About edisto Consulting
Our mission is to make real and lasting change in your business. We work on your operations, technology and people because it takes all three to give you the results you need.
We work with utilities, cities and for profit businesses to implement new technology and to get more out of the technology you already have in place. We bring executive level thinking, deep experience across business functions and practical strategies to implement change with your employees.
- Technology Planning
- ERP Systems Selection & Implementation
- Business Processes
- Work Management Processes
- Work Order / Service Order Management Systems
- Advanced Metering
- GIS Process Management
- Business Case Development & Strategic Planning
Technology Planning and Selection
Great technology is available for every business, but deciding where to invest your money is the first step. We work with our clients to choose which problems to solve first by evaluating your goals, your customers, your operations and your employees. We guide you through the technology selection and lay out an implementation plan. Not just the purchased system, but all the operational changes and employee training required to make the investment pay off.
We also work with clients ready to capture more value from the technology they already have in place. So many opportunities are available for those ready to make a change. We move our clients from stuck to reaping the benefits of their investment.
Business & Operations Process Improvements
To make real, sustained change, you must address your operations, technology and people. It takes all three and we don’t shy away from big challenges. Our process improvement projects don’t start by rearranging the current steps. We start by identifying what your customers want and the business results you need to achieve. Then we build processes that meet these requirements and a plan that gets you from here to there.
Sometimes we make change in one big step, but more often we make changes in incremental steps that are successfully implemented with your staff. This practical, real approach builds success upon success so that the improvements are real and your staff develops a level of knowledge and confidence needed to sustain the process after we’re gone.
Give your employees better knowledge and they’ll give you better results. We tailor business training programs for our clients to make the knowledge real and relevant.
- Basic Business Finance for Non-Financial Employees
- Business Ethics
- Board Workshops
Your staff can love it too.
edisto Implements Consistent Payment and Extension Policies
Our client, a municipal Utility Company, had been operating for years under loose policies for customers requesting extra time to pay their bills. The result was a high level of carried receivables, reduced cash flow and an increase in bad debts as customers got further behind and never caught up on their obligations. The problem grew as customers learned that you could get an extension if you simply asked.
We first began our project by reviewing the Utility Company’s Terms & Conditions and quietly observing their customer service representatives as they fielded customer calls and walk-in clients. We analyzed data from their billing system to get a clear picture of historical practices and the impact to their business.
Next, we developed a clear set of “rules” that were permissible within their Terms & Conditions, and an implementation plan that included customer communication, CSR training, Management training, escalation procedures and control procedures.
As we prepared to roll out the change, the greatest concern among the CSRs would be whether the policy would be enforced by their peers and management. It was critical that our control processes monitored the extensions that were granted and verified that they fit within the rules. We also worked closely with the General Manager so that he was part of the escalation process and was committed to reviewing the accounts and supporting his employees, but also noting what types of exceptions he could make.
Once we put the policy in place, we worked with employees and they fielded calls and helped them to apply the rules in practice. We supported the supervisors and managers through escalations and customer complaints, and we monitored the results using data analysis to identify employees that needed additional training and feedback.
During the first three months, the utility had an increase in call volume as customers called back multiple times to try to get a different answer when a CSR denied their extension request. During the fourth month, the call volume dropped back as customers learned that they were not eligible and began paying their bill by the final due date to avoid a disruption in service. Customers that had been habitually 3-4 months behind in their bills go caught up and stayed current.
As for financial results, the company had a significant drop in 60+ day receivables that remains at < $100 TOTAL across the system two years after our initial change in rules. We also found that the utility could handle their routine business with fewer CSRs as customers stopped contacting the call center every month to request an extension.
edisto Maps Out the Processes
Our client had signed a contract to replace their entire enterprise system and wanted to do it right. Their executive management knew that their current ways of doing things was based on their aging systems, outdated requirements and the organizational divisions of the past. edisto went to work mapping out their business processes across their organization and identifying improvements they needed to make to reach their company goals at the conclusion of the project. The mapping work was was critical to giving them the tools they needed to communicate their requirements to the software vendor setting up the new system.
As part of the project, we wanted to provide our client not only maps of the current processes, but also a list of recommended changes they should make either immediately, as part of their conversion process, or after they got onto the new system and their staff was ready for the next change. We packaged the deliverables with the process maps of the current state, recommended changes to the process super-imposed on the map, and a tracking list to help them track their progress.
We also made recommendations on organizational changes that were needed for success of the overall enterprise project so they were prepared for success.
edisto Speeds up Work Order Process
Our electric cooperative client wanted to improve their process for installing customer line extensions. The cooperative had significant growth in their service territory from large, industrial customers and also from smaller, new members. The high demand had put a strain on their staff and they wanted to improve service for all their members, so they needed to get a handle on the problem.
The first thing we did was to identify what the members expected from the cooperative in this process, which was summarized easily to three points: How much does it cost? When will it be done? Keep me informed.
Next, we broke the types of jobs into categories based on cost of the job, then set targets for how long it should take to execute each step of the process for each category. We gathered as much information as possible out of their current system to give us a performance baseline and then started to make changes.
The first area we addressed was reducing the amount of internal processing steps that the utility did for each work order. They had installed a new finance system and document management system the year before, and we were able to take advantage of some features to revise their work flow, which quickly reduced our closing process from 6 months after completion to < 30 days.
We then set up a firm cost system for jobs under a certain cost threshold. This eliminated about 70% of the closing work for 73% of the work orders done by the cooperative. And to make sure their initial estimates stayed accurate over time, we identified control and monitoring procedures that were done by the accounting staff on a monthly basis.
Once we had a good handle on the process, we brought in technology to help the organization track their jobs better across the organization. We selected a system that could be used broadly across the cooperative that provided clear views on the job status and was well integrated with their other systems. We invested significant time training the employees on the new system and bringing cross-departmental groups into common sessions to work out how the process should flow so their staff understood every part from beginning to end.
edisto Leads Clients through Complex Enterprise Project
Our client was ready to replace their aging “green screen” based enterprise system to one that gave them opportunities to provide better tools for their consumers and a platform to support their continuous improvement programs. There were several choices on the market, but our client wanted to thoroughly evaluate their options and pick the one that met all their requirements from finance to utility billing to GIS to outage management and everything in-between. Edisto led them through a rigorous selection process and helped them negotiate the final contract and implementation schedule with the vendor. Based on our success in the selection phase of the project, our client asked us to lead them through the complex implementation of all the software modules that would touch every department and every person in the company. Nine months after the contract was signed, our client was successfully running on the new system and did not miss a single payroll, utility billing run, customer payment or vendor payment. We were able to complete the transformative project on schedule and on budget. Our client has continued to improve their operations and service to their customers because they successfully embraced the new system and their employees were committed to changing their processes based on their new system.