At TECO, process improvement simply can’t be contained

Process excellence has a place at TECO Plaza, during the PEX seminar and always.

Process excellence has a place at TECO Plaza, during the PEX seminar and always.

They say there’s nothing like the power of a good idea. And at Tampa Electric, good ideas go far beyond providing you with safe, reliable power. That’s where process improvement comes in – and each day it helps us find new and better ways to serve our approximately 750,000 customers.

In fact, we’re so dedicated to the idea that other members of the community are taking notice.

That was the idea in late August as TECO Plaza hosted a meeting of the Process Excellence Network, a group of professionals from across a range of industries that all share our commitment to things like reducing waste, establishing Standard Work, identifying best practices and more.

At TECO, our Continuous Improvement team has a list of hundreds of projects completed by people across our company. Many of them help keep our employees safe and involve new and better ways to ensure that we make the best use of our time with regard to work that has the highest value to you and our organization overall. Many more ideas, likewise, are customer-focused.

In Winter Haven, for example, we found a better way to rotate our trouble crews to help ensure your power is back on faster after weather-caused outages. The same is true of our fleet trucks dedicated to streetlight repair – a new approach to organizing the equipment they carry makes us nimbler and quicker to repair malfunctioning lights. From simple things like introducing iPads to how we assess power system damage to improving how we monitor emissions at our power stations to ensure that we’re well within environmental regulations (and much more), it all adds up and plays a part in the fact that Tampa Electric residential customers’ bills remain 19 percent below the national average.

Process improvement ideas have the room's attention.

Process improvement ideas have the room’s attention.

As for the PEX meeting itself, it included a presentation by TECO Technology Analyst Audrey Cowdrick about how the company is applying Lean principles to its procurement processes.

Put it all together and it added up to a meeting with value reaching far beyond the walls of TECO Plaza.

“We were proud to have the opportunity to host a great group of people at TECO Plaza who were eager to share their insights into process improvement to help us all do more to benefit the many people who are counting on us,” said Dr. Gloria Hill, Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt with TECO’s Continuous Improvement team. “The exciting thing about process improvement is that it’s a journey with milestones along the way, but we’re never at a place where we’re finished and 100 percent positive that there’s absolutely no more room for improvement.”

Hill added, “Just when you think you’ve found the absolute perfect process, you see the lightbulb come on above someone’s head.”

At Tampa Electric, we like to imagine that lightbulb in a completely literal sense – just like how we’re always working to improve how we run in service to you.

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