What is the maximum number of applicants per hour who can be handled by the process as it is currently designed?

State Automobile License Renewals Henry Croupe, the manager of a Boston-area branch of the Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles, attempted to perform an analysis of the driver’s license renewal process. Several tasks had to be performed in the process. He identified the tasks and associated times required to perform each task, as shown below in Exhibit 1.

Croupe found that each task was assigned to a different employee in the office. Each application was completed step by step in the sequence shown in Exhibit 1. He decided that his office should be able to service the maximum customer demand, which was 120 renewal applicants per hour.

Exhibit 1

State Automobile License Renewal Process Task Times

Step Average Time to Perform (seconds)

1. Review renewal 15

2. Process, record payment 30

3. Check for violations 60

4. Conduct eye test 40

5. Photograph applicant 20

6. Issue temporary license 30

Croupe saw that the work was unevenly divided among the clerks, and that the clerk who was responsible for checking violations tended to take shortcuts in order to keep up with the others. Long lines built up during the periods of highest volume in customer demand.

Coupe also noticed that Tasks 1, 2, 3, and 4 were handled by general clerks who were each paid $18.00 per hour (including benefits). Task 5 could only be done by a photographer, who cost the department $24.00 per hour (including benefits). Massachusetts state law required that Task 6 be handled completely by a uniformed Motor Vehicles officer, who was paid $27.00 per hour (including benefits). These officers could be assigned to any other task except Task 5, “Photograph Applicant”.

Croupe’s review of the jobs showed him that Task 1 had to be completed before any other tasks could be started. Similarly, Task 6 could not be started until every other task had been completed.

The branch office was charged an additional $30 per hour for each camera.

Henry Croupe was under severe pressure to increase productivity and reduce costs, but he was also told by his regional director of the Department of Motor Vehicles that he had better accommodate the demand for renewals. Otherwise, “heads would roll.”

Questions:

1. What is the maximum number of applicants per hour who can be handled by the process as it is currently designed?

2. How many applicants can be processed per hour if a second clerk is added to check for violations?

3. Assuming that after adding a second clerk for checking violations, a third clerk could be added to any of the tasks that clerks may do. What is the maximum number of applicants that the office could handle if a third clerk were added?

4. How would you suggest re-designing the process flow in order to accommodate 120 applicants per hour?

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