State employees have set out to do what some say is likely impossible: create a pleasant MVD experience. At some Tucson offices they may be on the right track.
New figures show a slight change in operating hours has reduced wait times by roughly 20 minutes on average and resulted in cost savings for the state.
In June, MVD offices began opening at 7:30 a.m. allowing customers to come in before work, and creating different staffing options for Manager Tim O’Sullivan, a 10 year MVD employee.
“This way they can get in and get it done before they go to work so they can get on with their day, too,” explained Tim O’Sullivan, who has worked for MVD offices for ten years.
He says, now some employees work four 10-hour shifts which means service windows are consistently staffed throughout the day. The state has also installed electronic kiosks where people can complete simple transactions such as license or registration renewal.
“The kiosks have been a big help because there are so many transactions that you're able to do on the kiosk we also have one that takes cash that is new in the last two months,” O’Sullivan says more than 100 people use the kiosks daily, about one quarter of the total people who visit the location.
People who need to complete a road test can now schedule appointments 30 days in advance, eliminating the need to show up early and wait for an opening.
Sullivan says the new processes have reduced wait times to the point where staff removed the take-a-ticket system that has been in place at MVD offices for years. Neither of the offices’ two large waiting areas have the rows of hard plastic chairs they once did. Now, customers stand in one of four lines.
“Sometimes you'd come in looking at that display wondering when is my number going to get called, this way they see where they're at, know where they're at in the process,” O’Sullivan said the customers are divided amongst clerks who handle cases based on how complex they are.
A large white board in a backroom shows information tracking average wait times down to the second.
“Our goal is to be at 37 minutes or less for average experience time, and yesterday we were at 16 minutes for total average experience time. So, that's awesome.”
Employees are asked to come up with one way to improve the work flow each month, O’Sullivan says it helps improve the process and keeps employees engaged and morale positive.
He says it’s a management style borrowed from the private sector, “A lot of this stuff came from some of the Japanese auto companies, I believe it was Toyota they showed us a video on how they streamline their assembly plants and things like that.”
ADOT spokesman Doug Nick says the state saw almost immediate improvement at locations where it implemented these changes, “When we're looking at overall for the urban offices, which are the busiest ones, in calendar year 2016 the wait time was reduced by a little over 20 minutes,” he explained. “So we're doing everything we can and we're encouraged to see people have to spend less time in here and have more time to themselves.”
Customer Joan Dai said she was surprised by how quickly she was able finisher her business at the MVD location near Pantano and 22nd Street. “Definitely. After coming from Las Vegas where the lines are tremendous. Being that imp disabled I was able to get a little faster, but this was great.”
Antonio Dorame, a Tucson resident, used the kiosk to get registration, “It is easy to use,” he said.