Transforming West County Wastewater Invoicing: How Two Lean Leaders Slashed Payment Delays & Enhanced Relationships

Tiffany Archuleta, PPi, Announcements

This post is from Partners in Public Innovation and reposted with permission.

Invoicing forms a critical pillar in the financial scaffolding of any organization, acting as the principal method for billing and payments. Yet, for all its importance, invoicing processes often get mired in inefficiencies that not only delay payments but also strain vital relationships with customers and suppliers. At West County Wastewater’s (WCW) Administrative Services Department, Financial Division, such bottlenecks had become all too common, manifesting as purchaser and vendor frustrations, inconsistent invoice submission methods, and frequent errors in documentation—all contributing to significant delays in payments.

Recognizing these challenges, Maria Bagley, Finance Manager, and Sarah Williamson, Records Program Manager, embarked on a transformative journey through Partners in Public Innovation’s Lean Leaders training in Fall 2023. Their mission was clear: streamline the invoicing process to expedite vendor payments and alleviate internal and external frustrations linked to payment delays and process confusion.

Rooted in a ‘learn-by-doing’ approach, the Lean Leaders program empowers participants like Maria and Sarah to directly apply new skills to real-life problems in their workplace. This hands-on training encourages trainees to dismantle old processes and engage with stakeholders to drive meaningful, measurable improvements.

Maria and Sarah tackled the chronic issue of delayed vendor payments head-on. By diving deep into the root causes—such as the multiplicity of invoice submission methods and recurring errors in invoice documentation—they set the stage for impactful organizational change.

Read the interview here.