Home' AME : AME Target Spring 2015 Contents SPRING 2015 TARGET 33
Driver licensing wait times: Washingtonians’
time spent waiting in line decreased by more
than 1 million hours, compared to 2012. The
Department of Licensing reduced lines at drivers’
licensing offices by increasing online and mail
transactions, plus business partnerships with
private driver training schools.
Tool room efficiency: The Department of Cor-
rections used 5S techniques to clean, organize
and reduce tool room inventory. Achievements
included improved safety and security, faster tool
cart check-in/check-out, clutter elimination and
more efficient location of needed parts.
Energy costs: Energy efficiency measures at
Department of Social and Health Services facil-
ities helped avoid costs of $3.5 million in 2013.
The improvements, such as targeted upgrades
to heating and cooling systems and how they’re
used, are financed by energy savings in the first
Resource planning process: The Department of
Health improved its quarterly resource planning
process, reducing the number of tasks associat-
ed with two critical process steps by 63 percent
and decreasing total process cycle time by half.
Among related changes: tasks identified for Ex-
cel technology solutions, creation of a checklist
for staff and supervisors when entering/reviewing
resource plans and development of a standard
quarterly resource planning schedule.
WorkFirst client participation in job search
activities: The Department of Social and Health
Services and the Employment Security Depart-
ment increased WorkFirst clients’ participation in
job search activities by as much as 45 percent.
In turn, the state anticipates that it will avoid an
estimated $20.8 million federal penalty and save
$1.14 million in reduced WorkFirst grants and
saved staff time.
Processing times: The Department of Health re-
duced the processing time for death certificates
from 99 days to 16 days.
Workers’ compensation costs: The Department
of Labor and Industries improved its process
LEAN RESULTS: SPEEDIER PROCESSING TIMES, REDUCED COSTS AND MORE
Results Washington improvements keep rolling in. Following are examples from lean process and
efficiencies reports for the past two years, provided by Darrell Damron. In each improvement project,
customers/stakeholders were involved to gain information on problems or issues and improvement
suggestions, and then to share results of implemented changes.
for collecting overpayments made to injured
workers. By creating uniform work standards and
focusing on larger overpayments, the agency
increased recoveries by $1.36 million.
Raw materials costs: Correctional Industries
consolidated its textile distribution locations to one,
helping saving $250,000 a year in materials costs.
Staff time: The Department of Labor and Indus-
tries was printing, distributing, filing and storing
60,000 pages of phone records each year so su-
pervisors could audit employees’ long-distance
phone use. An L&I team developed an electronic
filing system instead, saving 7,368 hours of ad-
ministrative and supervisor time each year.
Business renewals: The Washington State
Gambling Commission shrank its commercial
business license renewal application from seven
pages to two. Instead of spending 30 minutes
filling it out, businesses now spend five minutes.
The agency’s average cost to process each ap-
plication has dropped from $60.55 to $20.11 .
Electronic toll transactions: For the Tacoma
Narrows Bridge electronic tolling process, a
multifunctional team increased image processing
capacity to allow all transaction images to be
stored; it also installed additional optical charac-
ter recognition engines to handle the additional
The state’s lean adviser and lean
practitioner CoPs share training and
project data. They offer counsel about
what works and advise when to aban-
don strategies that don’t work well. An
annual Results Washington operational
excellence conference offers attendees
the opportunity to deepen their under-
standing of lean principles and tools,
also spotlighting successful improve-
“One of our main challenges to focus
capabilities expansion,” Damron said.
“We need to help every employee un-
derstand basic problem solving, and the
mindset, ‘What are we improving today,
and what are our next steps?’ We want
to engage the entire workforce in solving
Another goal: working more effectively with
various government branches (such as
legislative) to connect processes in various
operations. “We need to drive in the right
direction, through a coordinated effort, on
the same sheet of music,” said Damron.
“It’s exciting, because we’re pioneering
ways to use lean in government, delivering
value that Washingtonians want.”
Damron foresees a time when more
levels of government will adopt lean/
continuous improvement thinking and
strategies. Although many such initia-
tives are already under way, the potential
for future progress is huge. The National
Governors Association (nga.org), for
example, shares innovative solutions for
solving policy challenges and informa-
tion on improvement initiatives such as
industrial energy efficiency.
“We’re happy to share what we’ve
learned with others,” Damron said.
Results Washington hosted a webinar,
“Introduction to the Lean Journey States
Community of Practice,” with partici-
pants from 14 other states.
“It’s about innovation, the heart of our ef-
forts,” said Damron. “It’s not just cutting
costs. We are continuing to learn how
well lean really works.”
Tonkin is the president of Lea Tonkin
Communications in Woodstock, Ilinois.
Links Archive AME Target Winter 2014 AME Target Summer 2015 - PREVIEW Navigation Previous Page Next Page