The Case for Lean Continuous Improvement in Government

The Case for Lean Continuous Improvement in Government

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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Perhaps no organizations need process improvement more than governments, as they use taxpayer dollars to provide needed services. The goal is to provide those services in the most efficient way possible. Anyone who deals with government agencies knows this is often not the case.

So, while improvements are needed, few areas provide a more complex challenge to tackle.

The size and scope of services is one issue. Another is the revolving door of elected officials who may have different priorities. Funding may also change as tax bases ebb and flow in value.

In a white paper about the adoption of Lean in government, UL noted that Lean has the potential to reduce government waste and inefficiency. But, given the types of challenges above, they wrote that applying Lean to government is “a highly variable and complex process.”

Even so, government officials in a wide variety of places have incorporated Lean into government operations. In the United States, they range from a California County battling budget cuts by training employees in Lean to a Nebraska state agency cutting down wait times at public healthcare programs.

Additionally, a survey of government leaders found that agencies that have implemented Lean reduced process time, process steps and errors.

Lean and Air Quality in the UK

Countries around the world have also recently started putting Lean into action to solve long-standing issues.

In the U.K., government officials expect this year to release new guidelines on improving the country’s air quality standards. One of the goals is the massive task of linking air quality standards at the national and local level.

A central part of this is a commitment to continuous improvement in terms of industrial emissions. The U.K. wants to create a “stable and predictable regulatory environment” that allows industry to build on past successes and reach new benchmarks in reducing industrial emissions.

That also includes establishing roadmaps that will guide U.K. businesses in different industries toward cleaner technology that reduce emissions.

The Region of Peel in Canada Sets Standard

The Region of Peel in Canada has for many years set a standard for governments using continuous improvement. The government agency is a regional municipality that serves an area in Ontario that includes the cities of Brampton and Mississauga, as well as the town of Caledon.

The Region of Peel recently received the Excellence Canada Platinum Award, which honors outstanding achievement by organizations for management and public service delivery. It is the only municipality in Canada to receive the award.

The Region of Peel provides a blueprint for adopting Lean Six Sigma, which the region did officially years ago as part of making a commitment to process improvement. In a January news release, the Region of Peel reported that in the past four years the regional municipality has achieved $52.9 million in savings for tax-supported programs and $12.8 million in savings for programs supported through utility rates.

Some of those improvements include reducing costs for facility operations and maintenance by $333,000 and reducing annual costs in the Disease Prevention and Early Growth and Development program by $550,000 – all without cutting services. The biggest single savings came in water and wastewater management, where new contracts and agreements saved the region $2.9 million.

In that release, Catherine Matheson, Region of Peel’s Commissioner of Corporate Services, said that the region’s goal is deliver the most efficient services possible so that tax increases are not needed.

That’s the sort of thing taxpayers everywhere would like to hear – and see acted upon.

The post The Case for Lean Continuous Improvement in Government appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.

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Posted: February 21, 2019, 12:00 pm

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