WaterEUM — Effective Utility Management

Keys to Management Success -

5. Continual Improvement Management Framework

A continual improvement management framework, most frequently implemented through a complete, start-to-finish management system, plays a central role in effective utility management and is viewed as a critical management strategy to make progress in the context of the Attributes. Continual improvement management includes:

  • Conducting an honest and comprehensive self-assessment;

  • Establishing explicit performance objectives and targets;

  • Defining related operational requirements, practices, and procedures;

  • Establishing supporting roles and responsibilities;

  • Implementing measurement activities including regular evaluation through, for example, operational and procedural audits; and

  • Responding to evaluations through the use of an explicit change management process.

This "plan, do, check, act" continual improvement framework is often further supported by gap analysis, benchmarking, and best practice review to understand improvement opportunities and establish explicit service levels, guide investment and operational decisions, form the basis for ongoing measurement, and provide the ability to communicate clearly with customers and key stakeholders.

Resources:

Achieving Environmental Excellence: An Environmental Management Systems (EMS) Handbook for Wastewater Utilities
The Office of Wastewater Management at EPA, in cooperation with the Global Environment and Technology Foundation and several clean water agencies developed this Handbook to provide clean water agencies a step-by-step guide that covers all the steps necessary to put an effective environmental management system (EMS) in place. The Handbook also contains numerous examples from agencies that have already put an EMS in place along with many other examples and tips to help demystify the EMS process. Finally, the Handbook contains information on EMS costs and benefits, as well as costs associated with completing an independent 3rd party audit of the system. (171 Pages) Free Download in PDF and Appendixes (234 pages) Free Download in PDF 

An Environmental Management System (EMS) Compendium for Wastewater Utility Managers
This document provides wastewater utility managers with the "basics" of environmental management systems as well as answers to questions that will help managers understand how an EMS can benefit their utility, the expected costs of developing an EMS, and their role in helping to ensure that the EMS is successful. (August 2006) Free Download Now 

Environmental Management Systems: A Guidebook for Improving Energy and Environmental Performance in Local Governments
The Environmental Management Systems (EMS) Guidebook for Improving Energy and Environmental Performance in Local Government was prepared in order to provide a tool that would walk municipalities through the EMS implementation process with a minimum of outside support. (245 pages, 2004) FREE DOWNLOAD 

Environmental Management Systems: A Tool to Help Water Utilities Manage More Effectively
This document was developed to assist water utilities interested in developing an EMS that will support and ensure continual improvement, increase thoroughness in compliance efforts, and demonstrate environmental excellences. It summarizes the experience and advice of leading private and public water utilities that have developed or are developing an EMS and concludes that a system structured around the ISO 14001 standard provides the greatest value for most utilities. (257 pages, 2006) FREE DOWNLOAD 

Public Works Management Practices Manual & CDROM
This manual and CDROM describes the basic criteria and procedures necessary to perform as a full-service public works agency and provides the framework for the object self assessment of an agency. $$ Order Now 

Self-Assessment and Peer Review
The QualServe Self-Assessment may be purchased alone or in combination with a QualServe Peer Review. The Self-Assessment includes written guidance materials, public relations communications kit, analysis of completed surveys, preparation of the Self-Assessment Report, and consultation from QualServe staff. More Information 

The Peer Review can be done in combination with a Self-Assessment or by itself. The Peer Review can be conducted on a full, utility wide basis covering all five QualServe business systems, or it can be done as a "focused" review. This latter approach allows the utility to select the business system or collection of business categories to focus on in the review. More Information