Department of Health (DH)
In line with the departmental Customer Service Improvement vision of "We are committed to providing quality client-oriented service" and as a first step to transform the Pharmaceutical Service (PS) into a more client-focused and people-oriented organisation, a Strategic Management Workshop was conducted for the directorate staff and PS management in October 1998 to develop a set of core values and strategies.
Subsequent to the Workshop, a VMV statement was refined and a 3-year master plan was drawn up. The plan comprised the necessary strategies and corresponding action for addressing strategic issues in the PS like streamlining work processes, improving resource planning and building effective managerial leadership to lead changes. With a phased approach, the master plan was formally launched in March 1999.
During the first 12 months, the master plan focused on strategic priorities determining the PS's future growth potential and service capability while individual strategies with lower priorities were implemented in subsequent phase.
In January 1999, a quality improvement team was formed with members from the professional, dispensing and general grades. A series of workshops on service quality training and process analysis were conducted to explore the streamlining of work processes to improve resource efficiency and customer service. After the workshops, the team generally concluded that there were inadequacies in the current processes -
To improve cost effectiveness and establish a closer link with customers, a number of improvement measures were implemented -
In order to establish a core team of staff who would become committed human resources mangers for developing proper programs to upgrade staff quality, 10 senior staff members of the PS including Senior Pharmacists and Chief Dispensers attended a departmental workshop on HRM in May 1999. The participants have in turn performed the role of facilitators to train Pharmacists and Senior Dispensers since November 1999, thereby cascading the general concept and message on HRM effectively to improve customer service to safeguard public health.
Through the study and recommendations made by the quality improvement team, the senior professionals were responsible for initiating quality improvement measures in their own sections with due reference to raising the standard of customer service. The staff at all levels have been committed to service improvement and made practical recommendations. Team spirit has improved and managers took on the responsibility for the development of the Pharmaceutical Service.
Intellectual Property Department (IPD)
In 1994, owing to the significant increase in the number of applications for Trade Mark Registration (TMR), IPD found that their pledge of issuing 70% of the examination reports within 13 months for TMR could not be met. The department therefore embarked on a Service Quality Improvement Project between July and November 1994 to improve the performance of TMR.
The objectives of the project were to improve the level of performance over time without additional resources, to ensure that the performance targets were delivered reliably and consistently and to develop a customer oriented and quality service culture in the department.
The department kept staff informed of the progress of the project and provided them with channels for feedback throughout the implementation.
2. Enabling infrastructure
A three-tier enabling infrastructure was set up namely a Steering Committee consisting of top management to lead the project; a Working Party of senior managers to provide management support and six Quality Improvement Teams (QITs) at operational level to identify issues and develop solutions.
Workflow analysis, formal and informal interviews at all levels and a departmental-wide staff survey were conducted.
4. Engaging staff
Service quality training was provided to all members of the Steering Committee, Working Group and QITs. The QIT members worked on the project to generate suggestions on service quality improvement while the team leaders were engaged in drawing up implementation plans. The Working Group provided management support throughout the exercise.
5. Findings and recommendations
The QITs presented the findings and recommendations to the Steering Group in October 1994. Staff participated in the process were later deployed to implement the recommendations. The changes were well received by staff and there was a strong desire to execute the changes.
The majority of the recommendations were implemented and some desired results achieved within a year. The major accomplishments included:
The TMR performance after the implementation of the project was well above the performance standard pledged which was revised upwards in 1997 to 70% of the cases to be completed in 11 months.
Service Quality Enhancement