Increasing Electrician Wrench Time at UC Davis

UC Davis wanted to increase “available wrench time” by decreasing the time trades professionals need to spend on tasks that are not directly related to their trade. Wrench Time is the time a tradesperson spends performing their value-added work.

Hampton Sublett, Director of Strategic Solutions at UC Davis, and his process improvement team set out to increase electricians wrench time by 5%.

By utilizing Lean Six Sigma tools, the team uncovered some issues with their processes:

  • Parts were being stored in multiple locations for a single order
  • There were far too many steps in the process “From Budget Approval to Job Site Start Date”
  • 65% of trips took 5 minutes or less
  • There were about 15 minutes from each day that were non-value added time

Lean Six Sigma Tools Used: Data Collection Plan, Histogram, Spaghetti Map, Fishbone Diagram, Pareto Chart, Root Cause Hypotheses, Histogram, Spaghetti Map, SIPOC, Swimlane Map, Solution Selection Matrix, Implementing Improvements, Project Closure, Executive Summary

The solutions they moved forward with included:

  • Utilize “Location 3” warehouse staff to deliver electrical parts to Electrician’s Shop
  • Project Manager places orders for Non-stock and Stock parts, thus eliminating the need for Electricians to shop for Stock parts at Location 3 warehouse

After implementing improvements, the team was able to reclaim 30 minutes of time for Electricians every day.

  • Per day per Electrician: 30 minutes
  • Per year per Electrician: 130 hours (30 mins x 260 work days)
  • 130 hours x 30 Electricians = 2,600 hours saved!

Lessons Learned:

  • Remember to stay agile during the Improve Phase, your plans may need to be adjusted once they meet with reality
  • Continuously reiterate the purpose of the project to the team through the project
  • Protect the scope of the project to ensure it remains manageable and achievable
  • Set expectations up front that the project is a team effort and that open, honest communication is vital

Watch the video above, or read the transcript at: