Business Process Improvement
Operational Excellence (OpEx) is Baltimore County’s business process improvement initiative. Part of the Office of Information Technology (OIT), the OpEx team works with agencies, departments, offices and programs across the County to identify current operations, recommend alternative practices to improve services, and implement sustainable changes.
OpEx methodology utilizes a People, Process, Policy, Technology
framework to structure and analyze project work.
OpEx serves the County in three ways:
- Proactively partnering with departments to improve efficiency and effectiveness through changes in behavior, policies, process or technology
- Reactively undertaking reviews and assessments to meet core objectives
- Supporting County programs, departments and offices for continuous process improvement, including training, development and project-based engagement
OpEx is currently engaged in 14 projects across seven departments:
- Budget and Finance
- Economic and Workforce Development
- Health and Human Services
- Information Technology
- Public Works
- Recreation and Parks
- Sheriff's Office
Department of Social Services
The most significant project undertaken by OpEx to date was to develop the Strategically Handle Applications and Process Efficiently (SHAPE) process for the Department of Social Services (DSS) Family Investment Administration. SHAPE streamlined the application and eligibility process for DSS, by reorganizing a manual workflow to achieve efficiencies and increase productivity at DSS offices while using existing available resources.
After SHAPE implementation:
- Average DSS application completion times improved by 70 percent, from 7.8 days to 2.3 days
- Redetermination times improved by 65 percent, from 9.8 days to 3.4 days
This significant improvement in completion times not only results in higher customer satisfaction, but indicates less time in which cases are in progress or backlogged – exceeding the state’s 96 percent compliance rate.
Baltimore County Police
OpEx partnered with the Baltimore County Police Department on an evaluation of workload versus staffing levels; and partnered with the OIT's electronic services unit to analyze workload and realign non-emergency services from a walk-in to a scheduled basis. This work identified specific efficiency improvements that represent an annual operational savings of $360,000.
OpEx completed a project with the Workers Compensation Department to develop policy, processes and technology recommendations – particularly involving the timely transfer of completed case files to the law office. The standards of work, technical modifications and processes resulting from this project improved both the quality of product and operational efficiencies among all parties.
- Building on the “lessons learned” from the SHAPE project, SHAPE II will centralize certain administrative functions throughout Health and Human Services, such as the client interface through phone, Web, email and fax, and explore other cross-functional approvals and consolidations to improve customer service and program productivity.
- Conduct a Business Process Analysis (BPA) for Recreation and Parks to realize efficiencies from a standardized scheduling system with other county stakeholders.
- Perform evaluation, workflow analysis, and streamlining of process for Liabilities Claims Management to improve customer service and documented follow-up.
- Conduct a Business Process Analysis for Animal Services to operationalize transition to new facility.
- Perform a process evaluation and workload analysis for construction inspection system for Public Works.