Operations Management

Customer Service Innovations at the Seattle Solid Waste Utility

While there was a myriad of policy decisions that plagued the Seattle Solid Waste Utility, the agency also faced mounting customer dissatisfaction from consumers and the press who were becoming more vocal about problems at the Utility. This case describes the steps the division took to streamline its customer service department, given the many changes in garbage rates and services, such as the addition of a citywide recycling program. This case shows how the customer service manager brought a new vision of customer service to a section plagued by low worker morale and poor productivity.

Cornwall County School District

This is an account of how different constituencies (educators, school board members, and local business people) viewed and influenced a decision by the Cornwall County school board to hire outside professionals to manage the school district's custodial staff. Cleanliness problems in some schools were interfering with education and had become something of a local issue because of the city's desire to attract and hold high tech business.

Change of Leadership at the Local Education Authority, A

Highly relevant to a wide range of personnel and organizational behavior courses, "A Change of Leadership at the Local Education Authority" presents a problem that relates easily to many organizations in the U.S. and abroad.

Case Processing of Welfare Assignment Collections

Taking place in a unit of a state public welfare agency, a new manager must come to terms with a growing case backlog in a confused, out of control case system. Since many social service, regulatory and check writing agencies process cases of one sort or another, the lessons and principles derived from this case can be universal. Intended to recoup payments made to welfare recipients involved in accidents with a third party reimburser, substantial repayment revenue is available if the agency appropriately focuses policy and adjusts its operations.

Integrating Housing and Social Services: Local Initiative versus Federal Mandate

This case presents a classic operating dilemma in adaptation to change. A nationally-honored local housing authority program which combined efforts of nonprofit agencies and local government is now endangered by the introduction of federal mandates. From an intergovernmental relations, strategic thinking and ethics, or housing and human services context, this case is designed to teach aspects of operations management for government and nonprofit agencies.

Improving Children and Family Services in Iowa

This three part case chronicles a philosophical and practical shift in services to children and families at the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS), and the resulting collaborative process for change across distinct human service jurisdictions. Instructors may use the Iowa experience to present a broad overview of service delivery reform, and to evaluate the policy behind the shift.

Costs and Constraints in the Arizona Inmate Medical Transport System

This is a case about state and local government, where major problems in providing medical services through a county hospital to inmates of a state prison have prompted a review of the process. Susceptible to analysis by Total Quality Management principles or by other more straightforward analysis, the case discussion allows exploration of how the local and state institutions can work better together and across their own departments to save significant time and money.

Granite City Building Inspectors

Students of public or personnel management will be challenged by this fast moving case study showing the sequential decisions made in a charged management situation. A recently appointed engineering commissioner in an urban building department is confronted with disconcerting allegations of unethical conduct by one of her supervisors. The supervisor responsible for commercial building inspections is alleged to have enlisted the aid of city employees, on "company time" for construction work on his own home, using city vehicles in the process.