City in Kansas On the Cutting Edge of Lean Six Sigma Implementation

City in Kansas On the Cutting Edge of Lean Six Sigma Implementation

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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Tight budgets have led public officials across the country to invest more into process improvement.

From California counties to the National Guard, Lean and Six Sigma have been adopted to make operations more effective and efficient. What once was considered a methodology that only worked well in manufacturing has taken hold in publicly-funded government agencies.

A recent example is Salinas, Kansas, where the city continued its commitment to Lean and Six Sigma by hiring a new director of process improvement, Scott Gardner.

In an interview with the Salinas Journal, Gardner summed up the approach of many advocates of Six Sigma methodology:

“It doesn’t make any difference if it’s government business, food industry, manufacturing or water polo, the tools and techniques are the same and you just have to apply them.”

Gardner said the city already operates on the “cutting edge” of process improvement and can take it even further to improve city services.

Improvements in Salinas

The City of Salinas has been using Lean and Six Sigma tools and techniques for years, since introduced to the methodologies by a local resident and process improvement expert in 2011. The city’s stated goal, according to a report on the implementation of Six Sigma, is to make local government services “faster, better and more responsive.”

In 2014 alone, the city had found $302,000 in cost savings and $104,000 in ongoing savings. By 2019, city officials expect to save $2.5 million overall.

All this is the result of implementing Lean Six Sigma methodologies that identify and eliminate areas of waste. Every decision made in terms of changes in an operation are made with consideration of what will best benefit the consumer – or, in the case of Salinas and other governments, the taxpayer.

Takt Time

One approach used by Salinas officials is Takt Time. The city first measured how long a process takes to supply a city service, including time allowed for breaks, training of employees and “routine interruptions.”

The city then measured how often certain services are used by customers. This allowed them to find out if they were ahead or behind production needs, and adjust the processes as needed to make Takt Time as efficient as possible.

The city also used the Lean approach of eliminating non-value adding tasks. In some case, the city reported, that could amount to as much as 50% of the operational cost for some services. Admitting that no government likes to admit that much inefficiency, city leaders still took the hard facts into account and made changes to many operations.

In the report, city leaders wrote: “Lean Six Sigma tools are not just a trend and should not be considered a short-term panacea. They can define efficiency and are here to stay.”

Going Forward

In his new job, Gardner said he plans to focus on teaching Lean and Six Sigma tools and techniques to those in key positions in city government to make a difference. Gardner holds a Black Belt, Master Black Belt and Innovation Engineering Black Belt.

Gardner expects the further implementation of Lean Six Sigma will not only improve the city’s operations, but also open the door to developing methods that are unlike those used in any other city in the country.

That, eventually, could lead to more businesses wanting to locate operations in Salinas.

“We can all get better in life, individually,” he said. “We can all get better as a collective group. If we understand that, we can get there faster.”

The post City in Kansas On the Cutting Edge of Lean Six Sigma Implementation appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.

By: James LoPresti
Posted: August 2, 2018, 1:54 pm

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