Governor Gregoire this morning opened a 2-day state conference on LEAN and the impact this tool is having in Washington. The Governor spoke to an overflow crowd of state employees (I was among those standing in the back) imploring them to help Washington cement LEAN in state practice.

Gregoire also released a 188 page report identifying the state’s current LEAN actions as well as laying out the next steps. Among the recommendations:

  • Championing a Lean leadership evolution: Continue the transformation from traditional management to Lean management
  • Building capacity for Lean transformation: Expand capacity to use Lean to deliver value
  • Ensuring strategic alignment of Lean efforts and resources within and among agencies: Align improvement efforts of enterprise and agency with vision and strategy
  • Fostering cultural change to support a Lean transformation: Adapt Lean thinking, tools and techniques to state government operations
  • Increasing communication to support Lean accountability, transparency and cultural change: Share how state government has used Lean to deliver value

The report notes:

“All Executive Cabinet agencies complied with the [LEAN] executive order and submitted results for 95 Lean projects. These projects demonstrate that applying Lean principles empowers employees to make real and lasting change in their agencies. In fact, Lean provided a framework for agencies to:

  • Eliminate or dramatically reduce backlogs.
  • Reduce lead times and decrease the complexity of processes.
  • Improve the quality of applications and the consistency of reviews or inspections.
  • Allocate more staff time to ‘mission critical’ work to improve staff morale and process transparency. Employees are truly engaged in Washington’s Lean transformation journey.

Agencies report that more than 6,400 employees and more than 1,600 leaders have been trained on Lean thinking, tools and techniques.”

As a non-cabinet agency the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) has created a separate report on its LEAN activities. According to the AGO LEAN has helped save the agency $402,086.57.

I’ll post additional details on the state’s LEAN results and conference in the coming days.


[Reprinted with permission from the Washington Policy Center blog]