The Thomas County fleet maintenance team was recognized at the Dec. 10 Thomas County Commission meeting as the first county quality improvement team to document all major processes in their department.
Documentation involves describing step by step, with text and flow charts, the functions of each process. The process document then becomes a baseline for ongoing quality improvement of department operations. It can also be used to better inform citizens and commissioners about the workings of county departments, as well as a training guide for new employees.
The Fleet Maintenance Department is responsible for the repair and maintenance of all county vehicles and equipment, including ambulances, motor graders, fire trucks, asphalt spreaders, deputy patrol cars, excavators, dump trucks and transit buses and many others.
In total, the department is responsible for a fleet of 248 cars and trucks, and 43 heavy equipment units. Among the processes necessary to fulfill this mission are repair orders, parts inventory, fabrication and after hours (on call). There are seven employees in the Fleet Maintenance Department headed by Superintendent Donnie Baggett.
Thomas County government is committed to implementing a new management method. The objective of the new management method is to continuously improve customer satisfaction and employee pride in workmanship. Customer service will be improved by objectively determining exactly what products customers want from county government.
Employees work satisfaction will be enhanced by improving the quality of inputs to the county government system. These five categories of inputs are personnel, buildings, vehicles, equipment and materials. The county’s new management method is derived from the principles of renowned quality improvement pioneer, W. Edwards Deming.
The new management method was initiated in May 2009 and consists of three phases, which are employee orientation, information gathering and implementation. Process documentation is a fundamental component of the information gathering phase along with customer and employee satisfaction surveys.
Implementation in individual departments is targeted to begin May 2014. County Manager Mike Stephenson said, “Implementation has not proceeded as fast as some expected by my goal is that whatever progress we make is substantive and durable.”