The national High Court of The Netherlands was experiencing critical issues in dealing with the high number of legal cases. Official legal response times were not met and the workload for paralegal staff and judges was high. It was clear something was wrong, there was a bottleneck in the business process.
Traditional capacity planning studies, using spreadsheets, were performed but these did not ease the pain. Management struggled to get a grip on the situation and finally called on consulting firm Tranz (www.tranz.nu) for help. Tranz, located in The Netherlands, are specialists in business process management and planning (Theory of Constraints, TOC and Lean). The advisory team started by implementing a phased approach to reducing response times and workloads.
They created multidisciplinary teams of all roles working on each main process of the court. The teams consisted of judges, legal staff, and supporting staff.
Business Process Mapping
These teams mapped and discussed the process they were working in. They visualised the flow of work as a business process and ran detailed calculations to uncover processing time, observed quantity per activity, waiting times (legal response times), lead times, etc. Data was gathered from the workflow and time-studies were performed where needed. These studies revealed the bottlenecks in the High Court’s processes.
When the bottlenecks were found, the teams started studying solutions. The broad understanding of the processes in question and consensus among the team was critical in finding suitable solutions that also had the support of everyone involved.
They asked themselves- What would happen with the bottlenecks, processing times and lead times when certain tasks are combined? Or when tasks are done in parallel? What if certain decisions were pushed forward or handled by other teams? Could waiting time be accelerated if allowed by law?
As a result of this exercise, the team selected their solutions and started implementing them, leading to a decrease on workload across the organization.
The Key to Success
The consultants of Tranz (Jean-Marie Langen, Nicoline Jansen and Fred van Setten) conclude that making the High Court teams part of these in-depth calculations was crucial to a successful outcome.
Visualization of the flow, jointly studying and comparing alternatives proved to be instrumental and critical in finding solutions. The best solutions were found by giving complete insight and empowerment to influence the flow and work planning beyond their own task.
Tranz consultants shared this case with Engage Process indicating that the abilities of the Engage Process Platform to visualize processes and running in depth calculations were critical enablers for their work in this project.