Achieving financial equilibrium of water and wastewater utilities is not only an objective for the latter, but also for water and sanitation administrations and financial institutions because it guarantees their autonomy and sustainability of services in the long run. Financial equilibrium is achieved through a rigorous management that requires specific skills, which LYSA, a specialist in operational management of water and wastewater services, can provide to operating utilities.
Commercial and technical improvement plans
The initial step corresponds to a pragmatic diagnosis of the utility which leads to the proposal of an improvement action plan. The main objectives set, to increase efficiency, are service improvement and economic profitability of the operation. The diagnosis will thus allow to share the analysis of the different processes, in particular the ones that are customer-related such as service contracting, billing and collection which are key to improve the company’s revenues.
Following the diagnosis, the utility’s executives shall be involved in the designing of the action plan and its schedule, in the quantitative definition of the objectives, in order for this action plan to become the core engine of the management process. The management appropriation phase can be supported by the strategic analysis and programming of the utility operation through which shall be evaluated its strengths and weaknesses and defined, for each key area of the service, the associated development plans for which LYSA can provide specific support:
- Customer management and corporate development
- Social engineering
- Reduction and control of Non-Revenue Water
Driving change within the organization
Seeking efficiency and profitability gives rise to a broader reconsidering of the current organization which could suffer from routine.
Driving change relies on activities that seek accountability and participation of all staff:
- a definition of each work assignment strained towards efficiency and combined with a flexible organizational functioning to allow working in project mode
- a steering committee which collectively commits itself on strategic decisions, action plans, objectives, and then implements them at its respective area of responsibility
- the translation of the corporate goals into individual ones for each team member regardless of its position, which implies sharing these goals at every level of the company and setting periodic reviews with each member of the staff
- the understanding of key performance indicators by all staff, so that each one of them is aware of its role in achieving the corporate goals, and is able to measure its progress
This approach induces capacity building and empowerment in the decision making process which must be guided and followed up within each area of the company through training and individual coaching, especially regarding executive staff.
Performance reporting and monitoring
Operational management relies on the targets set for each key performance indicator in the commercial, technical and financial areas of the utility, regrouped in a performance monitoring panel. LYSA identifies, with the executive staff’s participation, key performance indicators and targets set during the period of its assignment.
In order to allow close monitoring, easily quantifiable indicators are privileged. Periodically, during reviews between LYSA and the utility’s executives, results are analyzed, deviations interpreted, progress of action plans is objectively measured and their eventual adjustment or reorientation is decided.
The corporate objectives jointly commit the utility’s staff, LYSA and the public administration or authority, to actions which fall within their abilities and area of responsibility.
For its part, LYSA commits a substantial part of its remuneration on the results of its assignment. It is recommended that, for more symmetry, the staff’s remuneration also becomes linked to the corporate results, under a form to be specified, according to each member’s scope of action. Incentive to results is a significant condition towards improving efficiency and maximizing opportunity for success.