PCH shows other housing associations what it does
Published by Louise Manico for Plymouth Community Homes in Housing and also in Education
Sue Shaw, Director of Homes and Neighbourhoods
This week PCH staff have been at the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) 2014 conference (South West), a flagship housing event held annually in Torquay.
We were delighted to be invited to speak at the event and also to promote our work, as the CIH are the independent voice for housing and a home of professional standards.
Sue Shaw, Director of Homes and Neighbourhoods (pictured), gave an example of best practice, speaking about our use of the LEAN model when dealing with empty properties. LEAN is a process that originated from manufacturing, the idea being to maximize customer value while minimizing waste.
At PCH, with help from The Lean Partnership, we applied the process to homes that were between tenancies, feeling there were time savings we could make to benefit both the tenants and the organisation.
The results were that we reduced the number of empty properties from 200 to 70, were getting 21 new empty homes a week instead of 16 and had cut our repair and allocation times by half. Over a year, continuing at this rate will mean we’ll work more efficiently to provide homes for people more quickly.
We also took the opportunity to highlight our work as a social enterprise to the large audience of up to 550, which included chief executives, directors, managers and operational staff.
Mark Dibbens, Head of Manufacturing, made himself available to talk about our new venture into commercial sales. Traditionally our factories (Joinery, Metal Fabrication, SignShop and Window) have supplied products for all the social housing in our care. Now that our major refurbishment works are nearly complete, we’re branching out to sell to the public. Any surpluses we make are invested back in the community.
Sue Shaw said: “We are delighted to be invited to share our very positive experience of "LEAN" with housing colleagues. The CIOH Torquay event is always such a great way to share and discuss interesting findings and directions with our friends in the South West. We always return from Torquay with new ideas and insights, and we hope that any of our peers who are interested in LEAN can come and hear about it from our real and recent experience. The LEAN process has had a real impact on us and the way we work together, with significant savings in time, people hours and costs allowing us to provide a much more efficient and effective void turnaround service. Vitally, this has included higher customer satisfaction, and we are also maintaining our high levels of tenancy sustainment against what we all know is a very challenging time for our residents.
“As a relatively young housing association, we have benefitted from others' sharing of good practice - and it feels good to be given the opportunity at this high profile event, to give something back, by explaining our project, and to say that anyone who wants to know more can contact me and come and see our LEAN voids work in action."