Addleshaws to cut costs with process-mapping initiative

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  • As a consultant specialising in implementing continuous improvement programmes in the justice sector, I wholly endorse the approach taken by Addleshaw Goddard to identify improved working methods. The issues faced by legal firms in today’s economic environment mean that for many firms “do nothing” is not an option.
    It is clear from the comments in the article of 20 June that Addleshaws have embraced continuous improvement wholeheartedly in the way that they are involving their clients and staff in the improvement activities.

    The picture of huge teams of paralegals may seem daunting to smaller firms, but as high volume repetitive processes lend themselves more readily to standardisation this area of work would have been a logical starting point for Addleshaws’ improvement programme.

    It should not be assumed however that the solutions arrived at by Addleshaws can simply be copied and applied in all other firms. The tools and techniques of continuous improvement can be applied to any business large or small, public sector or private but the solutions have to be designed and owned by each individual business.

    When working with any organisation we help them to understand what the customer values about the service they provide and use mapping techniques to make it easier to see which steps in the process add to that value.

    In a service environment it is important to understand and analyse the regular contact and enquiries received from clients which will highlight where there may be problems within the processes. Centralisation of services or new IT systems if implemented solely for the purpose of cost reductions without first fixing the process can actually increase the problems, as the team spends more and more time fire-fighting to meet deadlines or deal with customer complaints. The media is littered with high profile examples from the public sector to illustrate this point.

    AT OES Ltd, we believe that change does not always need to be on a grand scale. You can get some big wins along the way, but small incremental changes can be just as effective in delivering improved services, increasing business capacity and lowering costs.

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