Using Business Planning to Improve Utility Performance

Prepared for the 2013 NC AWWA-WEA Annual Conference by Joe Stowe, Senior Management Consultant, McKim & Creed; J. Michael Osborne, PE, Regional Manager, McKim & Creed; George Simon, PE, PMP, Project Manager, McKim & Creed; Tom Wiedmeier and Allen Saxon, Augusta Utilities Department

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Can aligning strategic goals and objectives with vision and mission actually improve a utility’s performance and efficiency? Can you really create a sustainable organization simply by planning for it?

In this presentation, we will discuss a case study in which a large utility (200,000+ customers) embarked on a business plan with the goal of improving efficiency. The purpose of the plan was to educate utility employees so that they fully understood the operation of the organization, which would, in turn, improve productivity in day-to-day activities. By associating the utility’s vision, mission, goals, and objectives with each employee’s performance, utility leaders plan to build a foundation for an efficient, effective, and sustainable organization. A critical element of the business plan is the identification and prioritization of issues and service delivery processes, followed by development of detailed action plans with specific assignments for resolution.

This presentation will include the results of this business planning endeavor, as well as its significance within the water and wastewater industry and its possible application to other utilities of varying sizes.

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