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Toronto Successfully Integrates Organization, Practices, and Technology in a Best Practices Implementation

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The City of Toronto Water and Wastewater Division is striving to be a frontrunner in the industry through the adoption of new technologies, operations and maintenance practices, and business-oriented organizational structures. Their vision is to become a world-class public service provider, competitive with the best in the world and fulfilling all customer expectations.

The Water Supply and Water Pollution Control Sections have established the Works Best Practices Program (WBPP), a five-year improvement program, to help the Division achieve this vision. An assessment of organization, practices, and technology identified an opportunity to reduce operations and maintenance expenditures by 36 million per year. The opportunity was reviewed, validated, and detailed by the Division to establish targets for the WBPP. In 1995, the WBPP kicked off with a program budget of 110 million.

The design of the improvement program is based on six Best Practices concepts. The City documented and analyzed their current practices and applied the Best Practices concepts to develop the new organizational design, work practices, and functional requirements for the various components of the integrated technology solution. Progress is being measured in a number of areas, including finance, environment, public health, and staff and management effectiveness. To date, cumulative cost reductions of more than 65 million (CDN) have been realized and reflected in the 2002 budget. Annual savings are expected to reach 36 million per year upon full implementation of WBPP. All Plant employees have now had training in best work practices to move the organization toward a strong sense of self-sufficiency, competitiveness, and pride. As well, control systems that will enable better control of water and wastewater quality are well into the detailed design and construction phase.

The Program's real challenge has been providing a smooth and timely integrated implementation. Successfully undertaking a major change initiative of this scale requires careful attention to the integration of the various activities associated with the key tracks. This paper will discuss how the successful integration of organization, practices, and technology was achieved by looking at Program design, project structure and schedule, and the integration philosophy. The paper will also address the various issues and challenges faced throughout implementation, as well as the next steps required to ensure ongoing success.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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