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Forward-thinking utilities are using a number of management strategies to meet the changing landscape facing them today. Continual improvement is a necessity. Seattle Public Utilities has developed an integrated approach, combining several planning initiatives and frameworks to achieve measurable results. A Strategic Business Plan has provided an overall planning tool; asset management has given the utility new tools to drive improvement throughout the organization; and an environmental performance system has assured critical requirements and aspects are addresses, measured and monitored.

By integrating these planning frameworks, Seattle Public Utilities has not only managed to address change imperatives, meet environmental and public health commitments, and establish service levels for utility functions, but it has also reduced budgets and Capital Improvement Programs while engaging a 1400 employee workforce in a major cultural change.

This paper will describe the ingredients and recipe for the success achieved at Seattle Public Utilities. It will present several processes that have been employed within the utility that have driven needed change and which fit into the context of a plan-do-check-act, continual improvement framework. In the end, results matter; and a reduction in budgets, CIP's and life cycle costs, while improving levels of utility and environmental service, demonstrates the success of utility efforts.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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