Be aware: lockouts and long queues at Face Technologies, Kyambongo

Once one of the most effective and efficient agencies, Face Technologies is now overwhelmed, and the staff members are tired as early as 9

If you are one of the unlucky people who had their driving permits expire during the last three months of the lock-down period, you are in for a rude awakening. It is not easy at Face Technologies where permits are claimed. You will first struggle to find a parking slot. Once you find it, you will walk to the Face Technologies gate, and be locked out. Unless you are at the gate by 7 am. If you are lucky to be among the first 600 or 700 or so people to arrive, you will spend about six hours waiting for insider the gate to get served. It is not easy.

Once one of the most effective and efficient agencies, Face Technologies is now overwhelmed, and the staff members are tired as early as 9 am. It is psychological tiredness. Each day, about 700 driving permits are processed. It is a lot of work, and I too feel for the staff and everyone involved in making sure all applicants get their driving permits.  The company does an efficient operation whereby a new driving permit is processed when the person has gone to collect it. An excellent approach to eliminate forgeries.

On 30th June 2020, I woke up early and made the trip to Face Technologies offices to claim for my driving permit.  You know the cost of renewing a driving permit is Ugx. 130,000, that is paid directly to the government through Uganda Revenue Authority bank accounts at any of the partner banks.

Thereafter, you receive a receipt to acknowledge the payment. Together with the receipt, the applicant goes to Face Technologies with Ugx. 80,000 (Eighty thousand shillings only) in hand, which is paid directly to Face Technologies, when one is called to pick the new driving permit.

From the start when one pays money to the bank, to the end of the process when the new driving permit is obtained, it takes 1-4 weeks, depending on the urgency for the driving permit. However, this process could be made less stressful and enjoyable by all involved.

As consultants, to improve and transform any client, we start with understanding context. The careful analysis of the processes involved and why they are involved. My analysis from an outsider perspective noted the following steps involved in the driving permit renew.

  1. Pay Ugx. 130,000 to URA via any designated URA non-tax revenue collection bank. Upon payment, you will receive a cash deposit slip, with your details. Which you must present later at Face Technologies to get your driving permit.
  2. When you go to Face Technology and are lucky to be let through, you will follow the queue, and when your turn comes, be called, and attended to at a counter. Here you present the receipt from URA, and it is scanned to verify it.
  3. Then you move to the next counter, where your fingerprint is scanned or captured.
  4. You wait for about 20-30 minutes in the queue. Unknown to you, your new driving permit is being processed or in normal English, it is being manufactured. To be clear, your new driving permit is printed as you queue
  5. When you are called upon from the big screen in the waiting area, you go to the counter where they issue the permits.
  6. At this point, you make the payment of Ugx. 80,000 and you asked to handover your old driving permit, and a newly printed permit is issued to you.

That is the end of the process flow. Happy, you exit with your new driving permit.

The advantage of processing your permit when you go to pick it is, as earlier explained, reduces the risk of forgeries. Face Technologies brought sanity to the country in terms of managing the risk of forgeries, and I give it to them. Only the person who presents himself at the Face Technologies to claim their permit gets his or her fingers scanned. This means, no one else can pick a driving permit on your behalf. When you see someone hiring people to help process the permit, they pay for the queuing. You give your papers to someone and when they see they are about to be called, they call you to rush and be worked upon instead of having first waited for long in the queue.

The bottom line is each driver must go to pick their permit. It does not matter how busy you may be. This has been a good equalizer as everyone must find time to visit the Face Technologies to have their fingerprints taken. For those extra special individuals, maybe Face Technologies goes with the finger scanning equipment at their offices. In practice, I have seen the people who drive with escort cars, also going to Face Technologies. Someone them, though, do not queue. They just drive in and get worked upon instantly.

We are not equal.

How to improve the process.

I tried going to Face Technologies twice, in vain.

On 30th June 2020, I arrived at the company offices by 9:00 am. It was too late. The gates had been already closed. The Askari at the gate told me in my face, that you are late. Come tomorrow.

At my age, I learned never to waste time urging people like Askari’s who are doing their jobs as instructed.  Whereas so many people were in dismay, and still waiting and bargaining. I just left. Apparently, by 8:30 am, over 700 people had already been allowed inside. And the management in their wisdom has decided to cap the number of people to let in since that is the capacity they can handle in a day.

That is brilliant. And I love it.

Imagine being let it at 9:00 am. Going inside to queue and wait in a very congested place in this covid19 times. And get worked on at about 2 pm! That would be like torture.

The process can be improved by having the bank’s a list of all people who have paid for driving permit renewals to Face Technologies or asking everyone who pays for a new driving permit or a renewal, to log into a web portal, and submit their details that are received by Face Technologies.

Thereafter, a daily list of say 700 is generated by Face Technologies asking people to based on cash paid in the bank and or the timing of updating the online portal. Each person receives a message showing the day and time to collect their new driving permit. When the person goes to collect the permit, they are already expected and the process becomes swift.

People who miss their allocated slots may be asked to re-apply. Also, a web portal may make it easy for the person to specify the ideal time to pick their new driving permit. And using machine intelligence, a list can be generated of the people to collect their permits based on the days defined by them.

That would make it so convenient to all concerned and make Face Technologies, once again, a leader in process engineering for customer service excellence.

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved

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