Case Studies

Irish Blood Transfusion Service

Maximising efficiencies in the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS)

A great challenge for companies is how to manage costs while at the same time optimising valuable staff resources. In an effort to cut costs or allocate workload appropriately, organisations may be tempted to make staff adjustments and even cuts without sufficient information on their impact – on the organisation, on the employees and on the customers.

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service wanted to optimise their resources, to maximise efficiency and to allocate the right mix of staff to their day shift and night shift. Recognising that the day shift was under considerable pressure to prepare and deliver the majority of orders – how could they manage the distribution of work more successfully?

Optimising work-load distribution

They approached StaffBalance to gain a factual understanding of exactly how workload should be distributed between the night and day teams for optimum efficiency. StaffBalance used business modelling techniques – one of the most powerful and most realistic decision-making tools available to evaluate the distribution of tasks between the teams. By re-distributing workload IBTS were able to progress changes in work practices to reduce overtime requirements in the department.

Business modelling comes into play

The first step is to determine the staffing levels were required to run their operation successfully. Business modelling was used to build a profile of how both the day shift and night shift staff spent their time. The modelling process took an entirely realistic view of the IBTS staff capacity – both day and night shift teams into account. As part of the
analysis, annual leave, sick leave, secondments and so on were stripped out. Once an authentic staff capacity level was identified, the next step was to work out the staffing time and unit cost for every process and product.

“IBTS found the StaffBalance approach to quantifying workload and its distribution excellent. The opportunities identified will lead to improved service for Irish hospitals while simultaneously improving IBTS efficiency.”
Paddy Bowler, Director of Operations,

Irish Blood Transfusion Service

Analysis revealed opportunities for the night shift team Analysis of data collected from the employees of IBTS showed that there were windows of opportunity in the allocation of work for the night shift team. While the day shift was engaged in preparing, processing and administering orders, the night shift was not allocated its fair share of tasks. Of 6,500 orders processed daily, 4,300 were fulfilled by the day shift team. Here was an opportunity for the night shift to engage more in order preparation, ready for the peak ordering times during the day.

StaffBalance established the numbers of staff required to provide 24/7 cover in the Distribution and Issue laboratory areas. It confirmed that the staffing levels were sufficient to provide cover and were sufficient for the workload. The value for the IBTS was in identifying the unequal distribution of workload between day and night shifts. StaffBalance proposed various tasks that could be more evenly distributed between the shifts.
StaffBalance identified where processes were duplicated in a much greater than expected number of distributions by analysing electronic records and date and time stamping the activities. This provided the IBTS with tasks that could be re-engineered to increase efficiency in processing orders. All orders for blood were received from hospitals by telephone. The volume of telephone orders was analysed confirming the need for an electronic ordering system to facilitate intelligent batching of standard orders. This process automation that would eventually save the IBTS a considerable amount in terms of administration and delivery costs leading to significant reduction in delivery costs.

A factual basis for task allocation

StaffBalance provided IBTS with the factual data they needed to help calibrate their resources structure. Once the Staff Capacity model was implemented, the team had greater  certainty because task allocations among the teams were now based on facts, not estimates.

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KBC Bank Case Study

About KBC Bank

KBC Bank Ireland is one of the leading providers of financial services in Ireland. Established in 1973, we are part of a major European financial services group, the KBC Group (one of the World’s Top 50 Banks), which is headquartered in Brussels.

KBC provides a broad range of business and personal banking services and we have built an enviable reputation for service excellence, innovation and customer value.

Challenge
KBC Bank approached Staff Balance to help determine support structures for its business volumes. They wanted us to help them to improve productivity, efficiency and to identify and reduce any imbalance in the workload across teams.

Approach
Staff Balance carried out analysis to develop a staffing capacity model of the operation. This provided the facts required to determine where staff spent their time and at what cost. We also provided detail on benchmarking across the teams to track KPIs. The management team at KBC Bank were trained on the capacity model / MIS reports to help them to improve the operational efficiencies of the team.

Benefits
Significant benefits achieved by KBC bank included:

  • Greater certainty of required staffing levels
  • Development of KPI’s for Executive Directors
  • Benchmarking across teams
  • Improved Staff morale – balancing of workload across teams
  • Ability to focus on strategic business projects
  • Better investment in staff training

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Bord Gais Case Study

Updated 11 April, 2011 – Joe Walsh talks about Staff Balance Sales Team Optimisation Benefits


When Bord Gais introduced its electricity to the Irish residential market in February 2009, the company grew its client base by 300,000. When they became concerned that such growth could have an adverse impact on profitability, they called in the expertise of StaffBalance.

StaffBalance helps companies to drive profitability, manage costs and improve operational efficiency using simulation modelling techniques. To date, the team has helped companies save over €1,500,000 in costs.

Using simulation software, designed by founder Ciaran McGowan, the StaffBalance team modelled the Bord Gais business. The aim was to determine ‘right size’ teams in order to meet business objectives, to prioritise workloads in order to maximise customer service, and to seek out opportunities to improve operational efficiency. Bord Gais is an organisation that prides itself on exemplary customer service at a competitive price, so the StaffBalance forensic evaluation of their business model was vital.

“Our collaboration with StaffBalance resulted in cost savings of over €400,000,” said Joe Walsh, Head of Sales with Bord Gais. “We were able to pin-point costs associated with non-core activities using the simulation modelling technique. That led to us changing our processes, automating certain activities and reallocating non-sales activities to ensure that our sales teams could maximise their time with customers. We also implemented a save team, which has led to significant reduction in our customer churn.”

The success of this initial project led Bord Gais to award StaffBalance a contract to build simulation models to calculate the cost to acquire, serve and retain customers and to identify the true profitability of customer and product segments. This project is currently in progress and the team is already identifying quick wins as well as longer-term strategic opportunities that will fuel an even greater competitive edge for Bord Gais.

This further forensic investigation allowed Bord Gais to understand exactly how its valuable resources were spent – performing non-customer activity, acquiring customers and servicing existing customers.

“Understanding your cost-to-serve and cost-to-acquire customers is tremendously powerful,” says Fiona Flynn, sales director with StaffBalance. “It allows you to price your product or service more flexibly, to put your best resources into your most profitable segments and to be highly competitive in the market. Bord Gais is a compelling illustration of how simulation modelling can lead to solid growth and profitability.”

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