Ellen Perlman was a GOVERNING staff writer and technology columnist.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Half the people in Tennessee's motor vehicle offices don't need to be there. They could be getting their services online. Tennessee learned this by getting research assistance from its native logistics expert: Federal Express.
For five months, FedEx observers went into driver's license stations across the state, asked managers questions and did exit surveys. They found stations above occupancy levels and in need of ways to manage overcrowding.
The report, released in February, had 39 recommendations. One dealt with what to do with customers who arrived an hour and a half before the station opened, thus creating backups that lasted all day long. To reduce wait times, FedEx recommended that stations open earlier, ensure that all station staffing is available to serve the early arrivals and stagger employee breaks and lunch schedules to keep staffing levels high.
One of the major findings was that 50 percent of the transactions taking place in person could have been done by phone or online and that 78 percent of those who were willing to use the Internet didn't realize they could. "It's an education issue," says Melissa McDonald, a spokeswoman with the state's driver's license division.
Tennessee has begun implementing 14 of the recommendations--filling vacant positions, distributing brochures that describe alternative ways of doing business and installing self-service kiosks in 26 stations.
The study also recommended that examiners be given incentives to increase the number and quality of transactions completed per hour, and that stations institute appointments for services that can be done only in person. The total implementation cost for 14 recommendations: $307,500.
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