DART measures customer satisfaction
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has incorporated customer satisfaction into the procurement department’s performance “dashboard.” On the one-page dashboard summary, a chart displays the overall satisfaction ratings of the department’s customers taken biannually over the last year and a half. “The department just wanted to see what the customers thought about our performance,” says Connie Arrington, a contract analyst in the department.
The procurement department dashboard includes both workload and effectiveness measures. It reports total purchase orders, orders from stock (inventory), the number of open purchase orders, total numbers and dollar amounts of contract awards, average processing times in various categories and numbers of invitations for bids and requests for proposal broken down between commodities and services, and construction and professional services. Jason Edds, the department’s procurement information systems analyst, derived the dashboard data from existing IT systems using reporting tools like Crystal Reports.
The Procurement Customer Satisfaction chart reports satisfaction based on four categories: no response, dissatisfied, somewhat satisfied and very satisfied. This data is collected online using a 12-question survey, with responses recorded directly into a database. DART’s IT department helped to design the survey system. The online feature has helped promote responses; the department typically gets between 30 and 50 responses.
The survey captures both open-ended responses and quantifiable responses for dashboard analysis. Open-ended questions cover how respondents think the procurement process could be improved and how procurement could further streamline the procurement process to make it more efficient.
The closed-ended questions include satisfaction feedback about the procurement department’s time to process purchase requisitions; ability to clearly communicate during the procurement process; timeliness of response regarding contract-related issues; and ability to meet the customer’s objectives. The questions are divided between contracts and purchase orders to reflect how the department’s procurement work groups are organized.
The single dashboard presentation of “customer satisfaction” is calculated by averaging the responses. The survey, however, also permits the management team to gain more discrete, valuable information.
Initiated by the procurement department, the dashboard has been used to brief other DART senior management. Improvements are already under way. A second dashboard report to measure solicitation development times and milestones has also been created and is in use. Data collection and reporting will be further automated by a business intelligence software module to be implemented in conjunction with a new procurement software suite DART recently purchased.
“People take the time to fill out the surveys, and they want to know the results,” says Arrington. “Share the results!”
“You have to be honest about how you present the data; the truth must be told,” adds Edds.