Strategic Plan

Columbus Water Works’ Strategic Initiative

Columbus Water Works uses the strategic planning process as a management tool to help focus our efforts and energy to meet our organizational performance goals.  Our commitment to this endeavor not only ensures all members of the CWW team are working towards the same objectives, but it allows us to continuously evaluate and assess our progress in response to a volatile, uncertain, and ever-changing environment.  For CWW, the emphasis placed on strategic planning at all levels in the organization allows us to provide the highest level of quality customer service while ensuring our operational activities support our mission and vision.

The Effective Utility Management (EUM) Initiative

The Effective Utility Management (EUM) Initiative, launched in 2007, has been used by a growing number of utilities across the U.S. to improve operational performance.  EUM has been recognized by the collaborating utility organizations as the best way to promote sustainable water and wastewater systems.  CWW is an excellent example of a utility that has used the EUM initiative for reviewing and developing management strategies, goals, and objectives. Please click here for more details.

Ten Attributes of Effectively Managed Utilities

The EUM Initiative identifies Ten Attributes of Effectively Managed Water Sector Utilities which describe desired outcomes that are applicable to all water and wastewater utilities.  The Attributes provide an indication of where effectively-managed utilities focus and what they strive to achieve.  The Attributes emerged from an extensive analysis by collaborating organizations of current utility management practices and discussions with leaders in the utility industry regarding what they viewed as promising developments in utility management efforts.

Strategic Planning Pie Chart
The Ten Attributes identified by the study are:

  • Product Quality
  • Employee and Leadership Development
  • Financial Viability
  • Operational Resiliency
  • Water Resource Adequacy
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Operational Optimization
  • Infrastructure Stability
  • Community Sustainability
  • Stakeholder Understanding and Support

Columbus Water Works’ Strategic Journey

In 2008, CWW compared the Attribute concepts to its existing strategic plan and found a strong correlation.  CWW then utilized the EUM self-assessment methodology and successfully applied the Attributes concepts and tools through implementation of specific action plans.  In 2012, the strategy teams, along with members of senior leadership, conducted a follow-up assessment of strategies, goals and accomplishments to ensure continuous improvement efforts remain on track.

CWW’s strategic direction is spelled out in strategies, goals, and objectives, which are supported by tactics, actions, and responsibilities with targeted measurable performance.  Each strategy is implemented and managed by individual organized teams made up of diverse groups of CWW employees that include an equitable distribution of skills and resources.

Participation in the strategic planning initiative also embraces customers and stakeholders with periodic interviews and interactive focus groups conducted to gain input on key issues.

The planning process also involves identifying specific projects and activities which align with our operational direction, and then developing an approach to achieve specific goals.  With general guidance and support from management, strategy teams have been given the authority to implement specific actions and resolve issues, which results in the participation of strategy team leaders and staff members in effective management improvements.

SP 13-17

Click here to review CWW’s Five Year Strategic Plan FY 2013-2017 booklet.

Five Keys to Management Success

CWW has also embraced the concept of the Five Keys to Management Success from the EUM study. These five keys are specific management approaches and systems which have been proven to help water and wastewater utilities manage more effectively.  They create a supportive climate for a utility as it works towards the outcomes outlined in the Attributes and can help integrate the utility’s improvement efforts across the Attributes.

The Keys to Management Success are:

  • Leadership
  • Strategic business planning
  • Organizational approaches
  • Measurement
  • Continual Improvement Management Framework

The Way Ahead

For FY 2013 and beyond, CWW will continue to identify and explore opportunities to improve our operational activities to ensure that:
  1. Wastewater is efficiently collected and properly treated.
  2. Our community is provided with a safe and dependable drinking water supply.
  3. That we embrace our legacy of being economically and environmentally responsible.

As a premier leader in the water and wastewater industry, our strategic focus in the upcoming years is on leadership development, implementation of operational cost-efficiencies, sustainability, and community and regional collaboration.

For more information on Columbus Water Works' Strategic Initiatives, click here