream Map to see the current state of the situation. Value Stream Mapping is an essential tool in the Lean process. Most importantly, it is the flow of materials and information through a process to deliver a product or service to the customer. Value Stream Mapping is the technique used to describe how all the company’s activities work together to produce a product or service for the customer
The firm mapped the new procedure as follows:
- To start with, any important or relevant documentation should be marked brief. Then, the solicitor should email a list of letters that should be included in the file.
- Next, the Solicitor or secretary should review the file and decide what should be printed.
- Subsequently, the firm wanted to train an intern in on what should always be include in the file.
- Finally, the team reduced the file from almost 370 to just 69 documents.
- Firstly, it took one hour to prepare the file saving a potential 5 hours.
- After carrying this out on a second file, it took 1 hour and 6 mins.
- Most importantly, his has saved the company time, valuable resources and money.
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 Preparing files for Hearing. You may be interested in reading the two other case studies featured here Case Study 1 – Will Generator and Case Study 3 – Centralised Undertakings Register. All our case studies are available here.