This month we speak with Warren Gearey, Continous Improvement (CI) Specialist at the City of Salisbury and Chair of the Continuous Improvement Network at LG Professionals, SA.
What is your work background/career path so far?
I started my career working for Fujistu Microelectronics in Manchester (UK) as a microelectronics technician being promoted into an Engineer role after further study.
After moving to Adelaide with my family in 1996 I worked for Motorola and Freescale Semiconductors for 10 years and then BAE Systems until 2015. I started in local government with Adelaide Hills Council in a Continuous Improvement Project Officer role prior to moving to the City of Salisbury in July 2016.
What motivates you? What are you most passionate about in local government?
I really enjoy helping people to do things better at work. There are so many people in local government who want to do the best they can for their residents and community. Continuous improvement provides them with the opportunity to make things better no matter how big or small the opportunity is.
It is rewarding when I work with staff on their improvement ideas especially when they reap the rewards of implementing their suggested improvements.
I am keen to raise awareness of the benefits of continuous improvement across the local government sector and hope to enable this as part of my role as the inaugural Chair of the Continuous Improvement Network.
What is the most exciting initiative that you are currently involved in at the City of Salisbury?
I am currently working on developing and implementing a continuous improvement framework to help achieve an organisational approach to all activities. By their very nature the improvements can vary hugely in scale but the benefits all add up. One example was to add a pump to the water system that fills trucks. The pump cost approximately $2,000 but provided an annual saving of nearly $77,000 per year. This also reduced the time to fill a truck from 12 minutes per fill down to 3.5 minutes per truck fill. If this is how much you can save from a small improvement just imagine what can be achieved when the scale of the improvement increases! It’s exciting to be given the opportunity to have a positive effect on employee’s day to day working environment and to continuously look for improvements, working towards a common goal.
The Continuous Improvement Network - what is it?
Generally, there is a very small number of Continuous Improvement Specialists in councils, and therefore the network is a great opportunity for like-minded professionals to come together and share experiences and knowledge with the use of CI tools and techniques.
Guided by the network values – collaboration, innovation, integrity and respect, the network undertakes continuous improvement promotion and advocacy, ensuring that there is a cross section of skills and abilities, encouraging learning off one another.
A couple of months ago, Taryn met with the network and presented the Performance Excellence Program which I feel, along with 20 South Australian Councils who are currently using the tool, is a big opportunity for local government moving forward. The comprehensive tool measures and provides councils strategic and operation insights into a range of areas such as corporate leadership, finance management through to operations and risk management. The part which excites me the most, is what organisations and cross council collaborations could look like in the future.
This network has not only helped me build strong relations with LG Professionals, SA but has provided me the opportunity to work with other local government bodies. I feel privileged and am very excited to be presenting at the LGITSA (Local Government Information Technology South Australia) conference in May to promote the existence of the Continuous Improvement Network.
Finally, how do you spend your leisure time outside of local government?
To relax, I like to walk and talk with my wife Jill, as well as putting my watercolour skills to practice since recently attending some art classes. Then there is trying to play golf with friends…
Jill and I are also in-between homes, so finding a new place to live is a priority and I’m sure that when the dust settles, my weekends will be filled with household projects.
If you would like to hear more about the Continuous Improvement Network or the work that City of Salisbury are doing, connect with Warren on LinkedIn today.