Without Lean: 150 Year Backlog. With Lean: Done by March.

Some awesome kaizen in Vermont. The whole article is full of some pretty staggering improvement impacts. Staggering for how long and convoluted the old processes were and staggering for how much time and effort has been saved with some Lean workshops.

The headline example is a case in point: how in the world could a 150-year backlog develop? And how in the world did they fix the process so radically to cut 149 years off that backlog?

All of this by allowing the employees and stakeholders to identify problems, develop countermeasures, and test them!

[DEC Commissioner Alyssa] Schuren also said Lean is not about cutting staff, but is about changing the process they work in and making it more efficient.

“I also see (Lean) as a growth strategy, because it frees up capacity,” she said…

Elsewhere in the article is an example of exactly what she is talking about:

David Pasco, a grant management specialist with DEC, is one of two grant management specialists in the department — new positions that resulted from Lean efforts. These two specialists make sure that all DEC grant applications and contracts are submitted with the proper federal and state forms and comply with any special provisions the law requires. Previously, one person in the DEC business office was trying to train all 60 of the department’s technical project managers in handling these various requirements, Pasco explained.

Pasco said the new process, in which those requirements are overseen by two full-time specialists, allows the project managers to focus a lot more on their particular areas of expertise.

Pasco said recent changes based on Lean have shortened invoice processing for DEC’s grants and contracts. As a result, the average time between receiving those invoices and sending payment fell from 63 days in October 2014 to 12 days in June 2015.

Remember that real Lean isn’t just about efficiency. Real Lean (as opposed to fake Lean) depends on Respect for People.

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