Hit by Hard Times, Local Governments Turn to Lean Six Sigma

Hit by Hard Times, Local Governments Turn to Lean Six Sigma

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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Hit by Hard Times, Local Governments Turn to Lean Six Sigma

Private businesses are not the only ones turning to Lean Six Sigma to improve processes that have proven wasteful and failed to create the desired results.

In recent years, the city of Houston, the Miami-Dade County government in South Florida and King County, Washington, are among those that have implemented Lean Six Sigma to improve how taxpayers’ dollars are spent.

This year, a California county will join that number.

Hit by hard times because of a drop off in the oil and gas business, Kern County – which includes the city of Bakersfield – has decided to adopt Lean Six Sigma practices to make changes in the local government.

“The past few years have been challenging economically for the County of Kern,” Zack Scrivner, a county supervisor, wrote in an explanation of the county’s plan for Bakersfield.

“Anything that can save the county money and allow us to operate more efficiently and productively, while still maintaining a high-quality level of service to our constituents, should be put to use.”

Tough Times in California

Scrivner noted that the county, short on funding, has turned to cutting budgets, instituting hiring freezes and even cutting public safety programs.

With Lean Six Sigma, he hopes the county can find a way to reduce costs on the services they are providing, freeing up money to keep needed programs operational.

The methodology has worked well for decades in private business. Lean Six Sigma calls for an organization to evaluate a process, find parts of the operation that are inefficient and then make corrections. That can include wasteful use of personnel and time, or parts of a process where mistakes are frequently made.

The focus on improving processes is something that has been an issue for governments long before Six Sigma or any kind of deep analysis of processes came into fashion. Anyone who has spent hours waiting for service at a government agency knows process improvements and quality enhancement could help.

Houston Makes Improvements

The city of Houston, the fourth largest city in the country, faced budget shortfalls and consumer complaints in a number of areas. They began training employees in Lean Six Sigma in January 2013, and now have more than 1,419 employees trained in the methodology.

They’ve also made great strides in improving city services and saving money, according to a city webpage devoted to the topic. Among the city’s achievements:

  • Reducing the wait time for a taxi license from one month to five days.
  • In just two months, they earned $1 million from changing how they approached deferred payment programs in Municipal Court – seeking larger down payments turned out to be a critical move.
  • They closed over 100 legacy grants valued at more than $173 million and created a process to close out grants upon completion, making for more accurate financial statements.

Scrivner hopes for similar success in Kern County, writing that Lean Six Sigma will help transform the county by forcing leaders to take “a critical look at its internal processes in order to sustain value-added programs and services it is entrusted to provide to the Kern County taxpayers.”

The post Hit by Hard Times, Local Governments Turn to Lean Six Sigma appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.





Original: http://www.sixsigmadaily.com/hit-hard-times-local-governments-turn-lean-six-sigma/
By: James LoPresti
Posted: June 1, 2017, 12:03 pm

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