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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Is Lean Government the Next Frontier?

In a recent post Jon Miller mentioned Paul Anker, who is running for US Senate on a Lean platform, has started LeanAmerica.orgLean America is all about helping government organizations throughout America learn and implement lean thinking; by empowering their workers to continuously improve, eliminate waste, and to add value for all Americans.

Related to Jon's post I came across an interesting video regarding Lean government in Cape Coral, Florida. The video is sort of an infomercial for lean government based on the Mission Impossible theme but  there is a great message.  The City Manager, Terrance Stewart, explains the concept of respect for people well.
The city of Cape Coral Florida is creating a model of excellence in Lean city Government by implementing Lean-waste free (Toyota Production System) principles. Cape Coral began transforming in Aug 2007 by using kaizen methodologies to establish new breakthrough processes. The results are in the +millions, exceeding any Baldridge award winner by setting ROI of +20X.

Cape Coral has also been recognized as a leader in Lean Government by the ICMA (International City/County Management Association).

Envisioned in 2006 and launched in August 2007, the City of Cape Coral’s Lean Government system saved and/or prevented the City from spending $2 million. Based off James Womack and Daniel Jones’s book, Lean Thinking, the Lean Government system has a goal of increasing productivity and reducing cost, while maintaining quality and service. The system achieves this goal because it gives management the necessary tools for greater efficiency, allows them to identify and eliminate unnecessary employee workloads, and lets the City provide services in a challenging economic climate.
The city's lean government system has proven very effective to increase productivity, lower cost and provide hope in these challenging times.

Even though there have been obstacles, such as fear of change, reduction in force, declining revenues, the Lean methodology has held to its intent to eliminate non-value added steps in a process.
There appears to be a number of good Lean government examples. Is this industry the next frontier for Lean?

Karl Wadensten and I had the opportunity to talk about Lean and government this past Tax day on the Lean Nation Radio Show from the Rhode Island State Capital.

Link Lean and Government with Karl

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  1. Great minds think alike. I wrote a blog this morning that will be posted on Friday (Beyond Lean Blog) on the very same clip.

    It is great to see some government offices using lean thinking.

  2. I agree Matt it is encouraging to see lean being used in the government. I am looking forward to your post.

  3. Fort Wayne IN has a great track record, and former Mayor Graham Richard helped found the High Performance Government Network. It helps governments with consortia and training that fits government workers directly. Incoming AME President Maria Elena Stopher has been helping HUD with lean for a long time (with help from Les Sutherland in Detroit). The Michigan Lean Consortium recently helped the City of Detroit streamline their process of demolishing abandoned houses. Good examples all over.

  4. Thanks for sharing these examples Karen. It is great to hear Lean is helping to transform another sector of our economy.

  5. Hi Tim,

    as we are seeing lately the proliferation of lean healthcare, I guess we will soon see the same thing for the Government services.
    I guess what we need right now is some textbook, just like Lean Thinking was, that would direct the efforts toward Lean Government...
    And for the moment we don't have any...

  6. Dragan, you make a good point. I don't know of any Lean Government books.

  7. Nice - thanks for sharing that clip. It's always good to see more instances of people emphasizing the respect for people side of lean.