Lean management set to improve S.Africa's service delivery nightmares


According to the Norman Faull, a University of Cape Town academic and advisor to the presidency, the task of addressing service delivery was enormous but there were some encouraging signs.

(READ MORE: S.Africa works towards better public service delivery)

“What is encouraging is that the steering committee is being set up within the presidency. This committee to be called ‘operations support’ has commenced recruiting the initial cadre of facilities,” said Faull also founder of Lean Institute Africa told CNBC Africa.


“I am really encouraged by the people I am working with, the quality of thinking they brought into this and their experience of improving things working through processes.”

Faull stressed that the challenges of service delivery in South Africa were enormous noting that there were tens of thousands of service delivery points in the country.  

“Lean management is about delivering value to customers and understanding the processes that are used in the delivery process consequently improving the value proposition,” said Faull.  

The Lean management process also regarded as a production practice that considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful.

This processn also targets elimination of unnecessary expenditure.

Faull studied the Toyota production system (TPS) and initially replicated it in the manufacturing and mining sectors.

The TPS organises manufacturing and logistics for the automobile manufacturer, including interaction with suppliers and customers.

“I became aware about 15 years ago that the TPS was being applied in healthcare so 11 years ago I began trying it in the public sector environments service delivery issues in this country,” he said.

“We have had experience with the big hospital in Gauteng where in one week we reduced waiting time for outpatients to two hours down from five hours,” added Faull.

Faull noted that the plan was designed to give impact in the short term and able to be scaled up across the system and be sustainable by recruiting facilities.

Commenting of the size of samples conducted, he said the approach was to implement the process cumulatively.