1. What is Lean Government?
Lean Government started in the private sector. It is an effort to closely examine, in a very critical and methodical manner, the processes in the City and determine where waste or non-value steps occur and then eliminate the waste. This results in reduced delays and stops, creates more efficiency and saves money while not reducing quality.
2. What has been done thus far?
Since August 2007, the City has conducted 16 Kaizen events. Each has produced dramatic results in how we operate and resulted in savings. To date, the return on the invested consulting dollars was 14 times – counting only hard dollar savings. The savings is much greater considering time saved and efficiencies obtained in each process.
3. What is the process?
A cross-functional team of City employees is established to map and dissect the existing process. The teams eliminate the unnecessary steps (waste) and redesign the process to allow service or information to flow more efficiently. After the new process is in place, it is monitored to ensure that the goals and objectives are met.
3. What other governmental entities are doing "Lean"?
In Florida, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Department uses Lean. Nationwide, the City of Fort Wayne, Indiana and the State of Iowa have been leaders in this effort.
4. Why do we need a consultant's assistance?
The consultant's training in Lean and experiences in the private sector are invaluable in teaching the participants to critically examine what they do and why they do it. This review is done in an environment that encourages critical thinking by the Kaizen group members and provides insight into opportunities to eliminate waste. This training, along with the Kaizen experience that the participants receive, serve to assist in beginning a transformation of thinking — from accepting waste to becoming intolerant to waste. The training also provides daily opportunities to more critically review other processes as well. This is most important in these difficult economic times.
5. Have employees actually taken some of what they have learned and used it outside the formal Kaizen process?
Yes. Some department employees, after experiencing a Kaizen event, have gone back to their departments and identified and eliminated waste in other processes. Both have resulted in savings of time by maintaining just the value-added steps in the process.
7. Will we need a consultant for years to come?
No. Staff’s goal is to take this effort completely in-house within just a few years. Specifically, it is hoped that with an additional full year of experience with the consultant, that a reduced presence by the consultant could be possible in the third year (2010), with the program being completely assumed by in-house staff thereafter.
8. What are future expectations?
Our goal is to sustain existing Kaizen event results, and reduce the number of delays, stops and cycle times in all processes. This will apply to all departments and divisions. We continually will try to identify cost savings/avoidances in all areas.