California County Adopts Lean Six Sigma, Saves $33 Million

California County Adopts Lean Six Sigma, Saves $33 Million

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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In 2008, leaders in Ventura County, California, saw how implementing Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques led to improved services in some county agencies, including human services.

That year, they decided to put Lean into place in departments throughout the county’s operations. In the decade since, the county reports saving $33 million through implementation of process improvement.

Also, no one from the county’s 9,000-member workforce has been laid off, country officials told the Ventura County Star. Further, half of that $33 million is in “hard savings,” cash in the county budget that did not have to be spent.

The other half is soft savings – the bulk of which is time saved by county employees in doing their jobs.

Government and Lean Six Sigma

These results provide another example of governments adopting Lean and Six Sigma practices – especially training the public workforce in Lean Six Sigma tools and methodologies. They include state agencies in Nebraska and cities such as Houston, Seattle and Chattanooga, Tenn.

Lean Six Sigma is a strategy that is increasingly on the radar for government officials looking to do the most with the least amount of tax dollars, a motive every bit as compelling as a private business trying to turn a profit. This is especially true at the local and state government levels.

For example, the state of Minnesota has trained more than 4,500 employees in process improvement. In one example of the effectiveness of this plan, the state’s Department of Human Services saved $1.8 million annually in medical assistance funds by creating 39 indicators to measure spending in all the department’s programs.

How it Started in Ventura County

Ventura County first turned to Lean in 2008 when the recession reduced the amount of tax dollars available to fund government operations. The county’s Human Services Agency (HSA) implemented a program to train employees in Lean and put Lean methods into practice.

Even after the recession ended, the department continued with Lean practices. They include streamlining and standardization of workflows, automating work where possible. They also have used Lean tools and techniques to create more efficient service models and processes.

The agency reports that there are five areas where governments considering Lean should focus. All contribute to the success of Lean.

  • Executive-level commitment
  • Organizational structure support
  • Establishing a criteria for selecting and prioritizing Kaizen Events
  • Creating milestones
  • Communication tactics

From the early success of HSA, Lean Six Sigma was adopted countywide by Ventura County leaders.

Accomplishments in Ventura

One of the key players in the use of Lean and Six Sigma in Ventura County is Paul Grossgold, a former Navy commander who leads the General Services Agency for the county. Grossgold came from a military environment where Lean and Six Sigma have seen widespread use.

Grossgold told the Ventura County Star that Lean Six Sigma was a “natural fit” for improving county operations. He said, “It was something the Navy had been doing, and we were looking for some kind of formal methodology to look at our costs and processes.”

Some of the savings in Ventura County included disconnecting unused airport phones, reducing the cost of maintenance on county vehicles and implementing a tracking system for when employees plan a leave of absence, according to the Star.

The county has also automated many processes and saved money by eliminating paperwork, instead doing the work with digital records.

The post California County Adopts Lean Six Sigma, Saves $33 Million appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.

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Posted: February 19, 2019, 12:00 pm

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